Mini Approved Biography:Shelton ("Shelly") Berg (born August 18, 1955) is a jazz pianist originally from Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of six Shelly Berg entered the Cleveland Institute of Music studying classical music. Berg earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the University of Houston School of Music. He has mostly devoted himself to being a music educator, but has also recorded critically acclaimed albums The Nearness of You (Arbors, 2009), Blackbird (Concord, 2005) and The Will (CARS, 2000). In 2006, he arranged most of the songs on the album entitled Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord). Shelly Berg was previously the McCoy/Sample Professor of Jazz Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music. He is currently Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
Short Approved Biography:
The All Music Guide says "Shelly Berg is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz." His 2005 CD, Blackbird (Concord) reached #1 in US jazz radio (Jazzweek) and garnered Record of the Year and Artist of the Year nominations. New recordings include a solo piano CD, The Nearness of You (Arbors) and a jazz trio CD, Follow the Sun, scheduled for release in Spring 2010 (Concord).
Shelly Berg maintains a busy worldwide schedule of jazz festival and club performances. He has performed, recorded and arranged for renown jazz vocalists Patti Austin, Nancy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Monica Mancini, Dionne Warwick, Tierney Sutton, Lorraine Feather and Carmen Bradford. He has performed and/or recorded with a "Who's Who" of jazz legends including Ray Brown, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, Peter Erskine, Woody Herman, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Clark Terry and Bill Watrous, to name a few. Dave Brubeck raves, "Shelly Berg is a great jazz pianist who has a total command of his instrument." A finalist in the 1988 Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Shelly has recorded over 30 disks for the Yamaha Disklavier piano.
Shelly has also orchestrated for television and film, as well as for Chicago, Kiss, Carole King, Richard Marx, Joe Cocker, Elliott Smith, Lou Rawls, Steve Miller, and most recently for Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Ray Charles/Count Basie Orchestra) and Arturo Sandoval's A Time for Love (Concord). He has written for orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and the American Symphony. His orchestrations are called "magnificent. . . incredible" by Johnny Mandel.
A Steinway piano artist, Shelly Berg is the Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. He was previously the McCoy/Sample Professor of Jazz Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music, and a past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). In 2003 he was honored as the "Educator of the Year" by the Los Angeles Jazz Society and in 2002 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, China, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Japan, Romania and Venezuela.
Shelly Berg has numerous compositions for jazz ensemble in publication, and his texts include the Chop-Monster improvisation series, Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors, Essentials of Jazz Theory (Alfred Publishing), and Jazz Improvisation: The Goal-Note Method (Kendor Music).