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Sunday, May 1st, 2011
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.
Born in NY, and originally classically trained, he studied piano and composition at the University of Michigan and Berklee College of Music, and later with legendary jazz mentors Barry Harris and Charlie Banacos.
Berman has been the recipient of several artist grants and awards for his ongoing work in jazz education. His music was the subject of recent programs on 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.
His work has received special features on jazz radio stations KCSM in San Francisco, WEMU in Michigan, 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.
Ken’s latest 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 the classic trios of Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, and Bill Evans, while at the same time maintaining a unique and inimitable sound.
Reviewing Ken Berman’s 2006 CD “In Mind” for The L.A. Jazz Scene, jazz critic 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 & thoughtful, spontaneous & purposeful.”
The SF Weekly described Berman’s music as “contemplative jazz, gentle but without a trace of fluff or artifice,” and the great French newspaper Le Monde praised him as a “fluid and erudite” jazz performer and composer whose “complex improvisations are imbued with delicate sensuality and brilliance.”
In Mind was rated one of the top 15 jazz releases of 2006 on the Jazz with Bob Parlocha website. Ken is currently on the music faculty at the University of California Berkeley and teaches at Stanford University.