Voted by 2020 Downbeat Critics Poll as a rising star alto saxophonist and Up and Coming Artist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, charismatic and dynamic saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin fuses traditional conceptions of jazz, hip-hop and soul.
Benjamin’s electric presence and fiery sax work has shared stages with several legendary artists, including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and The Roots. A streetwise New York City native born and raised in Washington Heights, Benjamin first picked up the saxophone at Fiorello LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. From there, she joined the renowned jazz program at New York’s New School University. However, even at that early stage, Benjamin was already playing with renowned jazz figures like Clark Terry and Reggie Workman, which introduced her to opportunities to play and tour with an array of artists such as Rashied Ali, Christian McBride, Gregory Porter and James “Blood” Ulmer. With her deep jazz roots, she was soon in demand as an arranger and horn section leader, landing stints with such acclaimed artists as Anita Baker.
Benjamin’s album “Pursuance” is an intergenerational masterpiece that journeys through the lineage of jazz with the works of John and Alice Coltrane. She pays homage to those who have come before by featuring innovative bandleaders of her generation, such as Reggie Workman (co-producer and performer), Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Meshell Ndegecello, Regina Carter, Bertha Hope, Last Poets, Greg Osby, Steve Wilson, John Benitez, Marc Cary, Marcus Gilmore, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland, Brandee Younger, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Jazzmeia Horn.
“Phoenix,” the latest and fourth studio album from virtuosic saxophonist Benjamin, was released in early 2023 via Whirlwind Recordings. The far-reaching album finds the tour-de-force saxophonist in a poised and profoundly individual position alongside an all-star cast of musicians. The album was produced by the multi-Grammy Award-winning Terri Lyne Carrington and features guests Dianne Reeves, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Patrice Rushen, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis and Wayne Shorter. The band is composed of trumpeter Josh Evans, Victor Gould on keys, Orange Rodriguez on synths, drummer Enoch (EJ) Strickland, percussionist Nêgah Santos and bassist Ivan Taylor. Trumpeter Wallace Roney Jr., Rhodes organist Anastassiya Petrova and bassist Jahmal Nichols all join for one track each.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.