Saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles. 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, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, 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. Ben has recorded for Edition Records, Sunnyside Records, Motéma Music, Concord Records, and Brainfeeder, with five solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009), Frame (2012), What We Bring (2016), The Seasons (2018), High Heart (2020), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013), 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 releases of 2015 by The New York Times.
Ben Wendel calls the band High Heart a play on the phrase, “High Art, Low Art.” Wendel says: “This project reflects my continued effort to create art that is personal and relevant in an increasingly impersonal time. The song titles refer to different challenges I’ve experienced while interfacing with a global audience. For example, the song ‘More’ refers to the dangers of technological overuse and losing perspective, while the song ‘High Heart’ refers to the human desire to connect and express through these new mediums at the risk of feeling isolated and cut off.
Ben Wendel – ts, eff; Michael Mayo – vocals, eff; Shai Maestro – p, Rho; Lage Lund – g; Joe Sanders – b; Ofri Nehemya – dr.