b. Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Berkman began playing piano while still at school, taking an interest in jazz as a result of parental prompting. He later studied at the Berklee College Of Music and at the University of Michigan. After this, he gigged around his home town for a while and then, in 1985, he relocated to New York City. There, he was noted for his work as pianist in bands led by Tom Harrell, Cecil McBee and others, and he was also a member of the house band at the Village Vanguard. Among many artists with whom he has worked, either as pianist or arranger or both, are trumpeter Scott Wendholt, saxophonists Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes and Vincent Herring, Lisa Michel and Dakota Staton. He has also played with drummer Matt Wilson, through whom he began recording for Palmetto Records. Although still chiefly known in and around the New York club and recording scene, owing to his late 90s albums, Berkman’s swinging contemporary style began attracting worldwide attention. On his own name recordings, Berkman has used noted sidemen, among who are Harrell, Steve Wilson, bass player Ugonna Okegwo, and Brian Blade. In addition to his fine post-bop playing, Berkman is also an accomplished arranger and composer.
Share this page