“a collection of lush, iconoclastic arrangements and distinct vocals that make for a unique marriage. The team combines samba, waltz and pop arrangements by Kaplan (on guitar) with additional lyrics by Figueiredo. The music’s charm is in its dramatic delivery and its evocation of Tropicalia.” By Denise Sullivan (Downbeat Magazine)
"Chorando Sete Cores is a testament to Kaplan's skills as a composer, orchestrator, and musical visionary of exquisite taste, all wrapped up in the passion and style of Brazil." - Geaninne Reid
"A guitar player with impeccable technique and fluency. Meditacoes no Violao (guitar meditations) is a collection of poetic and refined compositions, played with a perfect balance of intellect and emotion".
"A musical experience to treasure – beautiful works immaculately performed and rich in creativity" - Grady Harp
Radio interview w my dear friend and songwriting partner Makely Ka and Radio host Waleska Falci for her program Almanaque as part of Radio Inconfidência
Feature on former Globo journalist,
"...it’s this exact rare combination of colors that sound so exquisite, daring and adventurous...A chamber ensemble of the highest order, their natural affinity for ear-pleasing rhythmic excursions never falters..."
"Painting images with their notes, passages of horns catapult the bouncy excursion that intermingle calmness and exuberance, proficiently bringing forth a sense of joy and whimsical play. A true accomplishment for Kaplan, cementing him in the role of composer, visionary, and orator of stories set to music."
Interview with Baruch Zeichner on "Paradigms" 3/25/18
Interview with Luiz Fernando Freitas/
Federal University of Minas Gerais,
Radio interview with:TV Cultura on the program "De Volta pra Casa" - 2/28/18 (Most important public broadcasting TV Network in São Paulo, Brazil)
"This is as close as you’ll get to musical champagne and I have a feeling that Nazareth, Villa-Lobos, Baden Powell and Guinga would (have) whole heartedly approved" - Raul da Gama
"A true ambassador of Brazilian music in New York" - Marcelo Petti
"The whole album (Chorando Sete Cores) is full of unexpected sonic solutions, conduits, deltas and estuaries, which lead to unexplored paths, without any clichés."
- (Brazilian journalist & music critic) Tárik de Souza
"A journey through NYC, by way of compositions that mix brazilian, jazz and classical music. It is in this way that New York composer and guitarist Benji Kaplan constructs a self-portrait of his influences and his life on the album "Crying Seven Colors"
Interview w Jassvan de Lima and Augusto Ghiotto on Som do Brasil Radio in NYC at Columbia University. 4/18
What draws most attention in Benji's album, is certainly the fact that he has put his classical notions in a place of Brazilian music. The musician, created, produced and recorded songs with references of national Brazilian styles such as maracatu, samba, baião, choro, bolero and maxixe.
"Kaplan is a visionary composer. This music provides a consistent thread that we can enjoy, come back to and recommend for years to come. The music is varied in color and style, the result is pure musical pleasure."
"A winner throughout, this is the tonic jaded ears have been asking for."
-Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"A tour de force of lights, vibrations and enchanting sounds...With Benji Kaplan, it's a bit like Erik Satie was landing in Rio carnival. At such a level of musical confrontation, it is clear that the latest album of this prodigy is worth listening to. Born in Brooklyn from the works of a Cuban father of Russian Jewish descent and an Austrian Jewish mother, Benji Kaplan combines New York, Central European, Latino and Brazilian cultures, resulting in a rich blend of sounds and colors."
- François Becquart
"His contemporary tinted music contains different patterns, subject to many moods and stories. Playful, yet deep."
"This type of ensemble allows Kaplan's arrangements to thrive on endless counterpoints while maintaining a small, intimate feel. It's about feelings and textures and the celebration of beauty... If you take the time to hear these musicians have an enthralling conversation, you'll want to sit in" - Marc Philips
"...(Chorando Sete Cores) is an enchanting and vibrant album of lovely jazz originals with a story to tell...
perfect for jazz fans who figure they have heard it all."
Radio interview w Gene de Souza for his weekly radio program Café Brasil on 6/24/18
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - 9/16/16
"Long fascinated with the multicolored music of Brazil, Kaplan composes music that mixes together jazz, samba, classical and forro, along with his acoustic guitar and pensive vocals".
By Mark S. Tucker, Journalist
"...what the whimsical Dr. Seuss might’ve composed, had he been a musician and ridiculously talented at it…
the degree of intelligence sunk into the deepest corners of every beat and measure of this treasure tells us that no matter what his pursuit might otherwise have been, the result would’ve been simultaneously unearthly while uniquely terran.
the listener is always in a wonderful and wonderfully intelligent new clime, cut after cut. As I start to tabulate discs for the year’s-end Best Of, this is already in the top ranks of the list. It’s that thoroughly unique and arresting. Expect Danny Elfman to flip out when he hears it"
Veritas Vampirus - 9/9/16
"A whimsical take on the Brazilian musical landscape.
...Uai Sô has a quality that is hard to categorize and features a lush woodwind ensemble behind Kaplan's voice and acoustic guitar.
...If you didn't know any better you might reasonably assume that this collection of contemporary Brazilian music is the work of a native of that country..."
"Kaplan’s latest foray is into the world of Brazilian-inflected chamber jazz with an album titled Uai Sô coming out in September. For a bebop jazz guitarist, it’s a surprising, intricately constructed album, very carefully composed. Considering the album is full of bassoon, it’s worth swinging by the East Village’s Nublu just to see how he’s set up"
WRUV Reviews - 7/11/16
"Composer, lead vocalist, & jazz guitarist Kaplan, from NYC, indulges his passion for highly artistic Brazilian musical traditions, with skillfully creative theatrical-sounding offerings in the spirit of Hermeto Pascoal & the like. Gorgeous, fascinating arrangements."
"Mr. Kaplan packs a lot of emotion into each piece… you will find yourself coming back again & again for inspiration. Keep your ears on this young cat – you’ll be hearing more from him, I assure you! - Dick Metcalf
news paper O Tempo - BH Brazil - 11/26/2014
news paper O Estado de Minas - BH Brazil - 11/26/2014
The Jazz Word Review
"... an exquisite representation of the harmonies and rhythms of Brazilian music
mixed with jazz and modern classical guitar techniques"
MIDWEST RECORD REVIEW
"A new york kid with brazil in his blood and what appears to be a lightning mind"
"Kaplan’s virtuosic abilities not only are lent in his opulent playing, but in his keen sense of idyllic writing. His ability to convey picturesque music with pastoral visionary is the key element of success to this winning album of collective mastery. A vast step forward in his ever-growing discography and one that catapults him to the next level. Highly recommended."
“A Trickster’s Bolero” showcases Kaplan’s mastery of ensemble color and composition skills. The interaction between the woodwinds and Kaplan’s guitar is spectacular."
Midwest Book Review
(music cd shelf) - 10/11/16
"Uai So is a music album by talented composer and guitarist Benji Kaplan celebrating Brazil's rich musical potpourri. Kaplan's Portuguese vocals combine with elements of jazz, samba, forro, and classical Brazilian heritage, in this wonderful expression of a vibrant land and its resilient people. Uai So is a pleasure to listen to, enthusiastically recommended for world music collections."
Jazz Weekly - 9/29/16
“Benji Kaplan presents 12 of his pieces with full arrangements in bands of various sizes which mix old world sounds and harmonies with complex angles. Lovely strings blend with voices on “Ceu Alberto” and things get quite artsy for Kaplan’s singing as its accompanied by clarinets, flutes and strings on “A Gente Se Manifesta.” Sophisticated yet sensuous.”
"An astoundingly gorgeous musical landscape...Rita's intensity of spirit might seem to be an odd mix with Benji's understated complexity but it's quite a logical fit. You really can't do better than these two when it comes to current players of this genre". - Aaron Carnes
Latina - Monthly Brazilian Magazine/Journal - March Edition
World Music Report - 7/9/17
"Kaplan’s idiosyncratic and exploratory style, thematically challenging and boldly expressive. We can understand readily enough why Guinga found so much to admire in this composer’s music. This is actually a bigger deal than could ever be imagined or expressed in a five-hundred-or-so (word) review. Benji Kaplan’s “Amargura e Doçura” is truly special, not the least because of its lyrics by Rita Figueiredo (Kaplan’s wife). Its melodic and harmonic character possesses immense energy requiring virtuosic gestures both difficult and intricate from every performer and deeply emotional delivery of the lyric by Benji Kaplan, whose performance infectiously realises both great virtuosity and credible emotion and lyricism to the generously proportioned melody"
gapplegate music review - 10/19/2016
Benji Kaplan's "Uai Sô" is so unexpected that it cannot be pigeonholed. Not at all.The music flows beautifully and oscillates between Brazilian song and new classical so rapidly as to truly meld together as one unprecedented newness...Honestly this one is so well fabricated and substantial as to get me reeling with surprise and delight...This fellow is something else! Something else!
"Benji Kaplan: From New York to the heart of the most contemporary Brazil"