Born in Hershey, PA in 1972 to first-generation Brooklynites, Benjamin Lapidus moved almost 15 times before returning to New York City at the age of 14. Trained in piano from a young age, he moved through a variety of instruments including trumpet and bass before concentrating on the guitar. Lapidus was exposed to music by his grandmother and his father, who played in Latin and jazz bands in the Catskills in the 1950's. Through his father's record collection and stories of his father's visits with his Latin American relatives, the seeds of Latin music were planted. Yet it wasn't until the 1980's that the youngest Lapidus became immersed in Latin music, when he moved to a predominantly Latin neighborhood in New York City, where numerous important musicians also resided. Living a block away from Mikel's jazz club, Lapidus still has vivid memories of practicing in Mario Rivera's house or seeing Mario Bauzá walk down the street. Deciding he needed a complete musical education, Lapidus earned two degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Oberlin College, becoming one of the program's first jazz guitar graduates. In 1994, Lapidus started to play the Puerto Rican cuatro and Cuban tres. After leading his own quartet at festivals and clubs throughout Europe and winning a grant to study briefly with Steve Lacy in Paris, he returned to the U.S. and worked with Joe McPhee, Joe Giardullo, Tani Tabal, Thomas Workman, and other creative improvisers.
At the same time, Lapidus began performing with Larry Harlow, Alex Torres, and other Latin music luminaries in New York and Puerto Rico. Lapidus earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2002. His travels to Cuba acquainted him with distant relatives and grounded him in the music of Eastern Cuba. He has taught popular music of the Caribbean, Latin music in New York, and world music at Queens College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY where he is a tenured associate professor in the department of art and music. In 2008, Lapidus published the first-ever book on the Eastern Cuban musical genre changüí called Origins of Cuban Music and Dance: Changüí (Scarecrow Press). In addition to having published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and reading papers at international conferences, he has written liner notes and served as scholar-in-residence with the Jewish Museum and the New York Center for Jungian Studies during humanitarian missions to the Jewish communities of Cuba. In 2013, Lapidus won a prestigious NEH fellowship for his forthcoming book Nueva York: The History of Spanish Caribbean Music in New York City and the Shaping of an International Sound, 1940-1990.
For the last eighteen years, Lapidus has performed and recorded tres and guitar on film soundtracks, video games, television commercials, and albums with notable musicians such as Juan Pablo Torres, Ibrahim Ferrer (Buena Vista Social Club), Pío Leyva (Buena Vista Social Club), Orlando "Cachaíto" López, Paquito D'Rivera, Cándido Camero, Ruben Blades, Larry Harlow, Bobby Sanabria, Jerry González, Ralph Irizarry, Humberto Ramírez, Harvie S., Dick Hyman, Brian Lynch, Mark Weinstein, Chico Álvarez, Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Emilio Barretto, Eddie Zervigón, José Fajardo, Rudy Calzado, and many others.
Benjamin Lapidus & Group from NYC's FB Lounge - Quien Tiene Ritmo
World-renowned Cuban tres and guitar virtuoso Benjamin Lapidus and his new group Kari-B3 release his long awaited 7th Latin jazz recording and 8th as a bandleader. The album features heavyweights from the Latin and jazz worlds such as Pedrito Martínez, NEA Jazzmaster Cándido Camero, 7-time Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria, Jared Gold (organ), Frank Anderson (organ), saxophonist Paul Carlon, NYTimes bestselling author T.J. English, trumpet sensation Greg Glassman, vocalist Bobby Harden, organist Frank Anderson, reed legend Walter "Gene" Jefferson, vocalists Enid Lowe and Hiram Remón, Latin-Grammy nominee Charlie Sepúlveda (trumpet), trombonist and vocalist Elizabeth Frascoia, and Chicago R&B session guitar ace Aaron Weistrop.
10 NEW 150 Total SYND: PRI: Jazz After Hours Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Miami, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Austin, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Long Is. NY, Orlando, San Antonio, Madison WI, Honolulu, Puerto Rico Online: Taintradio, Latin Jazz Corner, Green Arrow Radio, Live 365, Jazz From Gallery 41, The Jazzy Vegetarian, Paul Leslie, Latin Jazz Network, JazzCaribe, Soulandjazz.com, Roberta on the Arts, Live 365 INTER: Canada, Italy, Australia, Columbia, Venezuela
Ben Lapidus will be playing NYC's Zinc Bar on Thursday April 16 with his band Sonido Isleño@Paul Carlon's tribute to Billy Strayhorn. La Rumba is A Lovesome Thing Paul Carlon's 11-piece ensemble takes you on a fantastic journey through the Strayhorn repertoire, seeing it as a vehicle for reinterpreting guaguancó, son, bomba, and timba. Featuring sultry vocals, the tres guitar, horns for days, and subtle Afro-Caribbean rhythms, La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing celebrates the life and work of Billy Strayhorn.
The brainchild of Dr. Benjamin Lapidus, Sonido Isleño is Latin Jazz in the truest sense of the term: the exploration of Jazz and Spanish-Caribbean music in an accessible, organic, and logical way. The New York musicians involved are completely bi-cultural residents of the largest Caribbean city in the United States, having performed and recorded with a who's who of Latin music and jazz including Pedrito Martínez, Candido Camero, Phil Woods, Eddie Palmieri, Andy and Jerry González, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, and The Buena Vista Social Club. Active since 1996, Sonido Isleño has delighted audiences in Europe, South America, and throughout the United States, releasing 5 critically acclaimed albums of original music along the way. The band is currently preparing to commemorate its 20th anniversary with a new recording, to be released in 2016.
Here is a disc that will take you everywhere and back again. What a trip! Got your passport stamped?
Benjamin Lapidus plays guitar and tres (a South American guitar) and mixes and matches with a rotation of drums, percussion, vocals, horns and organs on this exciting collection of jazz standards and Latin traditionals. You get bluesy grooves with guitar and B3 on pieces like "Bilongo" and "Ochosi Blues" that are as earthy as the local farm fields. Other times trumpets like from Charlie Sepulveda" provide village volk tunes that make you feel lost from civilization. Rich vocals from Enid Lowe do wonders when worlds meet on "Tu, Mi Delierio" and "Here's That Rainy Day" while as a festive medley, while she rides the B3 wave like a surfer on "But Beautiful" Fun fills the air on "The Latin Side of Your Mama" and percussion rolls like a tidal wave on "Yemaya's Changes." This is a wonderful kaleidoscope of sounds and visions.
Benjamin Lapidus was interviewed live on WKCR: Out to Lunch on September 5 to discuss his career and his new Tresero Productions album - Ochosi Blues. Over the years, he has worked with Ibrahim Ferrer, Paquito D'Rivera, Cándido Camero, Larry Harlow, Ruben Blades, Típica 73, Bobby Sanabria, and many others.
SEE THE WKCR POST HERE
From the earliest times of its existence-certainly during the 1700's and the baroque era of Johann Sebastian Bach-the organ has been the principle instrument played in sacred music. Its capacity for glorious polyphony has been largely responsible for its use in praise of God's creation of the heavens and earth. So to call upon God to recall his great works was not unusual. Hundreds of years later in Africa and the Caribbean it is not really a stretch if it is used to call upon the Orishas, to praise them for the existence of man and to ask for a shower of blessings on his works. But is a bold move to employ this instrument in the practice of Afro-Cuban music, a leap that one of Cuba's émigré guitarists felt inspired to employ in his pursuit of his own sacred and secular art. That guitarist, Benjamin Lapidus has created what he calls a large programme of music dedicated to his roots, which apparently also include (also not a stretch) a filial root from Europe and the Middle East, for Mr. Lapidus is a part of the ancient Jewish Diaspora as well. And together with his Afro-Cuban ones this makes Ochosi Blues not merely interesting, but bold and wonderful as well. Of course, Mr. Lapidus does not play the organ-Jared Gold does-but Mr. Lapidus is, nevertheless, the high priest, concelebrating the cry for the Orishas, with the ineffable Pedrito Martinez, one of the pre-eminent Santeria practitioners. The drums-congas-come from the magical hands of Candido Camero and also from the mighty Bobby Sanabria and so the proverbial choir is now complete. - See more at: http://latinjazznet.com/2014/08/25/features/album-of-the-week/benjamin-lapidus-kari-b3-ochosi-blues/#sthash.FR5YmFLQ.dpuf
READ THE FULL Album of the Week POST & LISTEN
When someone mentions Latin Jazz, specific sounds automatically pop into our heads; these are usually based on strong musical memories, but they're not the end of the story. In most cases, that sound we identify strongly with Latin Jazz is Cubop, a mixture of Afro-Cuban rhythms and bebop harmonies. There's good reason behind this connection, based on the historical foundation of the music and a good number of important musical milestones. Latin Jazz in the twenty-first century has grown beyond one approach though, blossoming into a multi-faceted genre full of depth. The ever expanding use of rhythmic traditions beyond Cuba has accounted for much of the music's growth, but it's important to remember that Caribbean and South American cultural traditions are only one side of the equation. A century of harmonic and melodic conventions from the jazz world also offer opportunities for different slants on Latin Jazz. Blues is a huge part of jazz, and with this in mind, we can – and we should – have strong mixtures of blues and Afro-Cuban rhythms. While there's numerous of examples of blues and Latin music from a jazz perspective, blues is a big musical world unto itself with lots of stylistic variety. There's a wealth of potential waiting to be tapped when we look at the greater blues world and explore connections with Latin music. Guitarist and tresero Benjamin Lapidus moves into these uncharted waters with Ochosi Blues, exploring the crossroads between Cuban music and all sides of the blues, delivering a must-hear album that is full of smart connections, a deep lineage to tradition, and soulful performances. READ THE FULL Latin Jazz Corner REVIEW.
The fusion of musical cultures stands out as one of the leading themes in the jazz world during the new millennium, yet few artists have been as ambitious as Benjamin Lapidus in bringing together diverse soundscapes. His music spans the heritage of five continents, although he is especially skilled at bringing together the currents of Latin and Jewish song under the driving influence of jazz. On his new project Herencia Judia, Lapidus combines Afro-Caribbean currents with Jewish liturgical traditions in a unique and invigorating hybrid. Jazz.coms Tomas Pea recently sat down with Lapdius for a fascinating conversation.
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