Dave Bendigkeit




A bit of 

Dave Bendigkeit's


Dave Bendigkeit has been on the San Francisco music scene since 1974. As a young man, he worked with just about every band and singer that came through town, including Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, George Shearing, Jack Jones, Ray Brown, Shelly Manne, Richie Cole, Grady Tate, Smith Dobson, James Brown, B.B. King, The Temptations, Gladys Knight & other Motown groups, Dick Bright Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Bernadette Peters, Rosemary Clooney, Shirley MacLaine, Joel Grey, Anthony Newley, Lou Rawls, The Mills Brother, Johnny Mathis, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, San Jose Symphony, The Four Tops, Englebert Humperdink, The OJays, The Platters, The Lettermen, The Four Freshmen, the Dick Bright Orchestra, Broadway shows Les Miserables, Into The Woods, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, and numerous other venues and acts. He was also active in the recording industry, releasing three albums: “Dave Bendigkeit - Looking Out”, jazz quartet, Jazz Mind Label – 1982, “Thoughts of a Gentleman”, jazz quartet, Quartet Label – 1987, and "Full Circle - Take One", jazz trio, Jazz Mind Label -  2006 and "In Your Living Room" with Denny Berthiaume - 2010. As the preeminent recording trumpet player in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980’s he could be heard on commercials for Macy’s, Nike, Gap and many others, along with record albums and, television and  movie sound tracks for Charlie Brown, Garfield, Walker, Todd Rundgren, Zbra, Deep Voices, and Eddie Macon’s Run among others.


Writing Experience:

Dave has published two music books: Getting Started in Jazz Improvisation, a CD and Instructional text in Concert, Bb, Eb, and Bass Clef (1987) and Jazz Improvisation for All Instruments (Instructional text) (1985). Both books are used in colleges and by private instructors. 

Dave wrote arrangements and compositions for the Dick Bright Orchestra, Foothill Community College, Meta-4 Movie Soundtrack Demo, Lucas Films (copywork), and hundreds of compositions for various Dave Bendigkeit groups since 1972. 

Listen to Dave's writing (and playing) on:  Meta-4 

(Movie Soundrack Demo - ©1995) -Music: Dave Bendigkeit, Lyrics: Marty Perlmutter 

Includes beautiful vocals by Clairdee! 


Teaching: Taught hundreds of students in private lessons at music stores from 1978 - 1994. Stores were Milpitas Music in Milpitas, World of Music in Cupertino, Draper's Music in Palo Alto, Music Man in San Mateo, and Bronstein's Music in South San Francisco. As a teacher, Dave held positions at College of Marin where he taught Jazz Improvisation classes and was Director/Conductor of Community Concert Band from 1993 to 1995. He taught private lessons in Trumpet and Jazz Improvisation since 1977. He was a Bach Musical Instrument Company Trumpet Clinician from 1988 to 1994 and was featured at Seminars/ and as a clinician in Trumpet Playing and Jazz Improvisation at the Claude Gordon International Brass Camp from 1984 to 1988 He taught at the Stanford University Jazz Camp, and gave clinics for the Sunnyvale and Palo Alto School Districts.


On Teaching Jazz Improvisation

It seems that nearly every beginning student of jazz improvisation is immediately overwhelmed with complicated theories. He or she thinks: "if only I could learn all of these rules, I would be able to play a jazz solo." Learning to improvise doesn't need to be that difficult and in reality, it isn't.

Jazz is an aural art. With this in mind, I approach teaching jazz initially as an exercise in training the mind to develop a large melodic and harmonic "vocabulary". As Joe Henderson once told me: "Jazz is a craft that you learn by doing." All of the great jazz artists began learning to improvise by the same method. They learned scales and chords and an appropriate amount of music theory, and they listened to and copied the music and styles of their favorite players. All I've done is to write out this method and teach it to my students. It's really not new or original. I just had the sense to write it down. 

My main concern in teaching is to get the student to understand how to learn to improvise. Once that is understood, everything begins to fall into place. Of course, only you can add all of the necessary hours in the practice room! 

On Teaching Brass Instrument Technique  

I studied with Claude Gordon for about seven years. I combined this with study alongside great classical, commercial, and jazz players to develop an approach to brass playing based on sound physical principles along with exacting musical considerations. Years of studio recording work made me a trumpet player who did not miss notes - ever. Well, okay, once in a while...    But I was accurate enough to be hired again and again, sometimes working 10 recording jobs in one week. 

My goal is to help my students to be as exacting as I am in their approach to playing a brass instrument. This can be achieved through a systematic routine of practicing quality material and a constant focus on the purpose of playing which is to make great music.