Workshop Alumni Happenings Jan 18, 2023- Jan 31, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

Jan 18, 2023- Jan 31, 2023


1999 saxophone alum Lakecia Benjamin’s 2020 album, Pursuance: The Coltranes – a tribute to John and Alice Coltrane – received rave reviews from critics and listeners; and her new album, Phoenix, is set to release on January 27. Produced by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and featuring special guests, it is included in Jazziz Magazine’s “10 Albums You Need to Know: January 2023.” Here is Benjamin introducing the forthcoming album. Meanwhile, Benjamin is touring nationally as a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour’s sextet, with gigs on January 18 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley CA, January 19 at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert CA, January 20 at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, January 21 at the Fox Tucson Theatre in Tucson AZ, January 23 at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, January 25 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa CA, January 26 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, January 27 at the Gallo Center for the Performing Arts in Modesto CA, and January 29 at UC Santa Barbara’s Campbell Hall in Santa Barbara CA. And, oh yeah, she’s on the cover of February’s DownBeat Magazine!




Trumpeter Benny Benack III (2008) conducts a jam session residency at Small’s in NYC on January 18 and then hosts another jam session at the Tucson Jazz Festival in Tucson AZ on January 22. He appears with another trumpeter, Chris Botti, in a performance at The Kravitz Center in West Palm Beach FL on January 25. And then Benack and his Quartet perform at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Pittsburgh on January 26.


Another trumpet alum, Anthony Hervey (2014) performs with drummer Ulysses Owens’s Generation Y band at the Argyros/Sun Valley Music Festival in Ketchum ID on January 21.


Yet another trumpet alum, Keyon Harrold (1997), is featured in South African singer-songwriter Jonathan Butler’s “Oh Holy Night” performance at The Paramount in Los Angeles on January 25. He then travels across the country for a January 30 show at the Blue Note in NYC, and another one at that venue on January 30 with djembe artist Weedie Braimah and dancer Savion Glover.


On January 27, 2018 saxophone alum Coby Petricone-Berg and the Aayushi Karnik Trio perform at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC.


Pianist Robert Glasper (1997), fresh off headlining the 2023 Blue Note at Sea cruise, has a multi-night gig at the Dakota in Minneapolis, January 27-29.


Jeremy Siskind (2003 piano) performs and leads workshops at the Louisiana Piano Series International in Natchitoches LA, January 27-29, 2023.




Tunisian vocalist and oud master Dhafer Youssef’s forthcoming (January 27) studio album, Street of Minarets, features 2000 trumpet alum Ambrose Akinmusire.


Multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole has rolled out a new video for “Park Your Car On My Face,” from his Quality Over Opinion album, featuring two live performances of the track; one of which (seen here) includes 2014 alum Chris Fishman on piano.


The recently released album by Afro-Cuban nonet Sonido Solar, Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar, which features the 85-year-old bandleader, includes brothers Luques Curtis (2000) on bass and Zaccai Curtis (1999) on piano. Listen to the track “Mambo Inn.”


Bassist Russell Hall (2010) has a sophomore album, Black Caesar, in the works. You can watch this tutor video of the title track, which he composed.


2009 saxophone alum Braxton Cook has released “Indie,” a track from his forthcoming album “Who Are You When No One Is Watching?” Here’s the song’s official video.


Sibling duo The Lemon Twigs has released a new song, “Corner of My Eye,” recorded live with Daryl Johns (2011) on bass, and you can listen to it here. No word yet on whether the song will be on a new album.


Singer-songwriter Connie Converse’s song, “One By One,” on classical singer Julia Bullock’s solo debut album Walking in the Dark, was arranged by 2003 piano alum Jeremy Siskind. Listen here.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


The documentary Take Me To The River: New Orleans, featuring recordings and performances from NOLA-bred artists including 2001 trumpet alum Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, will be released on streaming platforms on January 20, 2023.


You can stream a performance by trumpeter Chris Botti & The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, recorded live at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas with 2007 alum Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on saxophone, on January 21 on KPBS TV and again on January 22 on KPBS2, at kpbs.org.


The staff at Newark NJ’s WBGO jazz radio station has identified its Top Ten favorite jazz albums of 2022, and the list is chock-full of works featuring Workshop alumni: Gerald Clayton (2002 piano) for his album Bells on Sand; Evan Sherman (2009 drums) for his quintet’s Sidewalkin’; trombonist Steve Turre’s Generations, with Isaiah J. Thompson (2014) on piano; singer Samara Joy’s Linger Awhile, with David Wong (1999) on bass; and singer Cecile McLorin Salvant’s Ghost Song, with Sullivan Fortner (2002) on piano.


McLorin Salvant’s Ghost Song featuring Sullivan Fortner (see item above) also made it to the Financial Times’s list of the best jazz albums of 2022, and his 2002 Workshop classmate Gerald Clayton (see item above) plays on saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s Trios: Chapel, which also made the list. Other FT-selected albums include saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins’s 7th Hand, with Micah Thomas (2013) on piano and Daryl Johns (2011) on bass; and drummer Makaya McCraven’s In These Times, with Greg Ward (1999) on alto saxophone.