Live music is in full swing at the Culver Hotel after an enforced break for obvious reasons. The likes of Scotty Bramer Solo and Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys are performing there this week, as is saxophonist Ben Flocks who spoke to the CCN about what we can expect, and much more.
When did you start playing music, and when did it get serious?
I grew up in Santa Cruz and started playing the saxophone in fourth grade. I found my passion for music starting in middle school when I met other musicians around my age and began learning from inspirational musical mentors around my community who were all deeply creative and driven who shared the joys of music with me. I started listening to records non-stop and attended live concerts as much as possible, and soon after I fell in love with jazz, improvisation, and creative musical expression.
Describe your sound…
I strive to sound like myself. As a saxophonist, I pursue a sound that emulates the human voice. I also find inspiration for my sound in the beauty of nature. I listen to a lot of vocalists, lyrical saxophonists and I emulate qualities in their sounds to help create and mold my own. I also seek a sound that is pleasing, melodic, and expressive for the enjoyment of my listeners and audiences.
What are your career highlights so far?
I had the incredible honor to perform on a few occasions with the legendary pianist Dave Brubeck while studying in college as a Brubeck Institute Fellow. I’ve performed around the U.S. and in Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, and more. I recently earned a Masters Degree in Music Education and my goal is to continue performing and creating my own music while inspiring the next generation of young musicians to love music as much as I do and to share music with their communities.
Do you have any recorded music available?
I have released two albums under my own name entitled Battle Mountain (2014) and Mask of the Muse (2019) both available wherever you listen to music. I’ve also recorded on a dozen or so records with my musical peers, including on recordings from incredible pianist Javier Santiago who I plan to feature in my group at the Culver Hotel.
Have you performed at the Culver Hotel before?
I performed at the Culver Hotel years ago as a guest and I remember I was struck by the timeless beauty of the space and the romantic vibe in the room. I really look forward to bringing my own group to such a classic venue as the Culver Hotel.
What can we expect from the set this time?
In October I’m performing in a duo setting with some of my favorite musicians in the world. A brilliant pianist and friend Ted Case is joining me on Friday, Oct. 7. I enjoy playing songs from composers like Ellington, Strayhorn, Monk, and Jobim. Expect to hear blues, ballads, boleros, bossa nova, and other beautiful melodies both familiar and lesser-known. Y
What else do you have coming up?
I’m fairly new to Los Angeles after living in NYC for eleven years. In addition to the 7th and the 22nd at the Culver Hotel, I’m planning other performances with my own group around LA including two later this month nearby at the Wellesbourne on Oct. 11 and 18. Please keep in touch via my website and social media for up to date news and gig announcements.