Driven by a wide-ranging musical curiosity, Brooklyn-based saxophonist / multi-instrumentalist/ composer Mercedes Beckman is committed to capturing soundscapes that traverses an unexplored world of emotion, philosophy, and imagination. This has led her to perform a variety of styles, from straight-ahead and modern jazz (her main foci) to avant-garde and contemporary music, Brasilian choro fusion, classical, indie-rock, Afro-Cuban, Peruvian music, and more.
Mercedes has performed with a range of ensembles at the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Smalls, NJPAC, the Apollo theatre, Zinc Bar, DROM, WhyNot Jazz Club, Tomi Jazz, Iridium, Swing 46, NUBLU, the Garage and more (Manhattan); Catalina’s Jazz Club (LA), Williamsburg Music Center, Shapeshifter Lab (Brooklyn), ArtKafe (Portugal), the Lincolnville Jazz Festival with Doug Carn (FL), and the North Sea Jazz Club in the Netherlands. Mercedes has been fortunate enough to share the bandstand with Marcus Printup, Eddie Allen, Ingrid Jensen, Christian McBride, Joe Magnarelli, Don Braden, Diane Schuur, members of the Count Basie Orchestra, and more.
A synesthetic who developed perfect pitch at age 19, Mercedes was mentored by jazz master Bunky Green at the University of North Florida and then went on to complete her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with the great artists John Riley, Donny McCaslin, Rich Perry, Phil Markowitz, and the late Joe Temperley.
Mercedes recently completed a tour throughout Mexico with the Marcus Printup Quintet as well as a tour in Canada with local musicians.
Mercedes is also very active as an educator; she substitutes for the jazz and classical faculty at Manhattan School of Music Pre-college program, maintains a private studio, and gives guest masterclasses. She is currently working on launching her Women through the Ages project, which translates personal stories into musical events that examine social inequity throughout history.
Mercedes uses Vandoren mouthpieces, ligatures, and reeds.