Photo by William Johnston

Photo by William Johnston

Winner of the BBC Scotland Young Jazz Musician at only 17, pianist/composer Alan Benzie is one of the UK’s most exciting young talents. He has won a string of high profile awards in the last few years, including the prestigious Billboard Award at Berklee College of Music. Previous winners include Japanese pianist Uehara Hiromi, and saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Walter Smith III - Alan is the first musician from the UK to win the award. His mixture of flowing lyricism, spontaneous creativity and explosive energy has earned him consistent critical praise, with performances over the last few years in the UK, US, across Europe and Japan.

Alan started his musical education on violin at the age of 8, with little interest in piano until he discovered jazz in his teens. Inspired by encounters with Swedish trio, EST, he switched to piano and has never looked back. Within a year he was a regular on both the Scottish youth and professional jazz scenes, appearing alongside established Scottish and visiting international artists. In 2007, the BBC award was followed by a major scholarship to Boston-based Berklee College of Music, where he studied with the famed JoAnne Brackeen and Laszlo Gardony.

2015 saw the release of Alan’s debut album “Traveller’s Tales”, recorded with his working trio of friends and long-time collaborators Andrew Robb on bass, and Marton Juhasz on drums. Inspired by his recent travels, the landscape of his native Scotland and his love of Japanese animation, the music has its roots in European and American jazz, with influences from impressionist piano music, Scottish and Japanese folk musics, and film music. The trio released their second album "Little Mysteries" this year, with an extensive European and UK tour, and subsequently won Best Album in the 2018 Scottish Jazz Awards. 

A versatile pianist and keyboard player, Alan is involved with numerous other bands, including fusion juggernaut Fat-Suit, groovy world music/jazz group Mezcla, an atmospheric duo with young vocalist Luca Manning and heavy prog-jazz with Joe Williamson’s Animal Society.

"Benzie’s playing has a hushed yet yearning quality to it; an exquisite touch and elegant virtuosity make for a thoroughly engaging listen.” Jazzwise

“Benzie has an orchestrator’s ear for detail in his compositions… His spontaneous creativity impressed even more as improvisations were developed with a clear sense of direction and sustained with inspired phrases” Rob Adams, The Herald

“Most impressive was piano prodigy Alan Benzie… Possessing impeccable technique, and musical imagination, Benzie confirmed his position as a prominent figure in Scotland’s contemporary scene.” The Scotsman