Meet The Band
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Who We Are...
 
Planet9, the band formally known as "Plan9" unites musicians who have helped create some of the mega-hits of the past three decades in a pop/jazz forum that we like to call "East Coast Cool". With musicians (see below) who play with or have played with Hall & Oates, Elton John, Pete Townsend, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, George Michaels, etc., the group produces new, original music and familiar covers that have a highly melodic, rhythmic & energetic performance, and of course, a hint of humor.
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Planet9 Live In Concert
Planet9 Live in Concert - Winter 2004

 
Our Mission
 
Planet9's debut album "Cool Breeze" was released in the fall of 2001. The all original songs on "Cool Breeze" quickly rose to the top 40 on the charts and earned the band a National BEST NEW ARTIST nomination, and was the #11 Most Played Independent CD of 2003!
 
At the request of radio, the band released "God Rest Ye" late in 2001. The single went to the top of the charts and was downloaded by nearly 1,000,000 people on internet radio.
 
Due to the overwhelming response to "God Rest Ye", Planet9 released "The 9 Days of Christmas" in November 2002. The album was the Most Added Seasonal Album of the 2002 holiday season and reached #3 on the seasonal chartings and was the #2 album in 2003. The album also topped the charts in the Netherlands, Australia and received airplay in the U.K. and Japan.
 
"The 9 Days" received great critical acclaim. About "The 9 Days" the Associated Press said "THE next generation of Christmas Music has Arrived". Reuters hailed "The 9 Days" as one of the top 3 albums of the year and the L.A. Times wrote that it the "best holiday...album of the year" and said "This is awesome!" Other reviewers said "The 9 Days" was "the most innovative holiday album in decades" and drew comparisons to "Mannheim Steamroller meets Tower of Power".
 
Plan9 at ESPN's Cold Pizza
Planet9 post performance at ESPN's
"Cold Pizza" in December 2003

 
2003 brought Planet9 to the forefront of the music world via national television performances. This season Planet9 appeared on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" morning show, Comcast Cable's "Real Life", the Barry Z and Joey Reynolds shows. Reuters Television also featured the band in an international special on holiday music.
 
2004 brought the release of Planet9's most "adventurous" (in the opinion of one reviewer) project yet. "Rearview" contains all new arrangements of some of the most beloved hits of the 60's, 70's, and 80's - many of which feature vocals by the ORIGINAL artist(s) including Larry Hoppen of Orleans, and Dave Jenkins of Pablo Cruise.
 
In September 2004, Planet9 scored a Top-5 hit on the Adult Contemporary Charts with "Whatcha Gonna Do" (ending up with #49 overall for the 2004 year), and currently (Dec 2004) has two other songs in the top 100 including our Hurricane Relief Single "Here To Love You", and our 2004 #5 Seasonal Hit "Oh Holy Night" featuring Broadway, Film & TV star Sheryl Lee Ralph.
 
Sheryl Lee Ralph with the band

Broadway, Film & TV star Sheryl Lee Ralph
singing with the band

 
The Musicians
Drew Bentley Drew Bentley
(Guitar, Band Leader): Drew's complete lack of musical experience made him the obvious choice to be the leader of Planet9. Classically trained, Drew began playing at age 8 but his musical career was interrupted by college sports and a trip to graduate school for a Ph.D. A mid-life crisis led to his return to music. That said, please read on.
Charlie Morgan Charlie Morgan
(Drums): With six albums and five world tours, Charlie was Elton John's drummer for thirteen years. Charlie's resume reads like a who's who of pop music with performances with Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Cher and the Moody Blues, among many others. Charlie has over 150 album credits and has appeared on numerous international TV shows and movie soundtracks.
John Marsden John Marsden
(Keyboards & Vocals, Musical Director): The composer and arranger for Planet9, John has for the past seven years, written, scored and arranged music for children's television, and his clients include Boeing, McDonalds, Lockheed Martin, Dale Carnegie, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He has also engineered numerous jazz recordings for Arturo Sandoval, Kenny Drew, Jr., Nathan Page and guitarist Larry Coryell.
Charlie DeChant Charlie DeChant
(Saxophones, Flute): saxophonist extraordinaire for Hall & Oates for the past three decades. An incredible composer in his own right! Just check out the sax solo on "Maneater". Charlie has just released his 2nd solo all-original CD entitled "Like The Weather" which features many members of Planet9 as well as assorted guest musicians.
Bill Gifford Bill Gifford
(Bass Guitar & Vocals): Originally from Upstate New York, Bill "Giff" Gifford provides the low-end sound to the group as well as vocals. With a funk-n-roll resume from years in the trenches playing the Central Florida music scene, Giff is adding a "funky" flavor to the live version of the band, as well as Planet9's newest release "Rearview". Check out his sweet high tenor voice on Planet9's Hurricane Relief Single "Here To Love You".
Lane Hoppen Lane Hoppen
(Keyboards & Vocals): Lane is the keyboardist with chart-topping Orleans who continue to tour and record to this day. Other current projects include performing with brother Larry (Orleans) in the Rock and Pop Masters (RPM), a touring show featuring many of the top pop/rock vocalists of the past several decades. Besides have a wonderful tenor voice, he is also a walking encyclopedia of pop music and could make a fortune playing at piano bars if he ever decided to pursue that avenue...
Cameron Brown Cameron Brown
(Trumpet & Flugelhorn): Finding the right trumpet player is not an easy thing! Not only is Cameron the RIGHT trumpet player, but he's a monster musician to boot who knows how to squeal with the best of them. The most recent edition to Planet9, Cameron joins us from years in the R&B touring trenches.
Amy Gifford Amy Gifford
(Vocals & Percussion): Amy, besides being the most excellent wife of our bassist Bill Gifford, is also one heck of a singer. Classically trained with a Masters in Vocal Performance from the Cinncinatti Conservatory, Amy teaches music and vocal training at Rollins College, and performs throughout the United States. In addition to her "classical" voice, Amy's "pop-diva" voice provided a major addition to Planet9's newest release "Rearview", and our special singles in 2004 including "Here To Love You", and the Christmas single "Oh Holy Night".