Edinburgh-born pianist and composer Ben Shankland is, despite his young age, already gaining recognition on the UK jazz scene. He began his musical journey studying classical piano and bassoon, which greatly developed his general musicality before finding an interest in jazz in his teens. Before long, he was hooked and began honing his craft as a member of Scotland’s finest youth jazz orchestras, with mentorship from pianists John Turville and Alan Benzie, and saxophonists Tommy Smith and Mike Williams.
Currently, he performs with his trio regularly around the country, exploring his original compositions with Ewan Hastie and Chun-Wei Kang. He is also active as a solo pianist, an interest which developed out of his classical background and inspiration from the music of Fred Hersch. In addition to his work as a leader, Ben has performed and recorded as a sideman in various bands with fellow young musicians.
Alongside his primary focus in improvised music, Ben continues to perform in the classical world. Notably, he recently accompanied BBC Young Musician 2022 percussionist Jordan Ashman in an award-winning recital, and was the soloist in three performances of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra. His ability to engage and connect with audiences at his young age truly sets him apart as one to watch in the years to come.
'Easeful harmonising and sureness of touch leave one eager to hear more from Shankland in the future'
- Scottish Jazz Space