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Local Band Keeps Dancefloor Packed at Ballet West Gala


During a recent sold-out performance for the Ballet West Gala in Salt Lake City, the Rob Bennion band tugged the guests from their seats and had them dancing until late into the night.

For bandleader Rob Bennion, it was another hot night out with his jazz band.

On another night, he might be fronting a salsa and meringue band, or a ska trio. He also plays in a hip hop group and a samba band.

Ashlee Christofferson, the Gala’s coordinator, said, “In the past we have had a DJ and a lot of the guests departed right after dinner. This year we had a packed dance floor right up until the end of the evening.”

You don’t have to be a Ballet West patron to recognize Rob. “There were quite a few people attending who recognize Rob from all the playing he’s done in and around the valley,” said Chris Bartholomew after the band played at Xango’s Christmas party.

Chris said that the party was their best ever, and said Bennion played with “flawless liquidity” and “must be one of the best sax players around.”

Bennion’s broad taste in music is informed by his restlessness.

Born in Utah, he spent part of his teenage years in Hawaii, where he was the youngest member of his high school jazz band. As a 16-year-old, he was already touring with local college bands. Then it was off to Brazil, where he soaked up that vibe for two years.

Back in the states, he toured the U.S. and Canada with a reggae band and later moved to London, then Dallas, Texas, then Japan where he was the artist in residence playing nightly at the Sasou Luxury Club.

Settled for now in Utah, Bennion’s musical restlessness continues. He’s considering next putting together a world music band.

About the author: Chris Jorgensen is a newspaper editor and music writer in Billings, Montana. He also has written about music for newspapers in Jackson, Michigan and Salt Lake City and has published articles in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and the Wall Street Journal.


 jazz in utah
 rob bennion
 ballet west
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