aftershow: LũpaGangGang

Sat 18/03/2023 - 20:00
Ben LaMar Gay (60') - 30' pause - Lakecia Benjamin (75')

Ticket prices

presale: € 20 (section 1) - € 18 (section 2) - € 14 (section 3)
doors: € 23 (section 1) - € 21 (section 2) - € 17 (section 3)

extra reductions

  • KU Leuven Culture Card: - € 2 on presale and doors
  • UiTPAS reduction rate: € 4,60 (section 1) - € 4,20 (section 2) - € 3,40 (section 3)
  • no other reductions

Lakecia Benjamin presents Phoenix

In March 2020, just at the start of the first corona lockdown, American saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin released her album Pursuance: The Coltranes, a collection of compositions by Alice and John Coltrane. The album was a tribute to and a continuation of the message and style of these great maestros. Her Pursuance concert was also planned during Leuven Jazz 2022 but unfortunately could not take place in the last instance.

We are therefore very happy that we can invite her again for the Belgian premiere of her brand new album Phoenix which was released on January 27 (on Whirlwind Recordings). The album is produced by multi-Grammy winner Terry Lyne Carrington and features special guests: writer and activist Angela Davis and top musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Patrice Rushen, Sonia Sanchez and Georgia Anne Muldrow.

The title Phoenix is ​​a double metaphor. It describes both the resurrection of her hometown New York – and the world – after the corona pandemic, but also her personal return after a car crash that almost killed her. The record mainly contains original compositions, written through the seasons: “We had to be these beautiful absorbent birds and get to work. I wanted to highlight each month of that.” The compositions on Phoenix are also very consciously written for the qualities of her wonderful guests, especially jazz women who have profoundly influenced her.

There is no doubt that Phoenix represents a great new step for an artist who firmly knows what she wants to say and how to say it, while at the same time paying tribute to her examples and the traditions that have preceded her. In recent weeks, she has more than deservedly appeared on the covers of high-quality magazines such as Downbeat, JazzTimes and The New York Times.

For this live gig, Benjamin will be joined by Zaccai Curtis on keys, drummer Enoch (EJ) Strickland and bassist Ivan Taylor.

Ben LaMar Gay - Hip jazz from Chicago

Cornettist Ben LaMar Gay is like a human kaleidoscope. As a multi-instrumentalist and singer, he blasts through musical boxes and is not averse to social engagement. This places him in the middle of the Chicago jazz renaissance.

He released his second album Open Arms to Open Us on the fascinating jazz label International Anthem, where other gems such as Angel Bat Dawid, Jaimie Branch, Makaya McCraven, Irreversible Entanglements and Alabaster dePlume find their place. Chicago Reader aptly summed up the essence: “International Anthem brings punk idealism to progressive jazz.” For example, the record is very similar to the ground-breaking Impulse! label from the 1960s: top productions, cutting-edge music and a recognizable classy graphic design.

On his record, you can hear influences from jazz to R&B and hip-hop and he seeks an answer to what he can leave behind for “the young people in his life” when it comes to “crumbling down social facades”. He finds the answer in rhythm, “the only authentic thing that travels great distances and survives everything.”

Aftershow: LũpḁGangGang - album release

LũpḁGangGang is a band that opts for a balance between instrumental and vocal, between improvisation and written music. They vacillate between searching and finding. It is best to experience that search live, because the constant enthusiasm and the indomitable energy they get from this, perhaps make the search even more interesting than the finding! Fresh, innovative, naughty and tons of attitude: that's LũpḁGangGang.

At Leuven Jazz, they present their debut album, for which they once again collaborate with Nicolas Rombouts (Dez Mona). In doing so, they bring together their wide range of influences (such as Kamaal Williams, The Breathing Effect, STUFF., Black Midi, etc.), and at the same time continue to build their own sound. The album will be released on Sdban Ultra, not coincidentally also the home of STUFF, Steiger, TaxiWars and De Beren Gieren.


  • 20.00 –21.00 h: Ben LaMar Gay
  • 21.30–22.45 h: Lakecia Benjamin
  • 22.45 h: Aftershow in Foyer- LũpḁGangGang


  • “Lakecia Benjamin is a crafty traditionalist who remains in step with the rhythms of the young generation.” (The New Yorker)
  • “Jazz festivals looking to book a charming performer capable of captivating the masses and appealing to the serious-minded fans need look no further.” (Pollstar)
  • “Striking presence and showmanship” (JazzTimes)
  • "even when Benjamin turns the spotlight to her guests, she’s still surrounding them with music of strength and character, making Phoenix a powerful example of an artist using the tools borrowed from her influences to create her own objet d’art." (The BIG Takeover)
  • "Benjamin’s grandiose comeback is replete with energy, an astonishing fluency, and strong ideas." (★★★★ Jazz trail)

More info

Lakecia Benjamin: Lakecia Benjamin (alt saxophone), Zaccai Curtis (piano), Ivan Taylor (double bass) en EJ Strickland (drums)

Ben LaMar Gay: Ben LaMar Gay (cornet and vocals), Will Faber (guitar), Matthew Davis (keys and tuba), Tommaso Moretti (drums)

LũpḁGangGang: Anton Robberechts (guitar and vocals), Miel De Koninck (keyboard), Lena Thijs (bass and vocals) and Rob Swennen (drums)

View and listen online