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MJF66, Sept. 22-24, 2023


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Welcome to the Sands Box, LIVE! w/ Lakecia Benjamin
  • Conversation
  • Grounds Artist
  • Outdoors
Jazz United States
  • Saturday, September 24 11:45 am - 12:45 pm Patio Bar

Join your host and 2022 MJF Artist-in-Residence Christian Sands on Saturday and Sunday for live filmings of his web series, Welcome to the Sands Box!

This YouTube series features insightful conversations about composition, the artistic process, musician tips, and more with jazz stars and industry leaders.

These live filmings of Welcome to the Sands Box will take place in the Courtyard Patio on the Grounds, between the Courtyard Stage and the Arena.


Voted by the 2020 DownBeat Critics Poll as “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, 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.
A streetwise New York City native born and raised in Washington Heights, Lakecia Benjamin first picked up the saxophone at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Music & Art and 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, the David Murray Big Band, Vanessa Rubin 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.
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 (co-producer and bass), Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Meshell Ndegeocello, Regina Carter, Bertha Hope, The Last Poets, Greg Osby, Steve Wilson, John Benitez, Marc Cary, Marcus Gilmore, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland, Brandee Younger, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Jazzmeia Horn.
Lakecia Benjamin performs with MJF On Tour - Celebrating 65 alongside Dee Dee Bridgwater, Kurt Elling, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura, and Clarence Penn on Saturday night in the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena at 8 p.m.