August 11, 2021
was born and raised in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in New York City. In grade school, she studied recorder. She attended Eleanor Roosevelt Junior High School in New York City. She has been writing songs and lyrics since the age of 13. She began playing the saxophone in elementary school. Later while attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts she became interested in jazz. After high school she attended The New School in New York City. Her beginnings in music were Latin dance music. She played salsa and merengue. Saxophonist Gary Bartz was an early mentor who introduced her to training technical exercise techniques such as Hyacinthe Klosé’s 25 Daily Etudes. He introduced her to the music of jazz saxophonists Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Jackie McLean. While at the New School University, she studied under Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Buster Williams, Joe Chambers, Gary Bartz .
Voted by 2020 Downbeat Critics Poll 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, HipHop, and Soul. Benjamin’s electric presence and fiery sax work has shared stages with several legendary artists, including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, and Macy Gray. As the bandleader of Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad, she melds the vintage sounds of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Meters with soaring, dance-floor worthy rhythms. Benjamin’s grooves take the classic vibe to a whole new level with sultry alto saxophone creating something special on every cut – be it a smoldering late-night ambiance, or a forceful jazz intensity, or even the tight funk multi-horn harmony sections.
Currently Lakecia Benjamin’s latest album “Pursuance
” is an intergenerational masterpiece that takes one on a journey through the lineage of the music with the works of John and Alice Coltrane. Benjamin pays homage to those who have come before by featuring innovative bandleaders of her generation, such as, Reggie Workman (Coproducer and playing ), Ron carter , Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridegwater, 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.
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