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Benjamin Lapidus: Bio

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.

1 Ochosi Blues
2 I'll See You on Moonday
3 But Beautiful
4 Bilongo
5 The Sweeter The Lovin, The Darker The Roux
6 Tu, Mi Delirio / Here's That Rainy Day
7 The Latin Side of Your Mama
8 Guajira Organica
9 Habla Candido
10 El Manisero
11 Have You Met Miss Jones?
12 Como Fue
13 The Five Year Plan
14 Stella By Starlight
15 Yemaya's Changes
Interview with WKCR's Caribe Latino
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

Crossover Media Projects with: Benjamin Lapidus