Michael Benson Band

The Michael Benson Band has the largest repertoire in Seattle, mastering tunes from every decade and every genre. When the beats drop, jaws hit the floor and hands touch the sky. Keeping dance floors packed all night long is what the Michael Benson Band does best.
Michael Benson
Michael is in rare company as a lead-singing keyboardist. His voice glides easily from sophisticated Sinatra era jazz standards to screamin’ AC/DC, soulful Bruno Mars, and hip hop’s Macklemore. Legitimacy and flexibility across a vast range of styles is Michael’s hallmark.
Darelle Holden
Darelle Holden is a silky smooth songstress with deep musicality. Pop Diva, R&B Powerhouse, and Jazz Siren all apply to her unique and diverse vocal styling. Darelle toured Internationally for 17 years with superstar Sir. Tom Jones, ala, “20 Feet from Stardom” and along with her constant touring schedule she’s made countless appearances on Dancing With the Stars, The Tonight Show, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Conan O’Brian and the list goes on. Darelle also performed the duet “I Wanna Get Back With You” with Sir Tom Jones. Darelle’s distinctive vocals can also be heard on the Tom Jones classic “Leave Your Hat On” which is featured on “The Full Monty” motion picture soundtrack. Darelle has performed with extraordinary talents such as Earth Wind and Fire, Bobby Caldwell, Ellis Hall, Elton John, Jazz guitarist Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, and most recently Stevie Wonder.
Brian Monroney
Brian is an eclectic guitarist with broad experience as a performer and studio musician; he easily shifts gears between jazz, rock, pop, funk, soul, country, blues and other genres. He has performed with several well-known artists, including a nearly 18-year stint as the musical director and guitarist for legendary singer Tom Jones. As a studio musician, Brian has recorded with Natalie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Michael Bolton and numerous latin music stars. In the jazz & instrumental music realm he has contributed to recordings by Nelson Rangell, Wayman Tisdale, Ettore Stratta and the London Philharmonic and numerous records with smooth jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor. In addition to playing with the Michael Benson Band, Brian can be heard around the Puget Sound region with Lee Oskar, Joe Doria, Darelle Holden (313 Soul), Bill Anschell Quartet, Nearly Dan and other local favorites.
Pete Molner
Pete’s drumming career began in Seattle at age 10. While performing in local rock and jazz clubs, he studied with notable Northwest percussionists Keith Purvis, Joe Fields, Randy Baunton and David Shrader. While majoring in music at the UW, he played all percussion and mallet instruments with Thalia Symphony, The Seattle Youth Symphony, Mid-Columbia Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Seattle Symphony, New Dimensions in Music, and The Contemporary Group. His rock and jazz career continued, along with classical study, as be backed William O Smith, Tony Moreno, and 8 years with Columbia Recording Artist Bonny Guitar. Pete also performs for private events on solo vibraphone, nylon string guitar, and vocals. While at the UW, Pete met Michael Benson and they began a musical collaboration and friendship which is still going strong after 40 years. Amazing!!
Alexey Nikolaev
Alexey Nikolaev began playing saxophone at 15. He studied composition and arrangements at Gnesin’s Academy of Music in Moscow, and also studied with saxophonist Dave Liebman. Alexey’s extensive jazz festival appearances include Montreux Jazz Festival, Black Sea Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz FestivalIAJE / New York, Centrum Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Earshot Jazz Festival, San Francisco Balboa Jazz Festival, and many more throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He records extensively in Seattle and Los Angeles on Strokeland Records, Ponyboy Records and Smooth Groove Production labels.
Alexey’s performance collaborations include vocalists Bobby Caldwell, The New York Voices, Lary Braggs (Tower of Power), Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), Greta Matassa, Dee Daniels, saxophonists Dave Liebman,Tom Scott, Maseo Parker, trumpeters Winton Marsalis, John Faddis, Randy Brecker, Greg Adams (Tower of Power), guitarist John Pizzarelli, bassists Ray Brown, John Clayton and his All Stars Big Band, drummers Jeff Hamilton, Butch Myles, and vibraphonist Joe Locke, Tower of Power.
Osama Afifi
Osama Afifi (pronounced o-sam-uh) has been a professional bassist since 1983, and has recorded and performed live with many artists such as Yanni for two years during his U.S. and Canadian concrert tours. Toured Europe and Canada with French artist Vanessa Paradis produced by Lenny Kravitz. He appeared on VH1 TV show “Storytellers” with The Doors. He has worked with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalists Kurt Elling and Nnenna Freelon, The 5th Dimension, The Cadillacs, jazz saxophonist Gary Herbig, singer Debbie Boone, former Miles Davis keyboardist Kei Akagi, Doors drummer John Densmore, and jazz trumpeter Tony Guerrero.
Osama was the bassist for the B Sharp Jazz Quartet who were recognized by numerous national and regional magazines and newspapers. They toured the United States and Europe. Afifi composed and co-wrote a song entitled “Nami” that was featured on the group’s CD Searching for the One. The song was quoted as “a future Jazz standard” by Billboard Magazine. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest he has worked with the Tacoma Symphony, Judy Collins, Kareem Kandi Quartet, Darren Motamedy, David Keys, Hook Me Up, Gail Pettis, Michael Powers, Wally and the Beaves and many others. His education includes studies at the Dick Grove School of Music. He also studied with Jeff Berlin and Gary Willis.

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