Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell

Lakecia Benjamin

(US)

The New York City born Lakecia Benjamin (*1982) is a musician, composer, arranger, and bandleader. Benjamin is best known for her electric stage presence and fiery sax work – she is actually one of the most highly sought-after saxophone players for soul and funk. Benjamin is currently leading her own band Soul Squad, which is specialized in a mix of classic jazz, funk, and soul.

Lakecia Benjamin first picked up the saxophone at age 11 and studied the work of renowned jazz musicians like Greg Osby, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Sam Rivers, and Steve Coleman. She attended the Fiorello LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and participated in the jazz program at The New School University. Her Washington Heights upbringing contributes to the encyclopedic knowledge of Latin music that informs her breezy alto-saxophone signature.

“Lakecia captures the essence of traditional jazz, blues and r&b, never forsaking the importance and essential characters of the genres, while at the same time embracing the evolution of them all—while speaking to what’s relevant today. Her sound is clear, urgent and soulful,” says drummer Terri Lyne Carrington about the positive and energetic saxophone player. Her summery, sultry alto saxophone is adding something special on each cut she participates in. Lakecia told the renowned Downbeat magazine: “Sometimes the message and the impact isn’t about me playing a lot of saxophone,” she explained. “Don’t get me wrong; I love to solo. But I got to do what I feel is best for the music.”``

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