Though LUISITO BENJAMIN mastered the saxophone, clarinet, flute and strings and was a prolific composer, arranger and musical director, he is best-known as a pianist.
Son of the Puerto Rican musician Adrián Benjamín and (), Luisito, was born on December 4, 1923, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Thanks to their encouragement, he studied woodwinds, brass, and strings at an early age. Also, he was a member of Los Caribbean Kids, and Ritmo del Sur. Also, between 1940 and 1943, Luisito served as a saxophonist for Ralph Sanchez’s orchestra.
At eighteen Luisito was drafted and led an orchestra that entertained the troops at Fort Brook in San Juan and other areas of the Caribbean.
After the military, Luisito settled in San Juan. In 1944, he worked with Pepito Torres and his Siboney Orchestra. Later, at Jack’s Club in Santurce, Luisito met musical director César Concepción. In 1947 Concepción hired Luisito as a saxophonist. Shortly after, he recognized his talent and entrusted Luisito with the orchestra’s arrangements.
Luisito worked with Cesar Concepción in Puerto Rico and the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. He also performed with orchestras led by Noro Morales, Xavier Cugat, and Machito. In December 1949, Miguelito Valdés recruited Luisito to inaugurate the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico. Five years later, he joined Lito Peña and Berto Torres and co-founded the Pan-American Orchestra.
Luisito Benjamín also appeared on various radio and television programs and was singer-songwriter Bobby Capo’s favorite musical accompanists.
Luisito’s mastery led to a recording contract with the Casa Balseiro label. Backed by Juan Bajanda on bass and Tony Sánchez on drums, Benjamín presented several volumes of Puerto Rican music released under Luisito Benjam with Rhythm – All Time Favorites of Puerto Rico Volumes 1 and 2,  whose repertoires paid tribute to Puerto Rico’s finest composers. Later Luisito recorded Polito Galindez, Luisito Benjamin y su Orquesta de Aleli, Canciones Favoritas de Rafael Hernández and Luisito Benjamin Y su Trio Recordando La Orquesta Casino de La Playa.
In 1967, Luisito produced the album Luisito Benjamín and his Piano, featuring compositions by Tito Henríquez, Plácido Acevedo, Agustín Lara, and Miguelito Valdés, among others.
In Warren R. Pinckney Jr.’s thesis titled Puerto Rican Jazz and the Incorporation of Folk Music: An Analysis of New Musical Directions (2018), he cites the Portuguese saxophonist Charlie Rodrigues and pianist Luisito Benjamin as “among the most outstanding modern jazz musicians in Puerto Rico.” It is worth noting that Luisito and many of his contemporaries played a significant role in Puerto Rico’s “Golden Age of Music” (1960 to the mid-80s) when the island was widely considered the “Entertainment Capital of the Caribbean.”
A humble man with a pleasant demeanor, Luisito Benjamín entered immortality on July 13, 1988, at 64. 
Thankfully, many of Luisito works are available in digital, CD and LP formats. Luisito Benjamin and his Piano is available on Amazon.com and most digital platforms. Also, All Time Favorites of Puerto Rico Vol.2 is available on eBay in LP format and Recordando La Orquesta Casino de La Playa is available in LP format at Discogs.com.
Luisto Benjamin Discography – Discogs.com
Pinckney, R. Warren – Puerto Rican Jazz and the Incorporation of Folk Music: An Analysis of New Musical Directions (2018)
Santiago, Javier – Luisito Benjamin (Fundacion Nacional para la Popular)
A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Editor-in-Chief Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject. His writing appears on Latin Jazz Network; Chamber Music America magazine and numerous other publications.


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