In Memory of Josh Benko:
December 29, 1972 - December 6, 2016

Josh Benko touched many people through his love of music and quality of character. His way of playing the alto saxophone was deeply personal, coming from profound and uncompromising honesty. Josh was thought of as an old soul whose genuine smile and love for jazz will always be remembered by his community and all who heard his horn.

As stated by his musical comrade Dwayne Clemons, "Josh had a rare gift to convey music with sheer effect and emotion, not in a sentimental way but as a mere matter of fact." In addition to his gifted talent, Josh was one of the best repair technicians and generously donated much of his time in helping repair horns through the Jazz Foundation of America in NYC.

Josh's Dad Kenny and his Wife Jessica have established the Josh Benko Repair Fund at the Jazz Foundation to raise funds so that we can continue assisting musicians with their instrument repairs.

Josh's musical career began at age 15 busking in the subways of Toronto with his high school Bundy horn. Before long, Josh convinced his parents to co-sign on a 3K Selmer. Everyday after school, Josh would head down to the Yonge Street subway station to earn enough money to pay for his new horn. Josh would arrive home thrilled about how many people stopped to listen to his horn playing.

As his love for jazz continued he began private study for many years with some of the best saxophone teachers, including tenor maestro Pat LaBarbera and the great Bob Mover. The Josh Benko Quartet was regularly heard at the city's premier jazz venues.

Josh moved to New York City in 2002 to further his musical talents. Beginning in 2003, he had been featured weekly with Dwayne Clemons, at Small's Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, and co-led extended engagements throughout the city as well. In November 2014, a CD was recorded live and produced by Spike Wilner and Dwayne Clemons, on the Small's label featuring Josh Benko, Dwayne Clemons, Sacha Perry, Murray Wall, Jimmy Wormworth and John Roche.

Josh Benko died on December 6, 2016, 23 days short of his 44th birthday due to a heroin overdose. His passion for jazz, his family, his friends and his dog Lola will always be part of his legacy. Josh had a talent for turning a dim moment bright, and musically was a very personal player because he was a personal kind of guy. Thank you, Josh, for expanding the horizons for many and giving us an opportunity to feel your soul through your music.

To contribute to the Josh Benko Repair Fund fund, please donate online using the form below or send a check payable to "Jazz Foundation of America" to Jazz Foundation of America, 322 West 48th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10036 with the memo "Josh Benko Repair Fund."

Jazz Foundation of America · 322 West 48th Street, 6th Floor · New York, NY 10036 · (212)245-3999 ·
Privacy Policy/SiteCredits · Donate · Site by Constructive