Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Ben Jansson is quickly becoming a highly sought after tenor saxophonist on the national and international jazz scene. As well as having played in numerous jazz festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Netherlands and the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival Mr. Jansson has played gigs opening up for the Count Basie Orchestra, Eartha Kitt, Dave Brubeck and the late Ray Charles. At the 2006 Detroit International Jazz Festival Ben played the first tenor book with jazz great Diane Schuur and was featured as a soloist throughout the performance. As a leader, Ben fronts his own Quintet featuring stellar New York guitarist and longtime band mate Randy Napoleon. Other members of the Quintet include the great pianist Rick Roe, bassist Paul Keller and Drummer Pete Siers. The Ben Jansson Quintet recently recorded live at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan and will be releasing its first CD in the spring of 2007 on the PKO record label. Ben’s playing is Straight-ahead, a mix of fiery bebop and lyrical west coast cool. Originality and the spirit of jazz are at the heart of Ben’s playing. He has recorded and composed several of his original compositions and arrangements.
Beginning on the Alto saxophone Ben switched over to tenor sax at the age of sixteen while attending Community High School in Ann Arbor, MI and studying with multi-instrumentalist and jazz educator Mike Grace. At this time Ben also began to study with Detroit’s legendary saxophonist George Benson and while still in high school Mr. Benson invited Ben to sit in with his quartet at the Botsford Inn Jazz festival in Detroit. In 1996 Ben moved to Toronto, Canada to begin studying exclusively with renowned jazz saxophonist Pat Labarbera at Humber College. While in Toronto Ben played with many of Canada’s finest jazz musicians including: Pat Labarbera, Don Thompson, Phil Dwyer, Jake Wilkinson, Josh Brown, Mike Murley, Kevin Turcotte, Alex Dean and Bernie Senensky.
In 2003 Ben moved back to the Detroit area and has been steadily moving up in popularity and demand among musicians and audiences who like uncompromising, soulful, swinging music. Besides playing jazz Ben is also in demand in other genres, playing R & B gigs, blues, rock and bringing to it all the skills of a highly proficient musician. Most recently Ben played saxophone and backed up Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul and extraordinary vocalist Patti Labelle on stage at Joe Louis arena for a sold out show. Some of the other great musicians in the Detroit area Ben is currently playing with are: Johnny Trudell, Rob Smith, Vincent Chandler, James Dapogny, Chris Smith, Rick Roe, Rodney Whitaker and Scott Gwinnell. Ben continues to impress audiences and musicians alike wherever he plays, bringing a warm, boisterous sound, lyrical flowing ideas and fluent technique to the forefront.