Saxophonist Casey Benjamin, who played with Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé, dies aged 46

Saxophonist Casey Benjamin, who played with Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé, dies aged 46

Renowned artist Casey Benjamin has died at the age of 46. He was known for his talents on the saxophone and vocoder with The Robert Glasper Experiment.

He was also known for touring and working with US music heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Q-Tip, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, DJ Logic, Mary J. Blige, Kanye ‘Ye’ West, and many more.

No cause of death has been specified yet.

Born in Queens, New York, in 1978, Benjamin began playing saxophone aged eight and studied at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts before enrolling at the New School. While there, he met Robert Glasper, with whom he went on to form The Robert Glasper Experiment.

The outfit - comprised of Robert Glasper (keys, piano, synths), Derrick Hodge (bass), Chris Dave (drums), and Casey Benjamin (vocoder, flute, saxophone, synths) - won a Grammy Award for Best R&B album for 2012's 'Black Radio', which featured guest appearances by the likes of Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco and Bilal.

The Experiment’s follow-up album, ‘Black Radio 2’, won them the Best Traditional R&B Performance Grammy in 2015 thanks to the track ‘Jesus Children of America’ - a recreation of Stevie Wonder‘s song.

Fans and musicians have taken to social media to pay tribute to Benjamin.

Robert Glasper Experiment bassist Derrick Hodge wrote in an emotional Instagram post: “Tonight, I honor a brother. Casey Benjamin, thank you for inspiring me, for being a light in my life, and for your unbelievable influence on the music world. I will carry your smile with me, brother. And we will collectively honor and carry your legacy with us.”

Hodge added: “Can’t get my words together at this moment but will echo a few of my last words to you: I’m thankful for you and love you always! Rest well, King.”

Living Colour‘s Vernon Reid, took to X to call Benjamin’s passing a “brutal & terrible shock”.

He wrote: “My sincerest condolences go out to my YoHimBe Brother on this day of revelation. I’m in a weird place with it. Too young! Too soon! So much left to give! Rest. In. Power, CB!”

Lupe Fiasco wrote on Instagram: “Rest In Peace Casey Benjamin. I can’t even begin to express the deep gratitude and respect. My deepest condolences to the family, fans and friends. ”

Another touching tribute came from The Roots’ Questlove.

“I know I bitch about the state of music we’re in with snide remarks but I also love giving credit to where it is due,” Questlove added, “Just sad to give another bouquet of flowers to a talented gracious amazing creative soul and human being who left the plane before I got to record in the studio with him or before I got a chance to tell him just one more time how mind blowing his work was.”

Casey Benjamin - 1978-2024