Born in New York in 1963, Benny Green grew up in Berkeley, California, and began classical piano studies at the age of seven. Influenced by his father, a tenor saxophonist, his attention soon turned to jazz: His blossoming talents and support from mentors such as Walter Bishop Jr. and others, plus his love for the music propelled him to the upper strata of jazz luminaries.
Benny Green’s list of credits, accomplishments, and accolades could fill a book. His recordings with the masters form a foundation of jazz education. Some notable highlights include beginning his touring life with Betty Carter for four years and realizing a lifelong dream of becoming a Jazz Messenger; In 1993 Oscar Peterson chose Benny as the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glen Gould International Protégé́ Prize in Music culminating in Oscar & Benny (1998), recorded for Telarc. Appearing on well over one hundred recordings, with legacy artists such as: Betty Carter (including Grammy award winner Look What I Got), Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson, Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, and he is particularly featured in Ray Brown’s trio series of CD’s for Telarc: Bass Face (1993), Don’t get Sassy (1994), Some of my best friends … (1994), Seven Steps to Heaven (1995), Super Bass (1996) and Live at Sculler’s(1996), to fresh faces like Japan’s young drum virtuoso, Tiger Onitsuka.
As the leader of his own groups, Benny’s recording career began with two albums for the Dutch label Criss Cross: Prelude (1988) and In This Direction (1989). In 1990 Green started recording for Blue Note: Lineage(1990), Greens (1991), Testifiyin’ (1992), That’s Right! (1993), The Place To Be (1994), Kaleidoscope (1997) and These Are Soulful Days (1999). In 2000, his debut recording on Telarc Jazz, entitled Naturally, was released, featuring bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone. In 2001, Green’s Blues, a solo piano date, and in 2003 Jazz at the Bistro (Telarc), a duo recording Malone, were followed by Bluebird (2004) again pairing Green with Malone. A hiatus from recording produced Benny’s 2011 trio date, Source (JLP).
His latest recordings for the Sunnyside label Then and Now (2018), Happiness! (2017), Live in Santa Cruz(2015) and Magic Beans (2013) are shining examples of his brilliance.