Benjamin Herman got his first saxophone at the age of twelve. At thirteen he was already playing on the professional club circuit. Within a few years he was appearing with different groups around the world and initiating projects of his own. His fame spread beyond jazz circles in the 1990s when he formed the groundbreaking ensemble New Cool Collective. Having made a name as soloist while still a teenager, Benjamin Herman has appeared on over a hundred records with all kinds of artists, from Candy Dulfer to Misha Mengelberg. Herman has also built a career in Holland and abroad as a composer. With New Cool Collective as well as with his smaller band’s his gigs are inspired by dance floor jazz, surf and punk music, free jazz and traditional music from all over the world, attracting music fans of all genres as well as straight ahead jazz aficionados. At the same time he has explored in depth the repertoire of composers such a Byard, Monk and Mengelberg.
Today Benjamin Herman is one of the most original and productive jazz musicians in the Netherlands exploring influences beyond the confines of the jazz world. After signing to DOX Records in 2005 Benjamin Herman produced a series of cd’s and vinyl’s. He also won his third Edison for the album ‘Campert’ (featuring Dutch poet Remco Campert), He recorded and toured with Paul Weller, programmed several festivals, toured in Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, Russia, Britain, Canada, England, Ireland and Japan and worked on numerous projects in the Netherlands. In 2006 he received the prestigious VPRO/Boy Edgar Award and was voted ‘Best Dressed Dutchman of 2008’ by Esquire magazine.
In 2009 Benjamin and NCC released 4 cd’s a vinyl and a dvd. His 10th solo album Blue Sky Blond (which features Paul Weller, Perquisite, Git Hyper, Jesse van Ruller and many others) was the most downloaded jazz album in the Netherlands 2009. In 2010 Benjamin toured in the U.S.A. with his quartet, recorded a 7” vinyl EP in Shanghai and released a special edition of his album Hypochristmastreefuzz with bonus live cd. New Cool Collective released their 12th album in 2011. Late 2010 award winning Dutch film director Eddy Terstall approached Benjamin to write the score for his new film. ‘Deal’ was released in 2012 and features Carlo de Wijs (Hammond organ), Jesse van Ruller (guitar), Manuel Hugas (bass) Joost Kroon (drums) and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2013 he recorded his 14th solo CD ‘Café Solo’ with Ernst Glerum (bass) and Joost Patočka (drums). After finishing ‘Deal’ Benjamin longed to get to work on something a little more intimate with one of his favourite settings; bass and drums. The album is the first album with a set of standards after the release of ‘Café Alto’ in 1996.
Benjamin Herman’s 16th solo album ‘Trouble’ was released on 11 July 2014. In a new departure for the multi-talented saxophonist, his latest solo disc is a joint project with 24-year-old singer and pianist Daniel von Piekartz. For the first time in his career, Herman has devoted an entire album to vocal numbers. “Daniel originally planned to play on two tracks. He is incredibly musical and ideas just kept flowing… we didn’t want it to stop,” Herman recalls. Von Piekartz plays and sings on eight of the ten tracks.
2016 saw the release of “Swing De Paris’ together with The Robin Nolan Trio. A gypsy jazz album which also features Dutch vocalist Wouter Hamel. Also New Cool Collective released an album collaborating with Matt Bianco singer Mark Reilly and toured extensively.
In 2017 New Cool Collective released two new albums (one featuring Senegalese alto saxophonist Thierno Koite) and Benjamin released a live album on the ICP label with The Quartet NL. An all star Dutch foursome with drummer Han Bennink (74), bassist Ruud Jacobs (78) and pianist Peter Beets.
In 2018 to celebrate his 50th birthday Benjamin will be releasing three new solo albums to be released in spring summer and autumn. (see news above for more info)