Jeff Berlin – High Standards
“High Standards” is a representation of three players in a recording studio, playing a live concert, for no one but themselves! Bassist Jeff Berlin, pianist/upright bassist Richard Drexler, and drummer Danny Gottlieb’s long collaboration, have allowed them to create telepathic interplay, in an improvised setting. This is a piano trio at its best…led by one of the greatest electric bass players of our time.
Jeff Berlin has played with the likes of Bill Bruford, George Benson, Allan Holdsworth, and even toured with original members of Yes (Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe) on only three days’ notice. Much to the anticipation of his fans, Jeff is releasing a new jazz trio CD on his own MAJ Records label titled ‘High Standards’. Along with Berlin on electric bass, the CD also features Woody Herman alumni Richard Drexler on piano and upright bass, and famed drummer Danny Gottlieb (best known for his work with Pat Metheny).
“It is a standard jazz piano trio led by a former rock bass player playing jazz tunes, and soloing nothing like bass players usually solo,” says Jeff. “Keith Jarrett is huge influence on me. I transcribed his solos and practiced them on bass. I wanted to try my hand at recording tunes that I have played for many years, which inspired me to record three guys in a room and let the session remain as they eventually turned out.”
Jeff Berlin’s resume reads like the who’s who of the higher echelon of music artists. Jeff Berlin was even asked to join Van Halen, an invitation that he actually turned down. “Eddie Van Halen was a fan of the band that I played in with Bill Bruford,” Berlin recalls. “We met and started to hang out and jam together. He was a sweet terrific guy. One day he saw me play a gig with my group and then asked me if I would like to join Van Halen. After this, we rehearsed at David Lee Roth’s house a couple of times. Ultimately, I said no to his gracious offer because when you join a band, you join the entirety of it, the life philosophy of its members and also the habits that they may be involved with. I felt that, in terms of activities and attitudes, I didn’t mesh with their vision of things. I didn’t wish to be mercenary and just take the job for money because it wouldn’t be fair to the band members. So, I just said no to the offer.”
Not only is Jeff Berlin a bass phenomenon in the jazz field, but rock players are constantly referring to him as one of their major influences. Jeff was voted Number 1 Jazz Bassist by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine. Carlos Santana called Jeff the “best bassist in the world”, while Rush’s Geddy Lee used the phrase “best bassist on the planet!” Members of Metallica call Jeff the number one bassist on Earth, and Slash considers him a “bass god”. Actor/bass player Gary Sinise, of “Forrest Gump” and “CSI NY” fame called Jeff’s playing “unreal!” Even the late George Carlin was knocked out with Jeff’s playing calling him a “great musician.”