Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer and producer. Highlights include tours, performances and/or recordings with artists such as Tigran Hamasyan, Bill Frisell, Terence Blanchard, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Taylor Eigsti, Linda May Han Oh, Moonchild, Louis Cole, Daedelus, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody.
As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008, 2011 and 2017 Chamber Music America “New Works Grant” and was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council for the Arts. He has also co-written multiple scores for film, television and animated shorts.
Ben has recorded for Edition Records, Sunnyside Records, Motéma Music, Concord Records and Brainfeeder, including six solo albums, Simple Song (2009), Frame (2012), What We Bring (2016) The Seasons (2018), High Heart (2020), All One (2023) and multiple Kneebody albums. His critically acclaimed music video project The Seasons, inspired by Tchaikovsky’s works of the same name, was released throughout 2015 and included guests such as Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Mark Turner, Julian Lage, Ambrose Akinmusire and more. It was listed as one of the best albums of 2015 by the NY Times.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ben is a former teacher of Jazz Studies at USC and the New School in NYC. Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 300 masterclasses at various colleges and universities around the world. His online masterclass series and other educational products have been sold in over sixty countries.