Jay Berliner

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Jay Berliner (born May 24, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist.

Jay Berliner performing with Van Morrison in Las Vegas on 1/26/2019


Berliner had his first television experience at age seven on NBC’s The Children's Hour, with his sister Eve. He 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 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 Stritch, recorded live on DRG Records, Inc.[citation needed] 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. He can be heard on Romantic Sea of Tranquility under the pseudonym "Chris Valentino."[citation needed]

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.[1]

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.[2]

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. In 2009, he played banjo, mandolin, and baritone ukulele onstage in the hit Broadway show Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre.[citation needed]


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)

As sideman[edit]

With Harry Belafonte

With George Benson

With Don Byron

With James Carter

With Ron Carter

With Blossom Dearie

With Eumir Deodato

With Paul Desmond

With Lou Donaldson

With Gil Evans

With Solomon Ilori

With Jackie and Roy

With Milt Jackson

With Herbie Mann

With Charles Mingus

With Airto Moreira

With Van Morrison

With Bette Midler

With Laura Nyro

With Bernard Purdie

With Marlena Shaw

With Buddy Terry


  1. ^ "Jay Berliner credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  2. ^ "Van Morrison Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl". vanmorrison.com. Retrieved 2008-10-02.

External links[edit]