Two-time Grammy Winner Casey Benjamin dies at 45

Casey Benjamin

The global music community is in mourning following the unexpected passing of Casey Benjamin, a pioneering jazz musician from Grenada. Benjamin, renowned for his innovative saxophone sound and groundbreaking musical techniques, secured two prestigious GRAMMY awards during his illustrious career. His untimely demise at the age of 45 on March 30 in Maryland has left an irreplaceable void in the hearts of many.

Sapna Lal, Benjamin’s manager, confirmed his passing, which occurred during his recovery from surgery, although the exact cause remains undisclosed.

Casey Benjamin with Smokey Robinson

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Grenadian and Panamanian parents, Benjamin’s musical journey began at the age of 8 with the piano before transitioning to the saxophone in fifth grade. Raised in Jamaica, Queens, he immersed himself in the city’s Afro-Caribbean diaspora, shaping his unique artistic identity.

A prodigious talent, Benjamin earned a place at the esteemed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts before continuing his studies at the New School. There, he collaborated with fellow musicians Robert Glasper and drummer Terreon Gully, marking the beginning of his groundbreaking career.

Casey Benjamin

Benjamin’s artistic path was marked by his innovative fusion of jazz, electronic elements, and vocoder-enhanced vocals. As a key member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, he contributed to the ensemble’s Grammy-winning album “Black Radio” in 2012. His collaborations extended beyond jazz, including renowned artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, A Tribe Called Quest, Beyoncé, and Solange.

Robert Glasper, a close collaborator, mourned Benjamin’s passing, recognizing him as a “genius” and highlighting his indispensable role in the Robert Glasper Experiment. Tributes from the music community underscore Benjamin’s enduring influence and profound impact on the industry.

The Apollo

Benjamin’s Caribbean heritage deeply shaped his artistic identity, influencing his musical sensibilities and ethos. His father, Gentle Benjamin, fondly recalled Casey’s early love for jazz, mentorship under esteemed teachers, and remarkable career achievements.

As the music community and fans worldwide grapple with Benjamin’s premature departure, they come together to celebrate his life and musical contributions. A moving funeral service and celebration of life took place on April 13 at Mt. Olivet Church of Hollis in St. Alban’s, NY, where friends, family, and admirers gathered to pay their respects and honor his memory. Though Casey Benjamin has departed from this world, his enduring impact on music will continue to inspire future generations of musicians to explore, innovate, and express themselves with limitless creativity and influence.Image