Elijah Balbed

       Tier III PelonkStar

       Tier III PelonkStar

Saxophonist-Composer

Saxophonist and composer Elijah Jamal Balbed is a native of Washington, DC currently residing in Queens, NY. Elijah has been named Best Tenor Saxophonist (2013) and Best New Jazz Musician (2010) by the Washington City Paper, and has participated in residencies at the Kennedy Center (Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead), Strathmore, Bohemian Caverns, and most recently a month-long stint at the Jazz at Lincoln Center in Doha, Qatar. Over the last decade, he has established himself as a versatile saxophonist, having performed with artists ranging from Nicholas Payton, Winard Harper, and Cyrus Chestnut, all the way to Lalah Hathaway, Eric Benet, Kirk Whalum, and even the New Orleans jazz/funk legend Dr. John. Elijah is best known for having worked regularly with the late, great, Godfather of Go-Go music, Mr. Chuck Brown for about a year until Chuck’s passing. 

In 2012, Elijah released his debut album "Checking In", the title track awarding him a semi-finalist slot in the International Songwriting Competition (2012). The same song is also used as a jingle on WPFW, the only radio station in DC dedicated to jazz. On International Jazz Day of 2015, Elijah released his second album - an homage to the DC jazz scene and community, this one entitled "Lessons From the Streets". Both albums were named among the best jazz albums their respective years by Capital Bop, the leading jazz publication in DC.

In addition to jazz, Elijah is equally dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Go-Go music (Washington, DC's indigenous style of music). Through working with Mr. Chuck Brown, Elijah developed a passion and love for Go-Go and even has a band dedicated to combining elements Jazz and Go-Go musics called The JoGo Project. The band has been highly acclaimed in DC and the surrounding areas, having performed at venues such as Strathmore, the Kennedy Center, and festivals such as the Funk Parade, H Street Festival, and Art All Night, to name a few. Collaborations have included Frank Sirius, Christie Dashiell, Warren Wolf, Greg Boyer, R&B artist Cecily, tap dancer Joseph Webb, and rapper Javier Starks. This group now maintains a monthly residency at Club Bonafide in NYC, bringing the sound of DC to the Big Apple!

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2016 Artist of the Year
— Washington City Paper
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He is on the Rollins path, the Trane track. His level of maturity on the saxophone and in his solos are nothing short of frightening.
— Giovanni Russonello, Capital Bop on Checking In
Once the city’s Best New Jazz Musician, he’s evolved into the Hardest Working Man in Washington.
— Mike West, Washington City Paper