The All Music Guide says “Shelly Berg is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz.” His CD, Blackbird, recorded with the Shelly Berg Trio on the Concord Records label, reached #1 in US jazz radio and garnered Record of the Year and Artist of the Year nominations (Jazzweek, 2005). His subsequent solo CD Shelly Berg: The Nearness of You (Arbors) and a two-piano album with Dick Hyman Meeting of Minds (Victoria) were both critically acclaimed.
A Steinway piano artist, Shelly Berg recently performed live and recorded his own Jazz Variations on “Rhapsody in Blue” and other Gershwin selections with the Shelly Berg Trio and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. He performed and arranged for Arturo Sandoval's Grammy Award winning Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You) and Latin Grammy winning A Time for Love (Concord) and has appeared on several NPR radio broadcasts for Jim Cullum's Riverwalk Jazz series.
Shelly is widely known for his collaborations with vocalists. He has performed, recorded, or arranged for Gloria Estefan, Patti Austin, Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Gregory Porter, Aretha Franklin, Tierney Sutton, Janelle Monáe, Queen Latifa, Lorraine Feather, Monica Mancini, Rita Moreno, Ricky Martin, Kevin Spacey, Dionne Warwick, Carmen Bradford, and many more.
Shelly Berg was a 2013 Grammy nominee in the category “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for his arrangement of “Out There” on Lorraine Feather’s Tales of the Unusual (Jazzed Media). In 2014 he earned a Grammy nomination in the same category for his arrangement of "What a Wonderful World" on Gloria Estefan: The Standards (Sony Masterworks) and was nominated for a third Grammy as co-producer of Gloria Estefan: The Standards in the Best Traditional Pop Album category, along with Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan. He performed at the 2013 White House Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and has co-produced numerous Jazz Roots series concerts with famed producer Larry Rosen.
Shelly Berg is the music director of The Jazz Cruise (thejazzcruise.com) and maintains a busy, worldwide schedule of jazz festival and club performances. He was a finalist in the 1988 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and has performed and/or recorded with a “Who’s Who” of jazz legends, including Ray Brown, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, Peter Erskine, Branford Marsalis, Gregg Field, Chuck Berghofer, Dave Grusin, Woody Herman, Arturo Sandoval, Clark Terry, and Bill Watrous to name just a few. Dave Brubeck raved, “Shelly Berg is a great jazz pianist who has a total command of his instrument.”
His composing and orchestrating for television includes ABC’s Fudge, CBS’s A League of Their Own, and HBO’s Dennis Miller Live. He has orchestrated for Chicago, KISS, Carole King, Richard Marx, Joe Cocker, Elliott Smith, Lou Rawls, Steve Miller, and Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord Records’ Ray Charles and Count Basie collaboration). Film orchestration work includes Warner Bros. Almost Heroes and For Your Consideration, Fox’s Men of Honor, and the NBC mini-series, The ’60s. He has written for the Royal Philharmonic, the American Symphony, and orchestras worldwide. Shelly composed the theme song to the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival, and orchestrated Japan Concerto, for the 10th anniversary of the Emperor’s coronation. His orchestrations are called “magnificent. . . incredible” by Johnny Mandel.
Shelly Berg is the Dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, a position he has held since June 2007. In addition to his leadership role as dean, he is the Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music and teaches classical improvisation and private piano students. He previously held the McCoy/Sample professorship of Jazz Studies in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California where he taught for 16 years. He is a past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), and was named 2003 Educator of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. In 2002, Shelly was the recipient of the IAJE Lawrence Berk Leadership Award. In 2000, the Los Angeles Times named him one of three “Educators for the Millennium.” He has appeared as a performer and lecturer throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and Israel. Shelly has numerous compositions for jazz ensemble in publication, and his texts include the Chop-Monster improvisation series and Essentials of Jazz Theory (Alfred Publishing), and Jazz Improvisation: The Goal-Note Method (Kendor Music).
“Berg burns hard, his fingers flying over the keyboard while his body nearly levitates off the bench. Exhilarating . . . filled with breakneck parallel runs, sudden rhythmic shifts and harmonic modulations that leave the crowd breathless!”
--L.A. Times Sunday Magazine
Updated April 2014