Jeff Benedict has been playing professionally since 1972. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance and a Master of Arts in Composition from the University of Denver, where he studied Saxophone with Ray Kireilis and Roger Greenberg and Composition with David Caffey. He played professionally in the Denver area for 10 years and led his own band, "Euphoria," with whom he recorded his first album "Twilight Memories" in 1982. He was also the staff woodwind artist for Venture Records and played many casuals and night club gigs. During this time, Benedict performed with artists such as Phil Woods, Harold Danko, Marvin Stamm, Gary Burton, and Dave Brubeck.
In 1982, he went to the University of Texas at Austin, where he began his pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance with the famous classical saxophonist Harvey Pittel. In Austin, he played numerous casual engagements, hotels and nightclubs. For two years he was a regular member of the Jazz Quartet led by the eminent bassist Gene Ramey, while also performing regularly with the Creative Opportunity Orchestra as well as with vocalists Kellye Gray, Susie Stern, Estrella Acosta and Donna Menthol. During this time he also appeared with Bob Mintzer, Diane Schuur, Randy Brecker, Mike Nock, Bill Watrous, Nick Brignola and Toshiko Akiyoshi. He was featured on the album "Sublime in Time" by Toshiko Akiyoshi and the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra.
From 1984 to 1993, Benedict was the lead alto saxophone in the Aspen Jazz Ensemble and he became an established performer at the Aspen Music Festival, appearing with the Jazz Ensemble, The Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Symphony. From 1988 to 1993 he was on the faculty of the school, serving as Associate Director of the Aspen Jazz Ensemble. At the Aspen Music Festival, he performed with over 40 world-renowned artists including Jim Pugh, Bobby Shew, Eddie Daniels, Butch Miles, Vincent DiMartino, Eddie Harris, Jack Wilkins, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Allen Vizzutti, Claudio Roditi, Mark Whitfield, Slide Hampton, Nick Brignola, Carl Fontana, Lew Soloff, Ernie Watts, Bob Mintzer, Joe Williams, Jiggs Whigham, Curtis Fuller and Toshiko Akiyoshi.
Benedict has performed and taught at other summer music festivals and camps including the Tanglewood Institute, the Ojai Festival, the Britt Music Festival and the Northern Arizona University Summer Jazz Camp. He has performed at many conferences and conventions including the MENC Conventions in Miami, Florida and San Antonio, Texas and the IAJE conventions in Columbus, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan. He has performed at statewide music educators' conferences in Colorado, Texas, New Hampshire and California, and at conventions of the North American Saxophone Alliance in Greeley, Colorado, Flagstaff, Arizona and Los Angeles.
He has held teaching positions at Augustana College, Plymouth State College, The University of Denver, The University of Texas, Biola University, and the California State University, Los Angeles, where he has been teaching since 1989. His former students are now teaching at the College of DuPage, the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, East Los Angeles College and at numerous high schools across the country.
He has been a freelance jazz musician in Los Angeles since 1989, and has played for myriad casual engagements, concerts, nightclubs and recordings. He has recorded two jazz albums under his own name on the Resurgent Music label, Castle Creek Shuffle and Standard Fare, and was a sideman on a recent release by the critically-acclaimed Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra entitled The Hawk's Out. He is currently a regular member of the HMA Salsa-Jazz Orchestra.
He is an accomplished classical musician as well, having performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Denver Symphony, the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Symphony, and the Augustana Orchestra. He has premiered many new works for Saxophone, including Smoke and Mirrors for Solo Saxophone by John Kennedy, Peter Terry's Into Light for Soprano/Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra with computer-generated tape, and the midwest premiere of David Amram's Ode to Lord Buckley. He is a founding member of the Orion Saxophone Quartet, which has recently released a CD on the Centaur Records label.
He is currently the Region 2 director of the North American Saxophone Alliance and President of the International Association of Jazz Educators' California Unit.
Benedict has won four DeeBee awards from Downbeat Magazine for Best Instrumental Jazz Soloist, Best Original Composition and Best Classical Chamber Music Group.