Bandleader

On March the 3rd , 1957 , Thomas Bendzko was born into the family of the legendary, German Dixieland/Swing Trumpeter Eberhard Bendzko. At the early age of 9 Thomas started getting lessons on trumpet , which led ultimately to classical studies at the Conservatory of Bremen, Germany, from 1977-1980. In 1980, after 6 semesters, Thomas went to the states and started a degree-plan in music, but his focus had turned to jazz and eventually he finished as a „Bachelor of Music & Arts“ in Jazz-Performance.

During those „american“ years he studied and performed with a variety of artists such as: Don Jacoby, J.J. Haynie, Donald Byrd, Dan Haerle, Rich Matteson, J.Petersen, Neil Slater, Paris Rutherford, Bobby Shew, Lew Fisher, Dallas Brass & Electric, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Mel Lewis, the „O-jays“, „Miami Sound Machine“, Bill Tillman, Lou Marini etc. , to name a few. In 1990, after returning back to Germany, he started playing with numerous Gala Orchestras, but pursued at the same time a career as a lead-trumpeter and soloist for large ensembles .

After having performed already with the „Albert Mangelsdorf BigBand“ in ´84, during a brief stint back home, he started working now with trhe whole german circuit, such as HR-BigBand, Frankfurt Jazz BB, Thilo Berg BB, Conexion Latina, Aquarelas Do Brasil, Brazil Connection, Lo Chevere, Salsa Picante, Bongo Tropical while living in the Cologne area.

With the background of 5 years of salsa-trumpet on a so-called „3-nighter“ in Dallas, it was inevitable that Thomas joined the latin-circuit that had developed in Germany by now and became one of the most in demand salsa lead-trumpeters on trhe side. His work with Conexion Latina and Aquarelas Do Brasil as the lead-trumpeter speaks for itself. In 1992 Thomas moved to Munich, Germany, where he joined the „Dusko Gojkovic BigBand“ as the lead-player.

During all these years Thomas had also been a composer and arranger, but had done this only for his small-groups that he worked with off and on and it became more and more obvious , that his main interest lies in the more unconventional sound of jazz-music. Thomas tries to get away from straight ahead , mainstream - type jazz and explores more and more the beauty of odd-meters; and with his BigBand, founded in 2003, he tries to pursue his own style in BigBand-writing. Today , in 2007, Thomas Bendzko leads his BigBand and several small-groups on his own and rarely does he play with other bands.