Monterey Jazz Festival Announces Alto Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin as 2023 Artist – in – Residence

Monterey, Calif.; January 17, 2023; Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce that alto saxophonist, composer and arranger Lakecia Benjamin has been selected as the 2023 Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-in-Residence. Lakecia will work with young musicians at Monterey’s Summer Jazz Camp and with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the 66th annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2023. Lakecia will also be a featured member of Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour—Celebrating 65 Years group that will perform 25 concerts in 12 states from January 17-April 23, 2023. Lakecia is also featured on the February 2023 cover of DownBeat.

“I am looking forward to our Artist-in-Residence relationship with Lakecia,” said MJF Artistic Director Tim Jackson. “She is currently a part of our new edition of MJF on Tour and I am excited to experience the skills and enthusiasm she will bring to the AIR role. She brings a fresh perspective to jazz and I am certain our students and patrons will be enriched by her presence.

“My first experience at the Monterey Jazz Festival was sitting backstage speaking with Quincy Jones and listening to Wayne Shorter’s set in 2016,” said Benjamin. “To be joining as the 2023 Artist-in-Residence is a full circle moment for me. I am so excited to join the Monterey family and I look forward to working together to enhance this year’s vision.

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, charismatic and dynamic saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin fuses traditional conceptions of jazz, hip-hop, and soul. Benjamin, known for her electric presence and fiery saxophone work, has shared stages with legendary artists including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, Gregory Porter, and Macy Gray. Benjamin’s 2020 album Pursuance was an intergenerational masterpiece that explored the lineage of the works of John and Alice Coltrane. Her newest album, Phoenix, will be released on January 27, 2023 by Whirlwind Recordings. Produced by the multi-Grammy-award winner Terri Lyne Carrington, Phoenix features a star-studded lineup of specially curated guests including Dianne Reeves, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Patrice Rushen, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, and Wayne Shorter.

A New York City native and raised in Washington Heights, Lakecia Benjamin first picked up the saxophone at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. From there, she joined the renowned jazz program at The New School in Manhattan. 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.

For more information about the performance schedule for Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour—Celebrating 65 Years, click here.  

The 66th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival will take place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center, September 22-24, 2023 with more than 300 artists performing on 5 stages for 3 nights and 2 days of the world’s best jazz. 


For more information, high-resolution pictures and interview opportunities please contact

Timothy Orr
Marketing Associate, Monterey Jazz Festival
Direct Line: 831.646.8670
Monterey Office: 831.373.3366