Adam Benjamin, M.F.A.

Assistant Professor, Jazz Piano, Jazz & Improvisational Music
Adam Benjamin

Contact Information

Biography

Adam Benjamin is a Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed pianist, keyboardist, composer and writer based in New Orleans. Recognized as a "Rising Star in Jazz" in DownBeat magazine's critic's and reader's polls for six years running, his unmistakable sound crosses stylistic boundaries and challenges traditional notions of jazz. Adam maintains a humble and humorous approach that connects him with his audiences worldwide.

Adam is a founding member of Kneebody, an electric quintet widely recognized as one of the most unique ensembles in jazz today. Kneebody's debut recording as Concord Records recording artists, titled The Line, is set for release in September 2013. Kneebody's 2009 Grammy-nominated release, 12 Songs of Charles Ives, is a radical reinvention of the songs of Charles Ives in collaboration with singer Theo Bleckmann (Winter and Winter, 2009). You Can Have Your Moment(Winter and Winter, 2010) is the fourth full-length album from the "spontaneous and exciting" (DownBeat) "freakishly talented quintet" (All About Jazz).

Adam's latest solo piano album, Alphabets and Consequences (f.Boo Records, 2010) is a unique series of improvised miniatures that transform familiar jazz and folk melodies into quirky impressionist etudes bursting with both humor and gravity. This follows Long Gone (Kind of Blue, 2008) and his notorious 2007 self-release It's a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World, which captures 37 jazz standards through the lens of Garageband 1.0 technology. Dave Douglas noted this unprecedented work as a "majestic tour de force" and Ralph Alessi called it "the perfect blend of enjoyable music and side-splitting laughter."

He has toured and recorded extensively with Dave Douglas' electric band, Keystone, including 2010 world tours debuting Spark of Being, a collaborative work with filmmaker Bill Morrison. Adam's contribution is central to the Keystone albums Live in Sweden (Greenleaf, 2006) and Moonshine (Greenleaf, 2008). 2011 saw the debut release from his introspective Americana project Red Oak Duo (f.boo Music, 2011). Another new project, Go Shlomo! (F.boo Music, 2013) combines monastic and hippodromic influences in a avant-Sephardic jazz noir escapade.

Adam has also performed, collaborated and toured with artists as varied as Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, So Percussion, Joshua Redman, and Beck, and has contributed to many film scores, including co-writing the score to John Krasinski's 2009 adaptation of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. He has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and North Sea Jazz Festival, and has been a guest lecturer and faculty at Stanford University, the Banff International Jazz Workshop, CalArts, University of Southern California, and the School for Improvisational Music. In 2013, Adam was appointed as Professor of the Practice of Jazz Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.

Relevant Links

Alphabets & Consequences
Alphabets & Consequences
by Adam Benjamin
2010, F.Boo Music
20 solo piano miniatures, mostly improvised. This album is unassuming, but comes the closest of all my work to telling the horrible truth of just who I am. 

Buy: CD Baby


It's a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World
It's a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World
by Adam Benjamin
2007, No Big Whoop Records
Is this CD notorious? I recorded it on the internal mic of my Mac laptop using Garageband 1.0 and a 2-octave Oxygen 8 keyboard. 37 jazz vignettes, or "micro-standards" as they have been called. 

"...a majestic tour de force." - Dave Douglas 

"The perfect combination of enjoyable music and side-splitting laughter." - Ralph Alessi 

Buy: CD Baby


Long Gone
Long Gone
by Adam Benjamin
2008, Kind of Blue Records
A solo piano album that I was lucky enough to record at the lovely Maxine Studios in Milan, Italy with the talented and witty Flying Donati Brothers engineering. Kind of Blue is a jazz label based in Switzerland that mostly focuses on established artists, but took a step out to record a solo album of mine - thanks Roy. I play Beach Boys, Tears for Fears, jazz standards, folk songs and originals on piano and Rhodes. 

Listen / Buy: Kind Of Blue Records


Low Electrical Worker
Low Electrical Worker
by Kneebody
2007, Colortone Media
The latest studio release by the beloved genre-bending quintet. This is cool and it has pictures of us on it. The picture of Nate is on the inside. Some slow songs and some fast songs. It's a whole handful of music, no doubt. 

Buy: Amazon
Buy: eMusic


Kneebody
Kneebody
by Kneebody
2006, Greenleaf Music
The self-titled debut CD from Greenleaf Records. It has planes on it. Contains some Benjamin-tastic favorites like "Never Remember" and "Perfect Compromise". 


Kneebody Live, Volume 1
Kneebody Live, Volume 1
by Kneebody

Do you like Cueing? Sure you do! This is a collection of medium-fi recordings from tours in 2005. It features THE JAGUAR which is a frightening and unique sound which emanates from Adam's Rhodes inexplicably during the long and rambling, yet satisfying, "The Slip". Consult Kneebody for more details regarding THE JAGUAR. 


Kneebody Live, Volume 2
Kneebody Live, Volume 2
by Kneebody

A collection of Burning tracks from our 2007 Italy tour. This tour featured me getting really sick, which is hinted at on the cover. This is where our music is really taking a turn for the overwhelming and quick. On the last song, Nate's brain explodes. That was cool, we were in Bolzano. 

This album is currently only available as a special purchase at live concerts.


Moonshine
Moonshine
by Dave Douglas & Keystone
2008, Greenleaf Music
A hybrid studio / live release based on a performance we did in Bray, Ireland. Rocky coastline, seafood that was looking at me. Subsequent fanciness added at Nate Wood's house here in Los Angeles. Tacos. 


The Point of Stars
The Point of Stars
by Richard Stekol
2008, Lifer Publishing
Richard Stekol is a wonderful singer, composer and guitarist based in southern California. He's older and wiser than we are. This album features Kneebody as his backing band, with special guest Greg Leisz on pedal steel. I play some solo piano mash-ups of Stekol's material. This is one of my favorite albums. 

Buy: CD Baby


Recordings