Benny Green (pianist)

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Benny Green
Photo by John Dugan
Photo by John Dugan
Background information
Born (1963-04-04) April 4, 1963 (age 60)
New York City, New York, U.S.
LabelsCriss Cross, Blue Note, Telarc, Sunnyside

Benny Green (born April 4, 1963) is an American hard bop jazz pianist who was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He has been compared to Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson in style and counts them as influences.[1]


Green was born in New York City. He grew up in Berkeley, California, and studied classical piano from the age of seven. He was also interested in jazz from an early point, as his father was a jazz tenor saxophone player. Benny Green was "discovered" by Faye Carroll, and while still in his teens worked in a quintet led by Eddie Henderson. Green attended Berkeley High School, and participated in the school's jazz ensemble. In the later years of his high school career, he had a weekly trio gig at Yoshi's, which was his entrance to the world of professional jazz. After high school, he spent time in San Francisco, but became more successful on his return to New York.[2][3]

Green joined Betty Carter's band in April, 1983, and since 1991 he has led his own trio. He has recorded for Blue Note, Telarc, and Criss Cross.

Green frequently teaches in workshops across the United States, such as Jazz Camp West in California, and Centrum/Jazz Port Townsend in Washington. He currently resides in the United States and tours globally with his trio. Then and Now is a studio album recorded and released in 2018 by Sunnyside Records.


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1988 Prelude Criss Cross Quintet, with Terence Blanchard (trumpet), Javon Jackson (tenor sax), Peter Washington (bass), Tony Reedus (drums)
1988–89 In This Direction Criss Cross Trio, with Buster Williams (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)
1990 Lineage Blue Note Trio, with Ray Drummond (bass), Victor Lewis (drums)
1991 Greens Blue Note Trio, with Christian McBride (bass), Carl Allen (drums)
1991 Testifyin'!: Live at the Village Vanguard Blue Note Trio, with Christian McBride (bass), Carl Allen (drums); in concert
1992 That's Right! Blue Note Trio, with Christian McBride (bass), Carl Allen (drums)
1994 The Place to Be Blue Note Some tracks solo piano; some tracks trio, with Christian McBride (bass), Kenny Washington (drums); some tracks nonet, with Byron Stripling (trumpet), Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone), John Clark (French horn), Herb Besson (tuba), Jerry Dodgion (flute, alto flute, alto sax), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax) added
1996 Kaleidoscope Blue Note With Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax), Antonio Hart (alto sax), Russell Malone (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)
1997 Oscar and Benny Telarc Quartet, with Oscar Peterson (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Gregory Hutchinson (drums)
1999 These Are Soulful Days Blue Note Trio, with Russell Malone (guitar), Christian McBride (bass)
2000 Naturally Telarc Trio, with Russell Malone (guitar), Christian McBride (bass)
2001 Green's Blues Telarc Solo piano
2002 Jazz at the Bistro Telarc Duo, with Russell Malone (guitar); in concert
2003 Bluebird Telarc Duo, with Russell Malone (guitar)
2011? Source Jazz Legacy
2013? Magic Beans Sunnyside Trio, with Peter Washington (bass), Kenny Washington (drums)
2013 Live in Santa Cruz! Sunnyside Trio, with David Wong (bass), Kenny Washington (drums); in concert
2016 Happiness! Live at Kuumbwa Sunnyside Trio, with David Wong (bass), Rodney Green (drums); in concert
2018 Then and Now Sunnyside Some tracks trio, with David Wong (bass), Kenny Washington (drums); one track quartet, with Anne Drummond (flute, alto flute) added; two tracks quintet, with Drummond, Josh Jones (percussion) added; four tracks quartet, with Veronica Swift (vocals) added
2020 Benny's Crib Sunnyside Green plays the Fender Rhodes electric piano on all 11 tracks, with acoustic piano added on two. David Wong (bass), Aaron Kimmel (drums), Anne Drummond (flute), Josh Jones (congas). Veronica Swift performs vocals on "Benny's Crib".
2022 Solo Sunnyside Solo piano[4]

Main sources:[5][6][7][8]


With Art Blakey

With Bob Belden

  • Straight to My Heart: The Music of Sting (1989)
  • When the Doves Cry: The Music of Prince (1993)

With Don Braden

  • Quintet Time Is Now (1991)
  • Wish List (1991)

With Cecil Brooks III

With Ray Brown

  • Bass Face (1993)
  • Don't Get Sassy (1994)
  • Some of My Best Friends Are...The Piano Players (1994)
  • Some of My Best Friends Are...The Sax Players (1995)
  • Seven Steps to Heaven (1995)
  • Live at Scullers Jazz Club (1996)
  • SuperBass (1997)
  • Triple Play (compilation) (1998)
  • Walk On (2003)

With Arnett Cobb

  • Tenor Tribute, Vol. 1 (1988)
  • Tenor Tribute, Vol. 2 (1988)

With Freddie Hubbard

With Etta Jones

With Ralph Moore

With Houston Person

With Jimmy Ponder

  • Soul Eyes (1991)
  • Steel City Soul (1998)

With Jim Snidero

  • Mixed Bag (1987)
  • Blue Afternoon (1989)
  • While You Were Here (1991)

With Lew Tabackin

  • Ill Be Seeing You (1992)
  • What a Little Moonlight Can Do (1994)

With Jack Walrath

With others


  1. ^ Scheinin, Richard (25 June 2013). "Review: Pianist Benny Green delivers sheer jazz joy – The Mercury News". San Jose Mercury. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Bio". 22 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Benny Green | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  4. ^ Panken, Ted (July 2023). "Benny Green's Solo Mastery". DownBeat. Vol. 90, no. 7. p. 16.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1992). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP & Cassette (1st ed.). Penguin. p. 445. ISBN 978-0-14-015364-4.
  6. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. p. 539. ISBN 978-0-14-051368-4.
  7. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2004). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th ed.). Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-101416-6.
  8. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 597. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.

External links[edit]