It’s New Music Monday! Join Arturo Gómez on Lunchtime! on Monday, June 3 at noon. Debuting is new music from Lakecia Benjamin, Conrad Herwig, and Robert

Lakecia Benjamin: “Phoenix Reimagined-Live”
Born and raised in the predominantly New York City Dominican neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, Washington Heights, the area where the popular HBO mini-series “The Heights” took place and where Patricia became exposed to a wide variety of music styles. As a teen, Benjamin began writing songs and lyrics while playing the recorder. She started playing the saxophone in junior high school, leading her to be accepted at the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. Her first experiences playing in a band were in merengue and salsa until she discovered jazz when attending the New School University of NYC. Her first mentor was the noted saxophonist Gary Bartz which led her to play in the bands of Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, and many other renowned jazzers plus Anita Baker, The Roots, Kool and the Gang, and many others.

In 2021 Lakecia was in an automobile crash that led to multiple injuries including a broken jaw. Overcoming all her injuries she continued her current path to one of the top saxophonists playing today, she is a multi-Grammy® nominee and she has recently concluded a one-week stint on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” band where they announced this brand-new album, her first live in studio recording. Lakecia Benjamin will be performing at the Newman Center on October 13.

Conrad Herwig: “The Latin Side of McCoy Tyner”
This is the eighth in the series of “The Latin Side of” that Conrad has released after being inspired by playing in the Eddie Palmieri band who often injected jazz melodies into his salsa tunes, so impactful this was to an up-and-coming trombonist that Palmieri was asked to be the godfather of Herwig’s son. Unlike the previous albums, this one was recorded in the studio as opposed to live with a fine group of accompanists, one tune, “Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit” features guest pianist Eddie Palmieri, and the others have Bill O’Connell radiating the 88’s. Conrad inherited his uncle’s record collection when he was 13 years old and it included many McCoy Tyner albums with John Coltrane and as a leader, Herwig has been studying his music ever since.

Originally the plan was for Conrad to record a Latin jazz album with McCoy but due to his failing health, it never materialized. All ten songs are Tyner compositions with arrangements by either Herwig or Bill O’Connell. Rounding out the ensemble are Craig Handy playing tenor and baritone sax, Alex Norris-trumpet and flugelhorn, Ruben Rodriguez-bass, Robby Ameen-drums, and Camilo Molina-congas/batá drums and an opening chant to begin the first track: “African Village.”

Jack Walrath: “Live at Smalls”
Although born in Stuart, FL, the veteran and highly respected trumpeter and arranger Jack Walrath relocated to Edgar, Montana as a toddler. He began to play trumpet when he was nine and credits his diverse musical tastes to growing up in a small town where there is no peer pressure. In his early twenties, he relocated to Los Angeles where quickly found studio work then went on tour with Ray Charles followed by a tenure in the Charles Mingus Big Band. When not touring Walrath wrote reviews and articles for Downbeat.

For his first recording as a leader or accompanist since 2014, Walrath put together a stellar lineup to back him up for this live date at the renowned Smalls Jazz Club in Manhattan,  George Burton on piano, Boris Kozlov on bass, Donald Edwards on drums and Abraham Burton on tenor sax, all chosen because of their ability to play the intricate instrumentation written and arranged by Jack. The 77-year-old trumpeter states: “I will go kicking and screaming and still searching for the lost chord!”

Now in its 21st year of debuting the latest arrivals to the KUVO Jazz library, many of them are played ahead of their official release date. In addition to the music comments, I’ll provide a few tidbits about the artist, if it’s a new or an up-and-coming artist. It all begins at Noon every Monday.

Stay connected to KUVO’s programs and our community! Sign up for the Oasis E-News today!

Become a Member

Join the growing family of people who believe that music is essential to our community. Your donation supports the work we do, the programs you count on, and the events you enjoy.

Download the App

Download KUVO's FREE app today! The KUVO Public Radio App allows you to take KUVO's music and news with you anywhere, anytime!