Musician (Two Time Grammy Winner)
Two time GRAMMY® award-winning Casey Benjamin is the first original member of the Robert Glasper Experiment. Through his melodic ingenuity on the vocoder, textual mastery on the keytar and spiky virtuosity on the alto, soprano and tenor saxophone, Benjamin gives the Experiment one of its most defining sounds that has enabled it to gain international acclaim in the jazz, R&B and hip-hop scenes on such trailblazing albums as Black Radio (Blue Note Records, 2012) and Black Radio 2 (Blue Note Records, 2013).
In addition to the Experiment, Benjamin toured with singer Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) and has work with a string of other stellar musicians that include jazz greats – singer Betty Carter, bassist Derrick Hodge, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, bassist Victor Bailey, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Buster Williams; hip-hop artists – Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Mos Def, Q-Tip, A Tribe Called Quest, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Busta’ Rhymes, Diddy, Heavy D, Consequence, DJ Logic and Wyclef Jean; R&B/Pop singers – Anderson Paak, Solange, Bilal, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé; and Black Rock Coalition gurus – Vernon Reid and Melvin Gibbs. With singer and songwriter Nicky Guiland, Benjamin co-leads the funk-forward combo, HEAVy, which has released three discs –HEAVy (Kindred Spirits, 2000), Jazz Money$$ (BBE, 2007) and First Sessions (Kindred Spirits, 2008).
Born in 1978, Benjamin grew up listening to music in his South Jamaica Queens, New York home. He started playing the saxophone when he was 8-years-old and continued his studies at the Harlem School of the Arts and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art. Benjamin complemented his early jazz studies by attending pianists Barry Harris’ Jazz Workshops and Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazzmobile. As a young kid growing up in Jamaica Queens, also afforded Benjamin contact with musicians involved in the bustling Jamaica Funk crew – bassist Marcus Miller, trumpeter Tom Browne, and keyboardists Bernard Wright, Donald Blackman, Ozell Miller and Weldon, Irvine Jr.
After graduating from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, Benjamin attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, where he met Robert Glasper in 1997. Glasper played piano on Benjamin’s demo for Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program. Benjamin and Glasper collaborated formally in 2004 with the first edition of the Robert Glasper Experiment, which played its first gig at New York City’s Knitting Factory. Although Benjamin remains a charter member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, he’s working on his forthcoming solo project.