Bender Brass

Bender Brass
Jimmy Carpenter - Saxophonist, singer-songwriter, arranger, and Gulf Coast Records recording artist, Jimmy Carpenter is on a roll! He won the 2021 and 2022 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist/Horn. And he is now a Grammy-Winning Composer, for a composition he contributed to the New Orleans Nightcrawlers’ winning album, Atmosphere. Jimmy has toured internationally with Tinsley Ellis, Jimmy Thackery, Walter Wolfman Washington, Eric Lindell, and Mike Zito and the Wheel. 2019’s Soul Doctor, his first album on Gulf Coast Records, was extremely well-received worldwide, and in September 2022 he released his fifth solo album, The Louisiana Record, a collection of his favorite New Orleans songs, also on Gulf Coast. He has been a working musician for over 40 years, spent many years in New Orleans, and now resides in Las Vegas, where he is the Musical Director of one of the hottest blues festivals in the world, The Big Blues Bender.

Doug Woolverton - Since the tender age of 7, Doug Woolverton has been cultivating his smooth, soulful, yet energetic trumpet sound for audiences around the world becoming one of the most in-demand, versatile trumpeters of his generation. Alumni of the spectacular Blues outfit Roomful of Blues, Doug is a Turn It Up trumpeter that blends a musical cocktail that is stout and refreshing. A master of many genres, he embodies the prolific style of Miles Davis with his own personal tone to deliver a richness as flavorful as Memphis fried chicken and New Orleans Gumbo. Doug Woolverton is a welcome addition to any ensemble and is a huge part of the Bender Brass.

Mark Earley - Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame inductee, 2 -time Grammy-nominated and 6 -time W.C. Handy Award-winning saxophonist Mark Earley’s lifelong musical journey has brought him across the globe from NYC’s Lincoln Center to The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Moscow International Performing Arts Centre to The Zouk Mikael International Festival in Beirut, Lebanon, The King Biscuit Blues Festival to The Le Méridien Etoile's Jazz Club as part of the JBL Jazz Festival in Paris. Over the years, he has collaborated with scores of talented musicians, both on stage and in the recording studio. Jay McShann, Duke Robillard, Albert Collins, Louis Bellson, Joe Williams, James Cotton, Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Price, Otis Clay, Mike Ledbetter, Gerald Levert, Taj Mahal, Kim Wilson’s Blues Review, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roomful of Blues, Victor Wainwright, The Temptations, The Coasters, Joey McIntyre, Bobby Brown, Omar Hakim, Darius Brubeck, Wayne Newton, and Red Skelton. These are but a handful of world-renowned artists that have recognized his extraordinary talent. It is with this experience that has brought Mark to know-how sharing the spiritual magic of music to audiences across the world is a true blessing.

Red Young - This World Class Musician, Performer, Writer & Arranger has mastered the 88's and has lit up stages and studios with the likes of Dolly Parton. Eric Burton, Kirk Fletcher, Janiva Magness, and many others. Red has worked on TV shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Osborne's plus movies In the Line of Fire, and Indecent Proposal. Not to mention he has strolled the stage on Live performances from Austin City Limits. More than comfortable behind a piano, Red Young is set to have a musical conversation with the artists around him whether the tone is Tupelo, Mississippi swampy and humid, Memphis raw-edged, or Chicago South Side strong. You'll see Red Young at his best on the stages of the Bender, and you'll be long gone in his craft on the ebony & ivory keys.

Nick Schnebelen - Multiple Blues Music Award Winner. From 2018 to 2022, Nick Schnebelen and his band have been touring North America as the opening act for George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Nick clearly has the blues-rock power to fill that slot with regular standing ovations. When not supporting Thorogood, Nick headlines his own tours in USA and Europe. Nick got his introduction to the worldwide Blues community in 2008, along with siblings Danielle and Kris, as a founding member of the Kansas City band Trampled Under Foot. They overwhelmed the competition to win that year’s International Blues Challenge, with Nick claiming the Albert King Award for “Best Guitarist”. The band later won the “Contemporary Blues Album” Blues Music Award. Nick left the band in 2014 and proceeded to release three original albums under his own name. Nick and his band along with some special guests have recently completed his next in studio recording, “What Key Is Trouble In?, soon TBA for early 2023 release. This new music is the follow up to Nick’s critically acclaimed 2019 release, “Crazy All By Myself.” on Vizztone.

Mike Merritt - Bassist Mike Merritt spent 25 years playing in the house band on all of Conan O’ Brien’s TV talk shows, starting in New York with “ Late Night” then moving to Los Angeles for “The Tonight Show” and TBS’s “Conan”. This gave Mike opportunities to perform with many guest artists over the years, including Cheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, The Staple Singers, B.B. King, Slash, Tony Bennett, Steve Miller, Isaac Hayes, Chet Atkins, Pete Townshend, Robert Palmer, Bruce Springsteen and scores of others.

Mike has toured and recorded with Grammy-winning bluesman Johnny Copeland, Rock, and Roll Hall of Fame member Johnnie Johnson, and was an original member of Grammy-winner Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band. Other artists Mike has either recorded, toured, or performed with include Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Gibbons, Larkin Poe, Hubert Sumlin, Son Seals, Popa Chubby, Jimmy Vivino, Al Kooper, Odetta, Catherine Russell, Beth Hart, Southside Johnny, Jimmie Vaughan, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Mike was influenced and guided by his father, legendary jazz bassist and composer Jymie Merritt (of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers).

Mike has recorded one album as a co-leader with vocalist sibling Mharlyn Merritt, Alone Together, and has collaborated on original recording projects including The Coalition with Scott Healy, Glenn Alexander, and Shawn Pelton; Rock Candy Funk Party with Tal Bergman, Joe Bonamassa, Renato Neto, and Ron DeJesus and The Love Trio with Paul Tillotson and James Wormworth.

Other activities include being on the NARAS Board of Governors, NY Chapter 2002-2003, as well as membership in RMALA, SAG-AFTRA, and The Blues Foundation. Mike was recently appointed to the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, representing the American Federation of Musicians.

David Kida - I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1960. I grew up in a house filled with music. Both my older brothers played the drums so I had a front-row seat for all their bands practicing. And I knew from an early age that drumming was what I wanted to do. I followed the family tradition and began playing at a pretty early age. I started playing in bands at 13, and was working in clubs by 16. A few bands later and I was playing my first road gigs by 18. I got the chance to play on the island of Montserrat in 1981. And while there had the chance to record at Air Studio. After that, it was the big move to Los Angeles in 1982. I thought it would be easy… Join a band… Get a record deal… Be a Rock Star!!!! BOY WAS I WRONG!!! But I did learn a lot in those years… How to keep playing music while doing whatever day job I could find to keep the dream alive. I played with some great players in those years. Some who I still play with today. Most of all I learned to play a lot of styles of music. And how to play in the recording studio as well. But I always came back to the blues. I had a long-running association with Barry Levenson, I toured with him and played on several records with him in the early ’90s.

The 2024 Bender Jamboree Lineup