Gregg Bendian was born on July 13th, 1963 in Englewood, New Jersey. His family lived in Fairview NJ, until moving to Teaneck NJ at the age of seven. Gregg grew up in a house where music was always in the air. His parents, Martin and Patricia, were great music lovers and he was exposed to a wide range of music very early on in life. From Sinatra and Tchaikovsky to Simon & Garfunkel, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis and The Beatles - The Bendian household enjoyed it all. This no doubt had a huge impact on the way Gregg approaches music today.
In 1971 The Bendian family moved to Teaneck and this had a profound effect on Gregg's artistic development. The town had an excellent school system and one of the finest arts programs in the country. For the first time he was directly exposed to various forms of African-American culture. He heard jazz, funk and R&B music at many of his friend's homes. A new world was opened.
Gregg began rudimental drum studies at the age of nine with Wells Jenny and played in the school orchestra. During junior high school, he began piano and theory studies, and for the first time began writing his own music. Gregg played drums in rock and jazz bands with friends, learning covers of popular songs and immediately starting to perform original material.
Throughout the 1970's Gregg became obsessed with the music of the progressive rock and jazz/rock fusion era. He listened fervently to bands such as Gentle Giant, Gong, Genesis, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Return to Forever, Weather Report, and especially, The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The intricate rhythms and contrapuntal composing style of each of these bands greatly influenced Gregg's ears and his thinking about music in general. This propelled Gregg to study classical percussion under Gary Van Dyke of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.
During his high school years Gregg also completely immersed himself in composing chamber music. He studied seriously under composer Jeffrey Kreske of William Paterson University and devoured the music of Edgard Varese, Anton Webern, Charles Ives, Stefan Wolpe, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Elliott Carter. Gregg also studied drumset with rhythm innovators Andrew Cyrille and Steve McCall at their Greenwich Village studios during his senior year of high school and attended a great many concerts of the new jazz at the important New York loft space Soundscape, and at The Public Theater. This was a time of great exploration and preparation for Gregg's future contributions to the realms of creative composition, improvisation and jazz.
Gregg attended Rutgers University and studied composition with the late Noel DaCosta, whose well-known interest in joining classical music with jazz and world musics had a profound effect on Gregg. Noel quickly recognized Gregg's potential as a serious conceptualist and encouraged him to pursue his own artistic voice and unique musical direction. The two remained close friends over the next 20 years, until DaCosta's death in 2002.
Gregg left Rutgers in 1983 to immerse himself in the music-making of the New York Downtown scene. It was during this time that he first played with many important improvisers such as Derek Bailey, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Mark Ribot, Ned Rothenberg, William Parker, Mark Dresser, Evan Parker, Borah Bergman, Butch Morris, Tom Cora and many more. He formed The Gregg Bendian Project and first began presenting concerts of his own music in New York in January of 1984.
Shortly after playing with Derek Bailey, Gregg was asked by Bailey to join his improvising collective, Company. It was within Company that Gregg first played with such musicians as Leo Smith, George Lewis, Robert Dick, Lol Coxhill, Gavin Bryars, Roscoe Mitchell, Peter Kovald, and Peter Brotzmann.
Soon after, Cecil Taylor heard a tape of Bendian and Bailey's duo improvisations and when Tony Oxley was unavailable for a Boston performance, Taylor asked Bendian to fill in. Gregg played with Cecil Taylor's Feel Trio for most of 1989. During this period of intense activity the trio toured widely and recorded an album for A&M called "In Florescence"(1990). The disc includes two of Bendian's solo percussion works, "Entity" and "for Steve McCall" - a rather rare instance of Taylor including the works of another composer on his own record date.
Bendian currently leads the ensembles INTERZONE, THE MAHAVISHNU PROJECT, THE OPEN ASPECTS ENSEMBLE and TRIO PIANISSIMO, whose new disc “Change” has just been released on Aggregate Music. He can also be heard playing drums and vibes on ex-Capt. Beefheart guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo's "We Saw A Bozo Under The Sea" (ZHR Records) and has recently appeared as timpani soloist with Ornette Coleman's Harmelodic Chamber Players.
Gregg is an active solo percussion performer and a frequent clinician for Paiste cymbals, Drum Workshop drums, Attack heads and Musser tuned percussion. A sought-after composer and private instructor, Gregg is featured in the new book/CD "Percussion Profiles: Interviews, Articles & Discographies of 25 of the World's Most Creative Percussionists" (Soundworld Publishers/FMR Records).