Trombonist - Tubist - Composer - Arranger - Educator - Band Leader
Trombonist, Tubist, composer, arranger, educator, and band-leader, Gina Benalcazar is an up and coming Jazz Bass Trombonist who was born and raised in Queens, New York. Now one of New York city’s most on-call doublers, Gina is taking the scene over by storm.
Picking up the trombone at the age of 17, she began as a classical Bass Trombonist, studying with the Jacksonville Symphony's own, Louis Bremer. But soon after being immersed in UNF's prestigious jazz department she realized her voice was better represented as a jazz trombonist, and she switched her degree from Classical Bass Trombone Performance to Jazz Trombone Studies late in her degree. Being a Bass Trombonist presented it's own difficulties, being the only instrument in a Jazz Band setting not typically considered a jazz instrument, and not typically expected to improvise. Her music was elevated when she sought out the guidance of Michigan State University's Michael Dease, to help her understand what Jazz Bass Trombone could be, and understand the jazz idiom in a way she had never done before.
Following the mentorship of instructors like Michael Dease, Rodney Whitaker, Etienne Charles, Diego Rivera, and Randy Napoleon, she moved back to her home state of New York and is currently living as a freelancer. She can be heard playing with different groups at known venues such as Minton’s Harlem, 55 Bar, Smalls, Zinc Bar, the Village Vanguard, Littlefield, National Sawdust, Swing 46, Birdland, and more. She has also performed with artists such as Rodney Whitaker, Randy Napoleon, Anat Cohen, Freddie Cole, Ulysses Owens Jr, Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Michael Dease, Etienne Charles, and Chris Potter.
She is also the Bass Trombonist for the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra in Orlando, Florida, under the direction of Rodney Whitaker, as well as a Tenor Trombonist for Ulysses S. Owen Jr.'s New Century Big Band and a frequent sub for the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Christian McBride Big Band, and the Birdland Big Band. She is also a band-leader who's quartet frequents jazz clubs in the boroughs.
Gina has also had the opportunity to record with groups such as the Mica Bethea big band, releasing the albums “The Mica Bethea Big Band” and “Suite Theory", Michael Dease’s “Bonifide", and is credited as an arranger on one track on Michael Dease’s album, "Reaching Out.” She is also planning to record her first album as a leader under the label NSF Records in Jacksonville Florida as well as recording again with her quartet with NSF Records in the Fall of 2019.
She will also be part of the Faculty of festival known as Trombonanza in Santa Fe, Argentina, as well as the Festival de Musica Ensambles in Lima, Peru for 2019.