We are thrilled to welcome alto saxophonist, bandleader, and educator Lakecia Benjamin as this year’s festival curator. She played the waterfront stage at the 2022 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, opening for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Now she's helping us shape a momentous 40th anniversary celebration for the festival, and looking forward to the future of the artform in Burlington and beyond.
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. She melds the vintage sounds of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Meters with soaring, dance-floor rhythms. Benjamin’s grooves take the classic vibe to a whole new level, with sultry alto saxophone creating something special on every cut—smoldering late-night ambiance, forceful jazz intensity, or tight funk multi-horn harmonies. Lakecia's last album, Pursuance, was a journey throug the works of John and Alice Coltrane. In recent days, Lakecia Benjamin has graced the cover of some of the biggest jazz magazines around, including DownBeat and Jazzwise, hot on the heels of her acclaimed new star-studded album, Phoenix. She is a white-hot rising star in the jazz world right now, and Phoenix makes this clear, with high-profile contributions from Georgia Anne Muldrow, Patrice Rushen, Angela Davis, Wayne Shorter, and more.
“I am honored to have been chosen as curator for the 2023 Burlington Jazz Festival,” said Lakecia Benjamin. “It is a special honor for me because this is the festival's 40th anniversary. One of the things that I am choosing to do is to honor the legacy of this music while at the same time looking at the future of jazz: paying homage to legendary jazz figures, honoring the generation of heroes and teachers who shaped my playing, and enlisting the help of my peers to ensure the future of jazz as a vital and shapeshifting art form. With the help of the Flynn team, as well as community partners, we are putting together an exciting festival that celebrates the past 40 years of jazz in Burlington while looking ahead to the possibilities for the next 40.”