Berliner had his first television experience at age seven on NBC’s The Children's Hour, with his sister Eve.
Berliner was the guitarist for Harry Belafonte in the early to mid-1960s, appearing on many of Belafonte's recordings and playing in venues around the world.
He has also played at the Metropolitan Opera house (the “old” Metropolitan Opera House in midtown Manhattan), where he was house guitarist and mandolinist; toured Japan as a banjo soloist; performances at The White House; and more recently, played onstage at the Metropolitan Opera (in the “new” house at Lincoln Center) with Barbara Cook, Audra McDonald, Josh Groban, and Elaine Strich, recorded live on DRG Records, Inc.
Recordings under his own name include Bananas Are Not Created Equal, Romantic Guitars, Erotic Guitars, three classical albums for Nippon-Columbia, and three classical albums for Spanish Music Center Records. Berliner also can be heard on Romantic Sea of Tranquility under the pseudonym "Chris Valentino."
Berliner began playing as a studio musician in the early 1960s. Since then he has logged more than 13,000 recording sessions for records, commercials, films, etc. He has played on albums by Charles Mingus (including The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady) and Ron Carter, George Benson’s White Rabbit, Stephane Grappeli’s Uptown Dance, Deodato’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, Milt Jackson’s Sunflower, and many other Creed Taylor recordings. Berliner has recorded with numerous singers including Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Jerry Vale, Astrud Gilberto, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sergio Franchi, Rupert Holmes, Frankie Valli, Debby Boone, Andrea Bocelli, Russell Watson, Harry Connick, Jr., Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Blossom Dearie, and LaTanya Hall.
He played on Van Morrison's 1968 album, Astral Weeks, and on November 7 and 8, 2008 joined with Morrison to play Astral Weeks in its entirety at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. A vinyl LP and CD from these concerts entitled Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl were released in February 2009.
Berliner is an original member of Rob Fisher's Coffee Club Orchestra on Garrison Keillor’s American Radio Company and later at City Center’s ENCORES series. Berliner is also an original member of the Guys All-Star Shoe Band on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Berliner has performed in concert with William Warfield and Earl Wild at the old Lewisohn Stadium, at Town Hall with Andrea Velis, and with Charles Bressler, playing the American premier performance of songs for tenor and guitar by William Walton and Benjamin Britten.
Berliner has won seven NARAS Most Valuable Player awards as well as the NARAS MVP Virtuoso Award in 1986.
- Bananas Are Not Created Equal (Mainstream, 1973)
- Romantic Guitars (Special Music Company, 1987)
With Harry Belafonte
- The Many Moods of Belafonte (RCA Victor, 1962)
- Streets I Have Walked (RCA Victor, 1963)
- Belafonte at The Greek Theatre (RCA Victor, 1963)
- Ballads, Blues and Boasters (RCA Victor 1964)
- An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba (RCA Victor, 1965)
- An Evening with Belafonte/Mouskouri (RCA Victor, 1966)
- Play Me (RCA, 1973)
- Loving You Is Where I Belong (CBS, 1981)
With George Benson
- White Rabbit (CTI, 1971)
With Don Byron
- Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz (Nonesuch, 1993)
With James Carter
- Chasin' the Gypsy (Atlantic, 2000)
With Ron Carter
- Spanish Blue (CTI, 1974)
- Peg Leg (Milestone, 1977)
- A Song for You (Milestone, 1978)
- New York Slick (Milestone, 1979)
- Empire Jazz (RSO, 1980)
With Blossom Dearie
- Songs of Chelsea (Daffodil, 1988)
With Eumir Deodato
- Prelude (CTI, 1972)
With Paul Desmond
- Summertime (A&M/CTI, 1968)
With Lou Donaldson
- Sophisticated Lou (Blue Note, 1972)
With Gil Evans
- Collaboration (EmArcy, 1987)
With Solomon Ilori
- African High Life (Blue Note, 1963)
With Jackie and Roy
- Time & Love (CTI, 1972)
With Milt Jackson
- Sunflower (CTI, 1972)
With Herbie Mann
- Glory of Love (CTI, 1967)
With Charles Mingus
- Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse!, 1963)
- The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)
With Airto Moreira
- Free (CTI, 1972)
With Van Morrison
- Astral Weeks (Warner Bros., 1968)
- Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Listen to the Lion, 2009)
With Bette Midler
- Bathhouse Betty (Warner Bros., 1998)
With Laura Nyro
- More Than a New Discovery (Verve Folkways, 1966)
With Bernard Purdie
- Soul Is... Pretty Purdie (Flying Dutchman, 1972)
With Marlena Shaw
- Marlena (Blue Note, 1972)
With Buddy Terry
- Lean on Him (Mainstream, 1973)
- "Jay Berliner credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "Van Morrison Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl". vanmorrison.com. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- Van Morrison Royal Albert Hall London The Guardian by Robin Denselow, Monday 20 April 2009
- Up on Cypress Avenue again with Van the Man The Observer by Kevin Mitchell, Sunday 26 April 2009
- DISTINCTIVE VOICES DISPLAY THE VIGOR OF THE CABARETS The New York Times By John S. Wilson, Published: December 11, 1983, Retrieved on April 28, 2009