Heartbeat (2023) reviews

Balance (2019) reviews

"The intellectual meets the intuitive by design throughout the entirety of Balance as Winkelman’s trio of equals, perpetually seeking a state of equilibrium, approach joyful swing, hard-hitting rock and chamber-like inventions as one big, interconnected thing of beauty." - Ed Enright, Downbeat (USA), Editor's Pick 

Feature and Q&A in Jazziz Magazine - Matt Micucci, Jazziz (USA)

4 stars. "Together, these three tackle thorny thoughts, essay beauty with singular style, and swing hard right down the line at various points in the program. Bouncing between different moods and themes in short order, this trio never misses a beat." - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz (USA)

4 stars. "Pianist Ben Winkelman's fifth album is so good that, ironically, its overwhelming brilliance may limit its appeal. It is so innovative, and played with such power, that the listener is left open-mouthed." - Eric Myers, The Australian (Australia)

"A startlingly impressive trio session focusing on his original tunes, the album brims with ideas and his love of Afro-Caribbean rhythms." - Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Classical Voice (USA)

"Balance walks a fascinating line between breezy cool and wicked-sharp smarts. Winkelman does indeed nail the theme of balance here: between exotic and familiar, sharp and playful, simple and multi-shaded. This whirlwind of a tour has enough life to encompass them all." - Geno Thackara, All About Jazz (USA)

"The title of this album fits well, as pianist Ben Winkelman creates a symbiotic balance between interplay and soloing. Monk’s “Bye-Ya” is a crisp and spacious rendition, while the rest of the pieces reflect good listening and lyricism. Tighter than the Houston Astros infield. - George Harris, Jazz Weekly (USA)

"Balancing composition and improvisation, he crosses the lines between Latin, jazz, and classical, bestowing a distinct feel to each of the 10 tunes that compose the album, which appropriately got the title Balance." - Filipe Freitas, Jazztrail (USA)

"Pianist/composer Ben Winkelman offers his fifth release and it is quite fine." - Dave Rogers, WTJU (USA), featured in New Jazz Adds

"His music is wrapped in the originality of his compositions as he and his trio strive for balance between the intellectual and the intuitive." - Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs (USA)

 "He tickles the ear as well as the fancy with this set that just let's the music do what it will----and it always does the right thing. Solid stuff that's going to keep his legend growing." - Chris Spector, Midwest Record (USA)

"This is Winkelman’s 5th recording as a leader and he’s on point!" - D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place (USA)

The Knife (2015) reviews

While Winkelman’s writing on The Knife is intelligent and complex, it is the emotion and lyricism that really impress. His playing on The Knife, while controlled and precise, abounds with warmth and spontaneity. The Knife is a wonderful example of what can happen when a skilled, feeling musician observes and responds to change with intelligence and humility. - Eugene Ball, Loudmouth, The Music Trust E-Zine (Australia)

Singling out any one track probably does a disservice to the overall quality and breadth of this stunning album. The Knife sounds fresh and exciting while still being able to satisfy those that revere the classic jazz trio tradition. - Owen McKern – PBS Program Manager (Australia) 

This is an album of great variety, showing that much can be achieved by a piano trio with imaginative compositions, and skilled, unified players. - John McBeath, The Australian

“Fresh take on the trio. Writing and musical imagery that reflects deep thought, passion and sophisticated vision.” - Jae Sinnett, WHRV FM, (USA) - included The Knife on his Top 10 of 2015

“Winkelman shows his penchant for coloring outside the lines with grace and finesse.” -  Midwest Record (USA)

“Winkelman has a warm and classy touch, showing deftness and thoughtfulness as well as strength.” - Jazz Weekly (USA)

He is adventurous, but still accessible. Winkelman's music is airy, free-flowing and full-flight...- George Fendel, Oregon Jazz Scene (USA)

Odysseys (2010) reviews

4.5 stars “For seventy absorbing minutes, the trio captures the ear, providing thrilling evidence of a stellar contemporary trio to rank among the best... Odysseys succeeds on every level... and this fine trio statement whets the appetite for what lies ahead.” - allaboutjazz.com (USA)

"Winkelman opts for all originals for Odysseys, mostly impressive, quirky and a tad wild - even if carefully structured. They seem true musical adventures, even if the studio setting spotlights them as stark studies of contemplation." - NYC Jazz Record (USA)

“This music effortlessly accomplishes the difficult balance between the cerebral and the visceral. Odysseys is a gem.” - Music Forum (Australia)

“The album provides further proof, if any were necessary, that Winkelman occupies a truly unique and important space as a contemporary composer, improviser and bandleader.” - Extempore online (Australia)

**** “There is nothing predictable here. Most fascinating is the way Winkelman, with his fluid attack, can shift so seamlessly between moods.” - The Age Green Guide (Australia)

The Spanish Tinge (2007) reviews

“These are not head-and-solos renditions but closely argued musical treatises. Winkelman is in the mode of younger pianists who are more and more insisting on reclaiming the full resources of the piano.” - David Dupont, Cadence (USA), April-June, 2008

**** “Pianist Ben Winkelman’s first album came like a bolt from the blue with virtuosity and inspiration across a wide historical span. It was no fluke: The Spanish Tinge is just as thrilling and mind expanding…” Derek Leather, M Magazine, The Age, 2007 (Australia)

**** “The presentation is tightly drilled but the music zings with an electricity of counterpoint and ideas popping up everywhere. The most stunning moment is saved for last in his jazzed-up rendition of the emotional Yiddish song, Vilna. More please.” - Leon Gettler, The Age Green Guide, 2007 (Australia)

**** “The new title is a quote from Jelly Roll Morton, who believed the Spanish Tinge was essential seasoning for jazz... Winkelman has achieved this by more than simply playing predictable Latin beats...” - John McBeath, The Australian, 2007 (Australia)

“Ben Winkelman won a lot of positive reviews last year for his debut album. The follow-up is an even more impressive collection of original compositions, superbly performed by the pianist with his new trio partners…” – Adrian Jackson, Rhythms, October 2007 (Australia)

Stomps, Pieces & Variations (2005) reviews

**** “Just when we thought everything possible with jazz piano trios had been done, this Melbourne trio's debut album forces a rethink.” - John McBeath, The Australian, 2005 (Australia)

**** “Splendid. Winkelman's 14 joyous originals embody the exhilaration of music making and not a hint of fat... here we come a little closer to the divine.” - Ken Williams, The Age EG, 2005 (Australia)

“Ben Winkelman is the genuine article, a determined crossbreeder of styles whose music is inventive and often surprising. It’s hard not to enjoy the panache and sense of fun: Winkelman’s tunes keep you guessing. In the era of the postmodern piano trio, Winkelman’s already claimed his place at the table.” - Nate Doward, Cadence (USA), 2006

**** “Here's a party with conversations everywhere.” - Leon Gettler, The Age Green Guide, 2005 (Australia)

“A talented musician, with an approach that is refreshingly different.” - Adrian Jackson, Rhythms, 2006 (Australia)

“This is a terrifically enjoyable album, full of energy and spirit...” - Tim Stevens, Music Forum, 2006 (Australia)

General and gig reviews

"His playing is bursting with odd meters, Latin rhythms and a gospel tinge. He is post-bop in the truest sense, incorporating the entirety of his musical influences and making a music of his own." - John Fenton, jazzlocal32.com (New Zealand), November 6, 2019

In a concert entirely of Winkelman originals, an enthusiastic audience enjoyed pure, straight-down-the-line jazz from the Ben Winkelman Trio. No gymnastics. No histrionics. No showiness. Just class. Pure class. - Clinton White, Canberra City News (Australia), March 19, 2016

“The trio jostled their way through quasi-Latin rhythms, stride piano passages and sudden shifts in mood and metre with playfully suave assurance.” - Jessica Nicholas, The Age 2008 (Australia)

“More than 60 years after the death of Jelly Roll Morton  the ‘Spanish tinge’ he described as essential to jazz is alive and well in the hands of Ben Winkelman. Winkelman and his colleagues sounded impressively tight as they negotiated Winkelman's musical brainteasers.” - Jessica Nicholas, The Age, 2007 (Australia)

“Winkelman’s all-original music defies categorisation…” – John McBeath, The Australian, 2006 (Australia)