GRAMMY-nominated alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin makes her live album debut with Phoenix Reimagined (Live), her first live studio album and follow-up to 2023’s critically acclaimed Phoenix.

The Washington Heights native has been enjoying much-deserved success with recent appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert back in May and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert in June in honour of Black Music Month.

The live album comes at a time in Benjamin’s musical future was in jeopardy. In 2021, she was involved in a car accident which broke her jaw, shoulder blade and ribs, and ruptured an eardrum, among other wounds. What was seen as a potential career-ending injury turned into an opportunity of resilience and deep inspiration.

“I don’t think about the accident anymore. Some people might see my shows now as a victory lap, because inspiration comes in multiple forms,” Benjamin says, “but I really feel I’m still learning. I’m trying to get uncomfortable. I’m trying to grow. I’m trying to play better.”

Phoenix Reimagined (Live) was recorded at Brooklyn’s Bunker Studios which includes a clientele of artists such as Chris Potter, Justine Skye, Lake Street Drive, The Black Keys, Cecile McLorin Salvant and more. The album focuses on the music of Phoenix along with three brand new tracks exclusive to the project.

Benjamin’s intention for the album was to create what she describes as a “vibrant together-ness” between her and the live listeners.

“I was like, you know what? Let’s celebrate life. Let’s celebrate everything. I’m going to invite everybody to this studio,” Benjamin recalls with a chuckle. “The studio personnel were lucky I didn’t just open the door!” The atmosphere took the saxophonist back to her earliest years hitting the NYC jam-session scene: the heat, the camaraderie, the competition, the hard-earned lessons. “It just reminded me why I love music,” she says.

Phoenix Reimagined (Live) comes out on July 12, 2024, via Ropeadope.