Bio Sept 2012.doc

Adam Birnbaum is emerging as one of the top young voices in jazz piano. Since receiving a graduate Artist’s Diploma in jazz studies from The Julliard School in 2003, he has become a presence on the New York City scene as a leader and sideman, performing in such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, the Jazz Standard and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. He has also performed on many national and world stages, including the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Spoleto Festival, The Indianapolis Jazz Festival, The Rockport Chamber Festival, NPR Jazz Christmas, and the Capetown Jazz Festival.

As a leader, Birnbaum has released two albums in Japan under the Pony Canyon label. His first, Ballade Pour Adeline, received a Gold Disk award from Swing Journal as one of the top albums of 2006. His U.S. debut Travels, released in 2009 under the Smalls record label, received enthusiastic reviews in, All About Jazz and JazzTimes. The Adam Birnbaum Trio has opened for both Brad Mehldau and Herbie Hancock. In July, 2006 Birnbaum’s quintet spent three weeks in residence at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. Birnbaum’s latest recording as a leader, featuring the bassist Doug Weiss and the drummer Al Foster, will be released in early 2014.

As a sideman, Birnbaum’s wide-ranging versatility and artistry have made him a first call for a wide variety of soloists, ensembles and band leaders. He has performed or toured with established jazz legends such as Al Foster, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Eddie Henderson, Eddie Gomez, and Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, as well as with young artists such as Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Pedro Giraudo, Marshall Gilkes, Dominick Farinacci, and Cecile Mclorin Salvant. Birnbaum has appeared as a sideman more than 15 albums.

Birnbaum is also recognized as a composer and arranger. reviewer Ken Dryden said “Birnbaum’s compositions prove immediately infectious, each with a hook that draws the listener along for the ride. “A review of Travels in JazzTimes praised the album’s “stellar originals.” In 2009 Birnbaum premiered Dream Songs, a trio suite based on the poetry of John Berryman. The work was commissioned by Chamber Music America. In 2012 Birnbaum was a guest artist at the Chelsea Music Festival in New York, arranging Debussy and Japanese folk songs for his trio, strings, koto, woodwinds and operatic singers.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Birnbaum studied at the New England Conservatory of Music before moving to New York City in 2001, one of two pianists selected to participate in the Julliard School’s inaugural jazz studies program. In 2004 he won the American Jazz Piano Competition and became the American Pianists Association's Cole Porter fellow in Jazz. That same year, he became the first jazz pianist to present a recital at the prestigious Gilmore Rising Stars Recital Series. In 2006, he received the first-ever "special mention" prize at the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris. He has toured West Africa and Asia sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department. A Manhattan resident, he currently performs throughout the world with both Al Foster and Greg Osby, as a featured member of their ensembles. Adam has studied with Danilo Perez, Kenny Barron, and Fred Hersch.



  • ". . .Birnbaum's touch and harmonic ideas are reminiscent of another multi-genre maestro, Keith Jarrett. "

    Jazziz Magazine, October 2002

  • "On album opener, "Jackhammer", Birnbaum uses a repeating dissonant piano riff, which is pure hip-hop sampling fodder, to convey the frenetic energy of New York City. The song's piano solos, which billow playfully in and out of consonance, evoke Bill Evans' work on the legendary Sunday at the Village Vanguard recordings. "Kat's Dance", too, anchors itself with a repeating, off-kilter piano riff that slides excitedly up a half-step before easing back down. In Herbie Nichols fashion, the song's melody merges with the harmony so naturally that it's hard to discern one from the other, giving the music a pastoral quality reminiscent of a new-wave movie soundtrack..."

    "...His solos treat the silence between notes like it's as important as the notes themselves."