Shelly Berg is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz.”
- Scott Yanow, All About Jazz
Some of the greatest jazz recordings have come from trio settings, from early work by Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson to contemporary offerings from the likes of Bill Charlap and Brad Mehldau. And now we have Shelly Berg to add to the list of leaders of great piano trios, and his new CD, Blackbird, to add to the list of delightful jazz recordings
- Nick Morrison - KPLU Seattle
Shelly Berg’s debut for Concord Records is an unerring mastery of jazz, pop and Great American Songbook standards combined with his unique West Coast inspired blend of adventure, rapture and intimacy… Berg plays with the beauty of Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner and the rhythmic grace of Oscar Peterson while inflecting his personal imprint on these fine songs and their melodies.
- Sounds of Timeless Jazz
Working in empathic unity with bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Randy Drake, he danced his way through the balance of the set — as soloist and accompanist — with the same engaging qualities, pulling the capacity crowd into his enthusiasm, capturing them with the imaginativeness of his lines and the buoyancy of his rhythms.
- Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
Who invented Happiness? Walt Disney? Wrong. It was pianist Shelly Berg. It didn’t matter what tune or tempo, Berg genuinely found happiness with the music. His smile and body language were infectious. Berg’s deeply swinging, fluid, and often funky solo work was awesome.
- LA Jazz Scene
He has a beautiful conception and a technique that does not have to display itself for you to know it is there. Few are better at neat, contained, purposeful right-hand soloing, while his delicate, cloudy ballad voicing is immaculate.
- The Observer
It's evident from the first track that Blackbird is a superior trio release, as classy and swinging as they ever get. Seasoned with brilliance and sprinkled with wit…
- All About Jazz
Shelly Berg has always been a musician’s musician. And even for jazz enthusiasts who had considered Berg to be a technically astounding and aggressive pianist with unstoppable energy, Blackbird reveals a more contemplative, but no less creative, side of his personality. Blackbird is an irresistibly appealing CD.
- Don Williamson, JazzReview.com
Pianist Shelly Berg is a superb musician. He can swing as hard as anyone and he can also dazzle the keys with his technical prowess. On his Concord Jazz debut, he has chosen to play far more sparingly and with more of an emotional edge than on earlier recordings. In a sense, ‘Blackbird’ is more of a “song” based album with Berg almost singing the notes through his piano… The trio’s play is cohesive, lush and dynamic and the setting is rich for Berg to showcase his keen melodic sense.
- Jazz Online
Shelly Berg is a powerhouse pianist who always swings hard and whose technique is comparable to Oscar Peterson’s. Shelly’s tribute to Oscar is even more brilliant than one would expect.
- LA Jazz Scene
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!
- Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine
Shelly Berg is best known outside Los Angeles as an accompanist, composer, arranger, film scorer and educator. His reputation as a jazz pianist gets a boost with this CD, his first on a label with wide distribution. His performance warrants the greater exposure. Berg's continuity between melodic line and powerful left-hand counter-punching is impressive.
- Doug Ramsey, Jazz Times
Shelly Berg pays tribute to Peterson with this heartfelt, hard-swinging, straight-ahead set. He captures Peterson’s eloquence and melodicism while also establishing his own distinctive identity.
- CMJ Music Review
… his dreamy, impressionist take of Billy Strayhorn’s lush ballad “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” is absolutely stunning.
- Ken Dryden
Shelly Berg’s debut for Concord Records is an unerring mastery of jazz, pop and Great American Songbook standards combined with his unique West Coast inspired blend of adventure, rapture and intimacy… Berg’s command of the piano stems from his prodigious talent and continuous education attained through years of study and teaching at some of the most prestigious music schools in the USA. In addition to his talent as a pianist, listeners are treated to his compositional integrity.
- BB Sounds Review
A whirlwind of motion who never sounds a dull note... (Berg gave) a lesson in exuberance with a set filled with moments of high emotion and drama.
- Los Angeles Times
Bits of Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Bud Powell and (Oscar) Peterson could be heard… all held together by Berg’s boundless enthusiasm.
- Los Angeles Times
“(Berg’s) improvisations, especially on up-tempo tunes, leaped forward on hammered chords and long swirling lines... (he made) shimmering statements as he moved between moods and tempos.
- Los Angeles Times
Quotes from Musicians:
PLEASE!!!!!! I was just grinnin' like a fox eatin' sauerkraut after checkin' out Larry, Shelly, Pedro & Tudor with the National Orchestra of Romania… blew me away!!!!! SO SO FRESH!!! And, in the comments of catalinacatrinei, "intoxicating" ,hell, I got drunk! Only one small problem, we still just can't get my bro. Shelly to cheer up a little bit ((:o))! I love and thank you all. This is what it's all about, a big kiss to U all xoxoxo.
- Quincy Jones
Shelly Berg has “The Will,” the creativity, the sensitivity and the virtuosity to pay this heartfelt tribute to Oscar Peterson. Bravo!”
- Dr. Billy Taylor
Having shared the bandstand with Shelly Berg, I can attest that what you are hearing on this album [The Joy] is the real deal. Shelly can flat-out play and the joyousness in his playing is infectious. My favorite... 'Body and Soul'... it reminds me of that other pianist, Art Tatum, the stunning technique, the musicality... full of surprises, full of life. I know that you'll enjoy the artistry of Shelly Berg just as I have."
- Jon Faddis
Shelly Berg is a great jazz pianist who has total command of his instrument. He is talented, too, as a composer, arranger and group leader.
- Dave Brubeck
I've had the pleasure and honor to play and record with Shelly Berg. His new recording is just wonderful! It's an example of great music played and performed by a great artist.
- Louie Bellson