Stories. London, Music, and La La Land. An Interview With a Multi-talented Jazz Musician in London – Daniel Benisty.

Travel.Art.Stories continue to fill the ‘stories’ articles with stories from art and travel lovers. The first story (or interview) was from incredible artist Hasu Art from Barcelona. It was a great start! (Read the article here)

This time, I proud to have an interview with super-talented multi-instrumentalist Daniel Benisty from London. I’ve been living in London for a while and performed as a singer-songwriter in a number of venues, where one of my favourite was Cafe Concerto in Westfield. Daniel ‘served’ as an art-director in this fancy restaurant, so he invited me to perform there and it was definitely a great experience for me. In my opinion, London is a center of the music industry. And Daniel is part of the London’s music vibe. Being a part of The London Swing and Soul Band, Daniel Benisty represents jazz with other genres, and probably the one who could inspire la La Land creators.

In my opinion, London is a center of the music industry. And Daniel is part of the London’s music vibe. Being a part of The London Swing and Soul Band, Daniel Benisty represents jazz with other genres, and probably the one who could inspire la La Land creators.

Bio

Daniel Benisty is a Singer, Pianist, Songwriter, Arranger, Actor, Writer, Linguist, Teacher and Bandleader who covers many styles of music in many languages. Educated in London and Switzerland, Daniel studied Jazz in Lausanne then returned to London to pursue his musical career. He then spent 4 years performing as a Piano Bar entertainer on cruise ships and hotels around the world, before returning again to London to perform in the West End, Musical Theatre and regularly at exclusive venues such as The Savoy, Caffe Concerto, Ritz Club, RAC Club, Langham, Dorchester, Cafe de Paris, Ronnie Scott’s and Phoenix Arts Club.

Daniel Benisty
Daniel Benisty

A fan of jazz, swing, soul and classical crossover music, Daniel performs a selection of his favourite artists including: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti and also from the popular repertoire of Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, Michael Buble and Neil Diamond. Singer-Pianist from early childhood, Daniel founded The London Swing and Soul Band in 2008 and they perform a wide variety of music at private events: Swing / Rock / Pop / Jazz / Soul / Klezmer / Opera / Musicals / Latin / World. Though London-born, Daniel has travelled and lived in many countries and sings in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Russian and German.

To their credit, The London Swing and Soul Band musicians and singers have played at a huge variety of stages, festivals and venues all around the country – including Bestival, Glastonbury, Hippodrome Leicester Square, Ronnie Scott’s, Vortex, 606 and Pizza Express Soho. The Band is currently preferred supplier for weddings and special events at Heythrop Park, Westfield, and The RAC Club.

The London Swing and Soul Band prides itself on being perhaps the country’s most flexible, eclectic and varied function bands available.

Daniel, why jazz? London is not famous for jazz culture. Musicians prefer indie or electronic genres today.

The musicians I know prefer Jazz. Jazz standards are the common language of singers and musicians.  Good modern songs (e.g. Stevie Wonder) become Jazz Standards when they are played 1000s of times at jams etc. and they become part of the Jazz Real Book.

I adore asking this question to art people. Remember the day when you decided to dedicate your life to music?

I was inspired by Jeff Buckley. I am not a pure jazz musician.  I love classical, rock, jazz, blues, soul, world, gospel, folk, etc.  Jeff Buckley’s Album “Grace” proved that you could theoretically cross many genres successfully.

What musicians inspired you? Why?

Jeff Buckley and Jimi Hendrix in particular.  They strode many genres.

What is difficult to get started? How that ‘jazz market’ in London welcomed you.

I am not a pure Jazz musician.  I am an eclectic.   Most jazz musicians start because they make contacts at their uni/college.   This is perhaps quite similar to most other professions.  Most musicians do not really have a strong business/sales sense, so they don’t go out looking for gigs that much – they wait for people they know to call them etc.

Do you think London music industry faces with a decline in comparison with previous years and 60s-70s golden times? And, in general, what do you think about modern UK music?

The music scene is reasonably strong and mixed.  I have my reservations about the quality of modern music (i.e. New songs that have been written in the last 20 years) compared to the “Golden age” Its hard to find a song with more than 4 chords.

Is it hard for artists to get into the industry, sign contract with the label, etc.? 

Not sure if you are referring to Jazz or Original music, but ultimately, one thing hasn’t changed.  If you can wow your audience and wow the label, and draw a big crowd, you will be chased by the big guns.

What is your favorite venue to play in London or UK?  

I like Ronnies of course.  606 is London’s premier pure Jazz club.  Troy Bar near Shoreditch has some amazing jam nights.

Do you think jazz music industry is more developed in the US or Europe than in the UK? 

I don’t really know.  Previously I felt that Berlin, Paris and New York appreciated Jazz more than London, but London really is an incredible city with so much happening.  It’s very hard to keep up with all the stuff happening here and all the different events.  I think its hard to beat London for variety and excitement.

Can you advise some great jazz music to listen to and jazz event to visit? 

I’m an old-school lover of early Coltrane and Oscar Peterson.   Most events at 606 and Ronnies are high quality and they will have their themed nights, or special guests so it depends what you like.

What do you think about Glastonbury Festival?

I have never been because I don’t like camping.  Also, nowadays I don’t appreciate rap artists headlining.

Apart from music, as my blog about travel as well, can you advise some great places in London for us to visit? 

Always fun in Covent Garden, Portobello and Camden!

Oh, and the last question. What do you think about La La Land? 🙂

I thought it was a brilliant modern classic. It could have had a bit more real jazz music in it tho!  It was mostly musical theatre.  Generally, I thought it was very brave, tasteful, sophisticated and he* is one of my favourite contemporary actors.
* Ryan Gosling, I guess

For more info, or inviting Daniel to your next great party check danielbenisty.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *