BJUR 011 Ben Wendel/Harish Raghavan/Nate Wood - ACT (CD)

BJUR 011.jpg
BJUR 011.jpg

BJUR 011 Ben Wendel/Harish Raghavan/Nate Wood - ACT (CD)

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Born in Vancouver and raised in Los Angeles, Ben was educated at the Eastman School of Music in New York. Since graduating he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer and producer. Recent highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with such artists as Cuban drumming legend Ignacio Berroa, Thelonius Monk Piano Competition Winner Tigran Hamasyan, Electronica artist Daedelus and Hip Hop artist Snoop Dogg. Ben is a founding member of the genre-bending group Kneebody.

In addition to playing saxophone, Ben also doubles on the bassoon and piano.

As a composer he has scored multiple films, received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award , was a winner in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition and recently received the Chamber Music America “New Works Grant.” In the summer of 2007, Ben was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festpeil Plus in Munich, Germany. One of the performances (a collaboration between Theo Bleckmann and Kneebody featuring the songs of Charles Ives) was recently signed to Winter & Winter. Ben currently produces a new performing arts series at The Edye in Santa Monica, California.

Ben's first solo album "Simple Song" was released on Sunnyside Records in March 2009. Ben is currently an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC. Artists and/or Groups Ben currently plays with: Kneebody - Ignacio Berroa - Dakah - Todd Sickafoose - Otmaro Ruiz - Tigran Hamasyan - Daedelus - Taylor Eigsti


Since graduating from Cal Arts, Nate has enjoyed playing music with a variety of people, including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders (where he played guitar), Chaka Khan, Richard Stekol, Wayne Krantz, John Tesh, Billy Childs, Tigran Hamasayan, Taylor Eigsti, and many more!

Along with his work as a sideman, Nate has released 2 albums of his own material(Reliving and Fall), performing everything himself and recording/mixing them at his home studio in Los Angeles.

Current projects include weyou., a duo with Jesske Hume that features both of their compositions, The Black Plums featuring Richard Stekol and Adam Benjamin (where Nate plays Drums and Bass simultaneously), and Thruster! vol 2. with Tim Young and Kaveh Rastegar.


Harish Raghavan was born May 19th, 1982. He began his study of the double bass at the age of 17. After studying for a brief period he was accepted to study with John Clayton at the University of Southern California. While in Los Angeles he had the opportunity to also study with Robert Hurst among many others. In 2007 he made the move to New York and has quickly become a rising star on his instrument.

Since moving to New York he has the opportunity to record and play with some of the most forward thinking musicians of his generation: Ambrose Akinmusire, Eric Harland, Mark Turner, Aaron Parks, Taylor Eigsti, Greg Osby, Vijay Iyer, Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Benny Green, Terrell Stafford, Mike Moreno, Rodney Green, Willie Jones III, Scott Kinsey, Logan Richardson, Fabian Almazan, Justin Brown, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Clayton, Marcus Gilmore, Walter Smith III, along with many others.

About the album ACT

The three of us have known each other for quite some time - we've played in a lot of different groups together but always gravitated towards the trio format. Making this album has been something we've wanted to do for a while. We ended up with two free days last year and tracked the music down at Steve Wood's private studio (Steve is Nate's father and one of the best engineers on the West Coast). 

The standards we chose came naturally out of a few warm up gigs leading to the recording. The originals were written with the trio in mind, and a few (like "Act") were written quickly just before tracking. "News" was loosely inspired by a blues that my friend Walter Smith III wrote off of his first album. "What Was" is based on a sketch that has eventually turned into a movement of a jazz suite I'm writing for the Chamber Music of America "New Works Grant." Although this is mostly a trio format, I added piano and bassoon on a few tracks to change the soundscape up a bit. 

Ben Wendel