"elevating the diverse sounds of Earth to the heavens" - Pitchfork
"endless depth and unpredictability" -The Guardian
"monk-like approach to music" - Bandcamp
Ben LaMar Gay is a composer/cornetist who moves components of sound, color, and space through folkloric filters to produce brilliant electro-acoustic collages. The unification of various styles is always in service of the narrative and never solely a display of technique. The Chicago native’s true technique is giving life to an idea while exploring and expanding on the term “Americana”.
Active in the vibrant experimental music scene of Chicago, including a three-year residency in Brazil, allows him to collaborate with some influential figures in the world of music. The list includes George Lewis, Itibere Zwarg, Black Monks of Mississippi, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Theo Parrish, Mike Reed, Joshua Abrams, Celso Fonseca, Tomeka Reid, Bixiga 70 and the Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians, to name a few.
Ben received his B.A. from Northeastern Illinois in Music Education. He has shared information as a music instructor in the Chicago Public School system, guest lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a facilitator for 7 years with the Chicago Park District’s Inferno Mobile Recording Studio. The latter helped set the tone for a staple philosophy fueling his musicianship.
A fundamental component of this approach is exploring the lineage of an idea passed from one generation to another.
He aims for his work to have the same functionality as most folktales, which is to create variations on timeless themes to help people make sense of their existence and place in the world.
With the celebrated release of his debut album, “ Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun” and multiple composition commissions, it is clear that Ben LaMar Gay is establishing his place in the creative ecosystem as a unique voice in the world of music. He has received artist residencies from Red Bull Music Academy, The Edgar Miller Legacy Glasner Studios and
Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Accolades include the “2018 3arts Stan Lipkin and Evelyn Appell Lipkin award” and the “2019 John Peel - play more jazz award” from Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM. Ben’s performances and creative projects have been embraced by communities across the globe including the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, France, Poland, Nigeria, Germany, Cuba and more.
His musical influences derive from his collection of experiences in all of the Americas and the gathered data channeled by technology and its amplifying accessibility. The fact that the world is closer via technology and that everyone has access to the possibility of exploring different ideas makes his avant-garde version of “Americana” very global. Embracing global vision while
remaining true to his roots, Ben Lamar Gay’s creative output aligns with the honest notion that he only knows how to be a man from the South side of Chicago.
Previous European dates: WorldWide FM Music Awards London, Uber Jazz Hamburg, So What's Next festival Eindhoven,
Super Sonic Jazz Festival Amsterdam, TransMusicales Rennes, Alien Disko Munich (x2), New Morning Paris
Ben LaMar Gay - Cornet, synth, vocals; Will Faber - Guitar, vocals; Matthew Davis - Tuba, vocals; Tommaso Moretti - Drums
Flies from Chicago
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