Adam Benjamin

Adam Benjamin, M.F.A.

Assistant Professor, Jazz Studies Director; Jazz Piano; Combo Coach

Summary

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. Benjamin maintains a humble and humorous approach that connects him with his audiences worldwide.

He 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," was released 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).

Benjamin'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 impressionists etudes bursting with both humor and gravity. This follows "Long Gone" (Kind of Blue, 2008) and his notorious 2007 self-released "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. Benjamin's contribution is central to the Keystone albums Live in Sweden (Greenleaf, 2006) and Moonshine (Greenleaf, 2008). In 2011, he 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.

Benjamin 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, Louisiana.