Title: Artistic & Operations Director
How long have you worked for Jazz St. Louis?: I’m currently in my 14th year with Jazz St. Louis
Do you play any instruments?: saxophone
Top three favorite Jazz St. Louis produced concerts:
1) Sonny Rollins at the Touhill
2) David Sanborn at the Bistro
3) The last one is too difficult to narrow down, so I’ll say it’s a toss up between multiple runs with Freddy Cole, the Yellowjackets, and Christian McBride
Artist you would most like to work with, but haven’t yet: Branford Marsalis…somehow, he continues to elude me. I’m coming for you Branford….
Last jazz album you listened to: Dexter Gordon – Live at the Montmartre Jazzhus
Three favorite non-jazz artists/bands: Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, AC/DC (yes, you read that correctly)
Favorite place to hear music other than The Bistro: Birdland in NYC. There are a lot of great clubs in New York, but Birdland feels the most like home to me. Gianni Valenti and his staff do a fantastic job of creating a wonderful, listening room atmosphere where the music is the focus and the patron is put first.
Three favorite movies: The Godfather, When Harry Met Sally (yes, I’m not kidding), You’ve Got Mail (again, not kidding)
Three favorite TV shows: The West Wing, Boston Legal, Suits
Favorite restaurant for:
1) Breakfast/Brunch: Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
2) Lunch: This one rotates a lot and it just depends on what I want to eat, so I’m going with three here: Five Star Burgers, LeGrand’s Market and McGurk’s
3) Dinner: Gian-Tony’s on the Hill
Note: I must make it known that although I enjoy the restaurants listed above, I do 95% of my own cooking and therefore, The Kitchen at Bennett Manor is my favorite restaurant.
Pastimes/Hobbies: I guess you could say playing saxophone is more of hobby/pastime, since I do it so rarely anymore. Since we semi-retired the Springsteen cover band a few years back, I don’t have the opportunity to play much anymore. Cooking has become a real hobby for me, stemming from growing up in a family where there was no such thing as too much food. Nobody ever left our house hungry and there was usually enough food to feed 2-3 times the number of people who were eating. Not sure if it qualifies as an answer here, but many of you are aware of my love of Dodger baseball. That stems from my father being a long-time Dodger fan from the time he grew up in northern Pennsylvania, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. We’re a long standing family of Dodger fans and carry on the Dodger Blue tradition proudly…even if we are surrounded by a sea of red.
Worst job you’ve ever had: Hands down, McDonald’s cook. I worked for them for about 4-6 weeks near the end of my senior year in high school and I think at that time, there were no limits for employees still in high school, so I’d work until 11 or 12 at night (and once until 2am). It was a horrible experience.
Career Bio: Bob Bennett joined Jazz St. Louis as Director of Operations in June 2000. Mr. Bennett is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in jazz performance. He has helped Jazz at the Bistro broaden its artistic presentation and worldwide reputation as one of the leading jazz clubs in the United States. In September of 2004, Bennett helped the organization successfully launch their “All-Star Student Ensemble,” a group featuring the best high school jazz talent in the St. Louis area. Under his direction, the program expanded to feature two ensembles in each of the following two years. In 2007, Mr. Bennett became the sole talent buyer for the Jazz at the Bistro series, programming the most financially successful season in the club’s history. Subsequent success led to his being named Director of Artistic Administration in 2010. That same year, Bennett programmed the most highly anticipated season in Jazz St. Louis’ history and set a new bar for ticket and subscription revenue. With the continued growth of the organization, he is now programming not only the Jazz at the Bistro series, but additional Jazz St. Louis performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center and other area venues.