Each year, the Monterey Jazz Festival names an internationally-renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) who works year-round with MJF’s education programs, providing young musicians with unique performance and clinic opportunities. During the Monterey Jazz Festival weekend, the AIR performs with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and is a featured artist. Previous AIRs have included Derrick Hodge, Allison Miller, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Gerald Clayton, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Eric Harland, Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Christian Sands, and many others. In 2023 the Artist-in-Residence is award-winning saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.
Voted as the winner of the 2020 DownBeat Critics Poll “Rising Star Alto Saxophonist” and Up & Coming Musician of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association, the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2023 Artist-in-Residence, 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 legendary artists, including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, Gregory Porter, and Macy Gray. Her new album, Phoenix features Patrice Rushen, Dianne Reeves, Angela Davis, and Wayne Shorter, and was produced by Terri Lyne Carrington. Lakecia is a key member of MJF on Tour — Celebrating 65, now appearing across the United States for 25 shows in January and April 2023.