Chris plays:Sk-2 and B-3
Chris Bentley’s musical path has been a long, strange trip.
Though he started in music by playing percussion throughout school, Chris was not a musical prodigy, and did not show any remarkable early gifts. But, as his interest in music grew during school years, he worked hard and developed quickly on marimba, then piano. While he was largely self-taught, with the exception of his high school band training and a few months of classical piano lessons, Chris developed skills and experiences which allowed him to be accepted into the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a Music Theory major, with an eye toward transitioning to Composition.
But, while gaining knowledge, Chris was lacking in direction and spent a number of years casting about in folk (playing guitar) and oldies dance music (on piano). It was not until he joined The Avenues, a long-time local Cincinnati R&B band, that Chris went headlong into the world of sweet soul. He got hooked on the sounds of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Garnet Mims, Ray Charles, Harold Melvin, Curtis Mayfield, Rufus Thomas, Booker T – all the greats of that style and era. The gospel underpinnings of R&B resonated with Chris’ church background, and he set about learning as much as he could on piano. But it wasn’t long before he caught the fever for the Hammond organ. By the time Chris had left The Avenues and started working with Cincinnati-based blues group The Tempted Souls Band, he was obsessed with getting the right sound – the right tone to express his own blues and soul. Although he continued to love the expressiveness of the piano, Chris developed a special relationship with the organ, seeing the Hammond as a living being, which literally breathes through the skill of the player’s hands and feet, as well as through the expression of his/her soul.
Looking back, the early “wandering” was formative, and today Chris brings his own eclectic mix of classical, jazz, folk, gospel, blues, soul, R&B and even country to The Summit – a Cincinnati-based, national (and soon-to-be international) touring and recording band. With his C2 (converted to C3 specs) or SK2 Chris adds his broad, varied perspective to The Summit’s roots/rock/blues/soul amalgamation, as they look forward to the imminent international release of their first album with Independent Ear (ILS Group/UMG/Caroline).