American cornetist, composer and singer Ben LaMar Gay is one of the most interesting figures on Chicago's exuberantly experimental music scene.
He is affiliated with the progressive label International Anthem along with names such as Irreversible Entanglements, Makaya McCraven and Angel Bat Dawid.
Ben LaMar Gay really brought attention to himself with the critically acclaimed album Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun (2018). The album is both his debut and a compilation of no less than seven albums that he had recorded over the years with various musicians.
Both his debut, the follow-up East of the Ryan (2019) and the latest album Open Arms to Open Us mirror the artist’s eclectic sensibility and all the many genres and styles that he has been been around over the years.
His fragmented electro-acoustic sound collages organically filter time, place, colours and nuances through experimental jazz, funk, hip-hop, Brazilian rhythms and soul vocals. Some tracks sound like Prince chanting over baile funk, others sound more like Chicago jazz with cornet and bass clarinet, and some even takes in footwork and spoken word.
LaMar Gay's all-embracing approach is never haphazard but rather a constant exploration and expansion of concepts of ‘the Pan-American’. An exploration that draws you curiously to LaMar Gay's musical universe.
With his many collaborations and projects over the years, Ben LaMar Gay has played around the United States, South America and Europe. When he visits Roskilde Festival with his quintet, it is the first time he performs on Danish soil.