Santa Cruz born, Brooklyn based rising saxophone star Ben Flocks has earned critical acclaim with performances at the Bern, Umbria, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. Growing up, Ben took advantage of a multitude of musical opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, attending shows at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center and camp at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, performing with both the SFJAZZ All-Star High School Ensembles and the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Band, and studying with trumpeter and arranger Ray Brown. He has played with Joshua Redman’s Trio and also with Dave Brubeck as a Brubeck Institute Fellow. While strongly influenced by the classic saxophone triumvirate of Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, and John Coltrane, Flocks’s own music reflects a creative mix of jazz, blues, folk, and Americana.
In April 2011, the Ben Flocks Quintet performed to rave reviews opening for Ahmad Jamal at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Ben was invited back to Bern for a weeklong stint at the famed Marian’s Jazzroom in the Fall. In May 2011 Ben graduated from the New School in New York City, earning a B.F.A in Jazz Performance, and during the summer completed a two-year mentorship program at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Ben now serves on faculty at Stanford Jazz in California and at the Calhoun School in New York. He also teaches throughout New York City schools as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People programs. Ben released his debut album “Battle Mountain” on February 11th, 2014 to rave reviews.
Press/ Reviews for Battle Mountain
“★★★★” – “A jovial mix of American musical styles well suited for a ride down Highway 1.” – Downbeat Magazine, Sean J. O’Connell
“★★★“ – “Soulful, heartfelt.“ – The Los Angeles Times, Chris Barton
“A gracious and fluent player…Flocks is simply becoming more of what he’s always been.” – San Jose Mercury News, Richard Scheinin
“A flawless folk-jazz fusion record.” – SomethingElse Reviews, S. Victor Aaron
“He pours himself into the horn and at times approaches that healing sonority I associate with John Coltrane.” – Musically Speaking, Mel Minter
“Replete with the vastness and diversity one would expect from the Golden State.” – Nextbop, Anthony Dean-Harris
“The group walks and breathes together, confidently and with youthful wisdom.” – Candid Music Group, Jonathan Stein
“In a jazz sea positively overflowing with darting and sprinting and flat-out-ferocious young tenor saxophonists, Ben Flocks is one to catch. Ben’s approach is patient, passionate, forthright, kind. He doesn’t dazzle with flurries of notes or overwhelm with a tsunami of technique. But he may yet make some of the widest and longest lasting waves. More importantly, he’s diving deep. Ben’s sound seeks the heart of the matter, the soul of things.” – Joshua Redman
“Ben Flocks is one of the most talented musicians I’ve met. His organic approach to improvising and creative spirit is truly inspiring. Ben plays with a soulfulness and maturity that’s beyond his years and I’m excited to see him continue to develop his voice.” – Donny McCaslin
“It’s not every day that a young badass on their instrument makes an album as unpretentious, genuine, melody-driven, and fun to listen to…one can hear California in the album a mile away.” – Taylor Eigsti
“Your sound and the sound of the band has such a richness to it, and a clear direction and sense of love and respect for each other and the music…really such a joy to listen to, you guys are radiating!” – Julian Lage
“Ben plays with so much feeling and his approach is so folk like. Nothing to prove except the song!” – Matt Wilson