Born: September 14 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist and composer Ken Berman has performed and recorded with Bob Moses, Yoron Israel, Kai Eckhardt, Akira Tana, John Lockwood, Bob Gullotti, Rémi Vignolo, Jaleel Shaw, Sarah Manning, Take Toriyama and others: he has appeared on the famed stages of Carnegie Hall in New York, Yoshi's in San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Detroit's Fox Theater, and The Sunside in Paris. Ken has been the recipient of several artist grants and awards for his ongoing work in jazz education. His music has been the subject of programs on radio stations KCSM in San Francisco, KPFA in Berkeley, and on KZSU at Stanford University, where his playing drew comparisons with Bill Evans, Ramsey Lewis and Keith Jarrett. Over the years, his work has received special features on jazz radio stations KCSM in San Francisco, WGBH in Boston, WFMT in Chicago, and WEMU in Michigan, and has been playlisted on jazz radio stations in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The French newspaper Le Monde hailed Mr. Berman as a “fluid and erudite” composer and performer whose “complex improvisations are imbued with delicate sensuality and brilliance.”
Born in New York City but with roots stretching from New York and Boston to Detroit to San Francisco, Mr. Berman entered and won classical competitions at an early age before fully turning to jazz. He studied piano and composition at the University of Michigan and Berklee College of Music, and improvisation with legendary jazz mentors Barry Harris and Charlie Banacos.
Reviewing Ken Berman’s 2006 CD In Mind (featuring John Lockwood, Yoron Israel, and Bob Gullotti) for The L.A. Jazz Scene, jazz critic and historian Scott Yanow writes: “When listening to Ken Berman's trio CD In Mind, it is easy to think of Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, for Berman's chord voicings and his close interplay with his sidemen recall the work of his two predecessors. The difference is that Berman wrote all ten selections, he never copies Evans or Jarrett, and at times he sounds more advanced than either of them. The music overall is both swinging and thoughtful, spontaneous and purposeful ...and easily recommended.” In Mind was rated one of the top 15 jazz releases of 2006 on the Jazz with Bob Parlocha website. In 2006, Le Monde continued to praise Mr. Berman as precise and inventive, and the talk of the town in the clubs of the European capital of jazz.
Ken Berman's new release Looking Forward(2010), features a dynamic trio including bass virtuouso Kai Eckhardt and the critically acclaimed Akira Tana on drums, performing a set of extraordinary original compositions that bring to mind those classic trios of Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Evans, while at the same time maintaining his completely unique and inimitable sound.
Ken is currently on the music faculty at the University of California at Berkeley and lectures on music at Stanford University.
“Gifted with a very fine touch and a state-of-the-art technique,” Ken Berman composes “very cool jazz, not at all cerebral, and extremely well-played.” -CitizenJazz.com
“Ken Berman, a harmonically inventive pianist, is a promising new addition to the Bay Area jazz scene.” -JazzWest.com
“The fluid and erudite American artist Ken Berman, whose latest album, The Ken Berman Trio combines a complex range of improvisation with delicate sensuality and brilliance.” -Le Monde
“Composer Ken Berman is sometimes compared to Keith Jarrett; that's a compliment. But the Ken Berman Trio's music makes us think more of drinking strong tea in the avenues on a socked-in foggy day than of any particular compere the local music prof may have. It's contemplative jazz, gentle but without a trace of fluff or artifice.” -SF Weekly
Tracks: Sailing To Byzantium; Peace Now; The Bard Flies; Reflections; Looking Forward; Délie; April Fools; Pot Hole Road Rage.
Personnel: Ken Berman (piano), Kai Eckhardt (electric bass), Akira Tana (drums).
Tracks: In Mind; Too Early; It's Over; Be Frank; California French Pastry; 2031 Lincoln; MRI; The Fix; Borrowed Silver; KO OK.
Personnel: Ken Berman (piano), John Lockwood (bass), Yoron Israel (drums), Bob Gullotti (drums).
Ken Berman Trio
Tracks: Tones For Lou; Vita Brevis; But Not For Me; Diz's Song; Blues For T; The Nearness Of You; Lotus Blossom.
Personnel: Ken Berman (piano), Ippei Ichimaru (bass), Miki Matsuki (drums). As a Sideman
Tracks: Dreaming; On My Way Home; Smile; Baby, Baby; Blue Skies/In Walked Bud; Tinkerbell; Straighten-up and Fly Right; Can't Buy Me Love; G-Bop; Stardust; One By One.
Personnel: Grace Kelly (alto sax/vocals), Ken Berman (piano), John Lockwood (bass), Jordan Perlson (drums), Doug Johnson (piano), Guy Goodwin (drums), David Eure (violin).
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San Francisco, CA
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Music Faculty - University of California, Berkeley: Lecturer - Stanford University Jazz Band Director - Bentley School, Oakland, CA: Music Director - Driscoll School (8yrs): Affiliated with: Bentley School, Berkwood Hedge, Calhoun, Chapin, Horace-Mann,Columbia Grammar and Pre, St. David's, and Trinity: Accepts a limited number of qualified students each year. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information