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.