As a teenager growing up in Birmingham, Bennett pursued drumming as a passion. He was exposed to experimental music through LaDonna Smith and Davey Williams and, in 1977, moved to Boston, Massachusetts and began playing with free jazz groups there and soaking up recordings of traditional African drumming. He studied under Sidney Smart at Great Black Music Loft workshops and made plans to make a pilgrimage to Africa.
In 1980 Bennett began an overland journey across Africa, staying with a family in Benin, Nigeria while he learned from Idemudia Izevhihen of the Ehengbuda Cultural Messengers. After a year he began playing professionally in Europe and recorded his first album, Metafunctional. He returned to the US in 1984 and moved to Brooklyn, New York. He became associated with such "downtown scene" drummers as Barry Altschul, Andrew Cyrille and Milford Graves and formed his own trio, the Semantics. He also co-founded the rhythm group Bosho and an improvisational trio called Third Person. He also played with the alt.country band the Kropotkins and George Cartwright's Curlew.
In the 1990s Bennett began writing songs and performing vocals, as well as experimenting with using recorded samples and synthesized sounds in performances as part of his group Chunk. In 1995 he and guitarist Hahn Rowe co-produced an album entitled History of the Last Five Minutes. That same year, Bennett relocated to Tokyo, Japan where he has worked with numerous improvisational drummers. He formed a new group, Skist, in 1998, releasing two albums on the group's independent label. In 2004 he resumed his solo performance schedule in support of the album Secrets of Teaching Yourself Music.
- Bennett, Samm (1984) Metafunctional. Igloo Records. IGL 020
- Semantics (Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg & Samm Bennett) (1986) '"Semantics. Review Records. RERE-84
- Semantics (Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg & Samm Bennett) (1987) Bone of Contentions SST CD 167
- Bosho (1987) Chop Socky. Dossier. ST7531. Reissued 1991 by Atonal. ACD3009
- Third Person (Tom Cora & Samm Bennett + various guests) (1991) The Bends. Knitting Factory Works, KFWD 102
- Bennett, Samm (1991) Life of Crime. Knitting Factory Works. KFCD 110
- Third Person (Tom Cora & Samm Bennett + Kazutoki Umezu) (1991) Trick Moon. Tsuki no Uso. TU-001
- Bennett, Samm (1993) The Big Off. Knitting Factory Works. KFCD 126
- Third Person (Tom Cora & Samm Bennett + Kazutoki Umezu) (1995) Lucky Water. Knitting Factory Works. KFCD 156
- Bennett, Samm and Hahn Rowe (1995) History of the Last Five Minutes. Knitting Factory Works. KFCD 166
- GoNoGoNoGo (Haruna Ito & Samm Bennett) (1998) Selected Works in Progress: 1998-1999. Polarity Records.
- Kazuhisa Uchihashi & Samm Bennett (2000) Cold Blowaway Sizeup. Psycho Records. PSYCHO 0107
- Skist (Haruna Ito & Samm Bennett) (2000) Jook Parachute. S-inc. SINC 0001
- Skist (Haruna Ito & Samm Bennett) (2000) Ready Question. S-inc. SINC 0002
- R.U.B. (Ned Rothenberg, Kazuhisa Uchihashi & Samm Bennett) (2002) Are You Be. Animul. ANI 103
- Skist (Haruna Ito & Samm Bennett) (2002) Ellipsis. Polarity Records. PN521
- Bennett, Samm (2004) Secrets of Teaching Yourself Musics. Improvised Music from Japan. IMJ 516