Voted “Rising Star” in the “Alto Saxophone” category by DownBeat Critics Poll and “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2020, charismatic saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin combines jazz tradition with influences of hip-hop and soul.
Born in Washington Heights in 1982, she graduated from the renowned jazz programme at New School University in New York. She quickly became a sought-after arranger, working with such renowned artists as Anita Baker and sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder, Prince, Alicia Keys and The Roots, among others.
Following the third long player and absolute masterpiece “Pursuance”, the highly anticipated fourth studio album “Phoenix” will be released on 27 January 2023 via Whirlwind Recordings. The album was produced by multiple Grammy Award winner Terri Lyne Carrington.
Benjamin wants her listeners to not only feel, but also literally hear what she wants to communicate with her songs. It should be absolutely clear where she and her colleagues come from and what they have to say. So the spoken word is an elementary component of the album concept. All compositions on “Phoenix” are written around the abilities of their triumphant guests: Dianne Reeves, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Patrice Rushen, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis and Wayne Shorter. Among them are a handful of women from the jazz milieu who have strongly influenced Lakecia.
There is no question that Lakecia Benjamin will once again thrill her followers with her electrifying presence. The exceptional artist is accompanied at opderschmelz by Victor Gould on piano, Ivan Taylor on double bass and EJ Strickland on drums.
With a final reflection on this project, the saxophonist and bandleader brings light to her utmost admiration for the Coltranes and their collaboration that, musically, spiritually and emotionally culminated in one, whole, complete unit - “as an artist, it’s difficult to balance your personal life and career. This is a perfect example of a couple who had the best of both worlds - they took care of themselves, took care of the music, worked together, played together and they exemplified a completely functional, amazing relationship. You don’t need to sacrifice your art or your love - you can be one complete whole individual.”
Derived from liner notes by John Murph.