From: PA, United States
Genre: Jazz, Easy Listening, Cabaret
The latest good news is....On Sept 28, 2013, Michele Bensen was given the Pittsburgh LIVING JAZZ LEGEND Honor by The Manchester Craftsman Guild of Pittsburgh. She is the first of two women to be given this very auspicious honor.
Jazz vocalist, Michele Bensen has performed at NYC’s old and new Duplex, Upstairs @ Greenstreet, aside from many jazz venues in the Pittsburgh and tri-state area.
She has opened for comedians, Angela Scott, Mario Joyner, Joy Bahar, Mike King, Kevin Meany and comedy writer, Maxine Lapiduss. Bensen has been the opening act for Tony Bennett, The Four Freshmen, Lionel Hampton, Diane Schurr, John Blake, Jane Ira Bloom and Herbie Mann as well as being the headline act with her own band, "The Bensen Burners". She has been in concert with national musicians; Bob Alberti, Ben Tucker, Keter Betts, Carl Fontana, Harry Allen, Dave Pike and Peter Appleyard.
She also performed at Hard Hearted Hannah’s Jazz Club in Savannah, GA for several years with bassist, Ben Tucker and pianist Joe Jones. She’s been the headliner at many Hilton Head Jazz Society Concerts and the nationally known “Jazz Corner” Jazz club in Hilton Head.
More than 30 million children hear her as the voice of "Sara Bear" on the children’s “Sticky Bear" software. Her radio voiceover work includes a national commercial for “A Drug Free America”.
She was a featured artist, along with jazz vocalist Mark Murphy and blues man Billy Price on The Balcony Big Band’s “Seasoned To Taste” CD.
Her CD, "At Last" which features the Pittsburgh based Bensen Burner Band, with Mark Strickland / guitar, Robbie Klein / sax & flute, Steve Trettel / drums, Herb Marshall / bass & trombone, Keith Stebler / piano was recorded on Hilton Head Island, S.C. in 1999.
Michele’s newly released in 2013 CD "Moments Like This" was also recorded in Hilton Head, SC with nationally acclaimed pianist Bob Alberti and the late bassist, Ben Tucker. This recording was arranged by Bob Alberti, a highly anticipated “Live” recording.
Michele and her Pittsburgh pianist, Chris Pangikas released a holiday recording done in Pittsburgh in 2007, "It’s That Time Of Year", with all arrangements by Chris and Michele. Bensen and Pangikas are a dynamic music duo in the tri-state area jazz scene and are mainstays at several established restaurants and nightclubs. Michele also continues to perform with her Bensen Burner Band.
Michele won the 1988 “Backstage Best Bistro Vocalist’ award
from NYC’s Backstage critic, Bob Harrington.
Named “Best Vocalist” by “In Pittsburgh Magazine” for 3 consecutive years
In August of 2009, Michele was inducted into “The Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame”
by the Pittsburgh Jazz Society.
The 2009 Walt Harper “All That Jazz” awards by Black Talk Magazine of Pittsburgh
also honored Michele.