Benjamin Herman (alto saxophone, C-melody saxophone, flute) began playing saxophone at the age of twelve, and was soon active on the professional club circuit. By the time he received the Wessel Ilcken Prize at 21, he had already performed all over the world. In 1991, the year he graduated with honours at Hilversum Conservatory, Herman was the only European selected for the Thelonious Monk Competition. Other candidates included Joshua Redman, Chris Potter and Eric Alexander.
Back from studying with Dick Oatts at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, Benjamin Herman soon began initiating his own projects, including the pioneering New Cool Collective ensemble.
As one of Holland's most productive and prominent jazz musicians, Benjamin Herman is a much sought-after soloist. He has played and recorded with Rein de Graaf, Fra Fra Big Band, Michiel Borstlap, Candy Dulfer, Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, Misha Mengelberg, Paul Weller and Georgie Fame.He has also made a name as a composer at home and abroad.
Herman plays numerous concerts each year with New Cool Collective and his quartet (Benjamin Herman: alto sax, Jesse van Ruller: guitar, Carlo de Wijs: Hammond organ, Martijn Vink: drums) strongly inspired by opular dance-floor jazz. New Cool Collective and the New Cool Collective Big Band often perform at international pop venues and festivals, resulting in a following far beyond the normal jazz concert crowd.
Benjamin Herman is well known in the Netherlands as one of the country's most original and versatile jazz musicians. Drawing on influences from outside the jazz scene he pays little heed to the unwritten laws of jazz, as a r?sum? of the last couple of years illustrates:
In 2004/2005 Herman released a 45 rpm single Haze/Skunkaholic (with Ulco Bed, Wiboud Burkens, Jeroen Vierdag, Martijn Vink, Git Hyper) and a twelve inch vinyl Durban Poison, both distributed worldwide through the new Amsterdam underground label Rush Hour.
In 2005 Herman and the New Cool Collective produced their fifth album Trippin' with Afro Beat founder, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen. Meanwhile, the band confirmed its trail-blazing status by bringing their jazz repertoire to several major European rock festivals including Denmark's Roskilde - one of Europe's best attended festivals, Sziget in Hungary and Dutch pop festival Lowlands.
That same year Herman released a critically acclaimed Impro-Surf -Cocktail-Rock-Jazz album The Itch featuring legendary Dutch drummer Han Bennink alongside New Cool Collective guitarist Anton Goudsmit and ICP bassist Ernst Glerum.
Benjamin Herman also recorded two albums in 2005 as a guest soloist with New Wave phenomenon and 2006 UK Brit Award winner Paul Weller, also joining him for three European tours.
Meanwhile, Herman won a (jazz) Edison in 2005 for his 2004 album Heterogeneity, a collaboration with Flemish trumpeter Bert Joris and ICP founder Misha Mengelberg.
And in 2005 Benjamin Herman debuted as (guest) programmer of the Festival Jazz International Rotterdam.
On 26 April 2006, Benjamin Herman received the VPRO/Boy Edgar Prize 2006, the premier Dutch award in the field of jazz and improvised music.
In autumn 2006 Herman released the beautiful album ?the London Sessions' together with 80years old legendary British jazz pianist Stan Tracey and his trio, featuring Dutch trombone player Bart van Lier.
In 2007 Herman is touring Dutch and European stages with The Itch, as well as with New Cool Collective and the New Cool Collective Big Band.