Born in Hastings in 1955, Benn Clatworthy grew up in London. He is the grandson of 1930s stage star Gertrude Lawrence. At the age of 19 he took lessons from Ronnie Scott who recommended him to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Active in the London music scene during the 1970’s, he moved to Los Angeles in 1980 where he studied saxophone, flute, and clarinet with Phil Sobel. In the late 80s he was recommended for Horace Silver’s band, and Horace in turn recommended Benn to Discovery Records resulting in his first CD release as a leader, “Thanks Horace”. He has amassed an impressive discography and recorded in excess of a dozen fine albums under his own leadership. His recording, Let’s Face the Music (Maestro, 2000), epitomises his approach: ‘If you’re not affecting emotions, music has little value’.
Benn has performed with: Jimmy Cleveland, The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Billy Higgins, Otmaro Ruiz, Cab Calloway, Donald “Duck” Bailey, The Temptations, Alex Acuna, Larry Gales, Cedar Walton, Bobby Shew, Roy McCurdy, The Platters, Ernie Andrews, Francisco Aguabella, Tony Inzalaco, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Pete Christlieb, Jimmy Branly, Cecilia Coleman, The Coasters, The Mills Brothers, Ray Armando, Cyndi Lauper, Henry “The Skipper” Franklin, awrence Marable, John Heard, Martin Drew, Art Hillary, Donald Dean, Johnny Hammond Smith, Frank Strazzeri, John Beasley, Kei Agagi, Joey Sellers, Horace Silver, and many others…
“ … his tenor sax playing has acquired strong US characteristics, not least a tough personal tone and a wide emotional range that extends from ballad tenderness to gladiatorial torrents of controlled aggression at fast tempos.” Chris Lee
“…Scattering notes around the room with a deliciously dry loquacity in a fast-moving hard-bob manner” John Fordham