Home » Jazz Musicians » Lucian Ban

Lucian Ban

LUCIAN BAN was raised in a small village in northwest Transylvania, in “the region where Bartok did his most extensive research and collecting of folk songs" and grew up listening to both traditional and classical music. He studied composition at the Bucharest Music Academy while simultaneously leading his own jazz groups, and notes that his approach to improvisation has been influenced by “the profound musical contributions of Romanian modern classical composers like Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru and of course Enesco". Desire to get closer to the source of jazz brought him to the US, and since moving from Romania to New York in 1999 has been leading several projects creating music that reinvents the jazz idiom and collaborating with some of today’s most celebrated jazz musicians. His compositions are performed and recorded by several ensembles and he has released 19 albums under his name for labels such as ECM, Sunnyside, Clean Feed, CIMP, Jazzaway, all the while maintaining a worldwide touring schedule.

In 2013 ECM records releases Transylvanian Concert, a live album of self-penned ballads, blues, hymns and abstract improvisations with american violist MAT MANERI that is met with critical acclaim spanning constant touring ever since. His 2nd album with ELEVATION quartet, Songs from Afar (Sunnyside 2016), featuring Abraham Burton, John Hebert, Eric McPherson and special guests Mat Maneri and Transylvanian traditional singer Gavril Tarmure won the 2016 DOWNBEAT BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR Award receiving a 5* "masterpiece" review. In 2017 Clean Feed Records releases to rave reviews Sounding Tears featuring Mat Maneri and legendary Evan Parker, one of the pivotal figures of European jazz experimentalism of the last 50 years. His Enesco Re-Imagined (Sunnyside 2010) album dedicated to reinterpreting the music of early XX century classical genius George Enesco and featuring some of NYC most celebrated musicians like Tony Malaby, Gerald Cleaver, Ralph Alessi and tabla legend Badal Roy wins multiple BEST ALBUM OF YEAR from Jazz Journalists Association and performs major venues and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic.

2019 sees the release of Free Fall (Sunnyside), a duet with Amsterdam based clarinetist Alex Simu, a tribute to jazz icon Jimmy Giuffre and his groundbreaking trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow, followed by DARK BLUE a celebration of two decades of close collaboration with baritone sax master Alex Harding. In November Mat Maneri releases DUST featuring Lucian Ban, John Hebert & Randy Peterson and on December 6 Opera de Lyon presents the premiere of OEDIPE REDUX a radical new take on George Enescu magnum opera Oedipe conceived with Mat Maneri for an all star octet featuring Theo Bleckmann, Jen Shyu, Ralph Alessi, Tom Rainey, John Hebert and French bass clarinet virtuoso Louis Sclavis.

In 2020 Lucian Ban releases Transylvanian Folk Songs in trio with Mat Maneri & and legendary John Surman re imagining the Béla Bartók collected folk songs of Romanian people in Transylvania at the beginning of XX century. Album garners critical acclaim with features on NPR, Financial Times, Jazziz, etc.

Read more


Album Review

Lucian Ban: Ways of Disappearing

Read "Ways of Disappearing" reviewed by Stefano Merighi

Il pianista romeno Lucian Ban—che vive e lavora da oltre vent'anni a New York—sostiene di avere come punto di riferimento per il solo piano un vecchio disco di Sun Ra, Monorails and Satellite. Forse però la nettezza del suo tocco possente che plasma accordi sia onirici che concreti riporta più all'arte di Ran Blake e, spesso, a quella di Paul Bley. Lo si percepisce fin dall'incipit di “The Heart of What Does Exist," un felice vagabondare armonico che traccia una ...

Multiple Reviews

Lucian Ban, live dalla natia Transilvania

Read "Lucian Ban, live dalla natia Transilvania" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Musicista prolifico, come leader o sideman, il pianista di origini rumene Lucian Ban presenta per la Sunnyside due lavori, entrambi ricchi di suggestione e registrati in concerto nell'identico luogo--la Baroque Hall di Timisoara, in quella Transilvania di cui l'artista è originario--e tuttavia estremamente diversi tra loro. Abraham Burton, Lucian Ban Blacksalt Sunnyside Records Registrato il 5 giugno 2018, al termine di un tour europeo, il primo CD vede Ban in duo con ...

Album Review

Alex Harding, Lucian Ban: Dark Blue

Read "Dark Blue" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Duo estremamente longevo questo tra il pianista di origini rumene Lucian Ban e il sassofonista di Detroit Alex Harding, questo Dark Blue è il loro quarto album, ma esce a undici anni dal precedente. E la loro intesa è tangibile lungo tutto l'arco del programma, che include solo brani originali (sei di Harding e cinque di Ban) e che ricorda, per intima concentrazione, storici duetto quali quelli di Steve Lacy e Mal Waldron o di Dollar Brand e Archie Shepp. ...

Album Review

Mat Maneri: Dust

Read "Dust" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Nuovo lavoro di Mat Maneri assieme a quello che pare ormai il suo compagno di viaggio prediletto, il pianista rumeno Lucian Ban. I due--che dopo il loro >Transylvanian Concert (ECM, 2013), hanno collaborato numerose volte--sono qui affiancati dall'eccellente contrabbassista John Hébert e dal batterista Randy Peterson, e si dividono anche la titolarità dei brani--cinque di Maneri, due di Ban, mentre i rimanenti due sono improvvisazioni totali. La cifra del lavoro non è poi così diversa dal lavoro in ...

Album Review

Mat Maneri Quartet: Dust

Read "Dust" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The respective artists are firmly rooted in the modern vanguard of experimentation, improvisation and countless offshoots of the jazz vernacular. However, A-list bassist John Hebert is also a veteran of many modern/progressive jazz sessions but, as evidenced here, is also comfortable exploring the outside realm. Hence, the musicians dish out a rather somber and stoic chamber-jazz program amid fragile underpinnings and a slowly-paced gait with asymmetrical pulses and blossoming mini-themes. In addition, Mat Maneri's extended viola choruses assist with steering ...

Album Review

Alex Harding - Lucian Ban: Dark Blue

Read "Dark Blue" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Lucian Ban (piano) and Alex Harding (woodwinds) have performed and recorded together for 20-years besides their prominent activities within global progressive jazz and improvisational circles. The universal language of jazz is conveyed here as Detroit-reared Harding and the Romanian born pianist gel to a variety of tempos amid solstice, reflective sentiment, off-centered blues balladry and bouncy grooves. Toss in some lyrically resplendent tapestries of sound and a crystalline audio production, you are liable to become entranced by the duo's moody ...

Album Review

Lucian Ban, Alex Simu: Free Fall

Read "Free Fall" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Il mondo di Jimmy Giuffre, anzi più nello specifico quello del trio con Paul Bley e Steve Swallow (anche se qui non c'è traccia di contrabbasso) e di un suo storico album in particolare, omonimo di questo e inciso, tranne un brano, nell'autunno (fall, appunto) 1962, è il punto di riferimento di questo notevole album del duo rumeno composto dal cinquantenne pianista Lucian Ban e dal trentottenne clarinettista Alex Simu. In realtà nessuno dei brani presenti in ...

Read more articles


Angles Of Repose, Featuring: Mat Maneri, Drew Gress, Lucian Ban, Randy Peterson

Source: Lwm

Brooklyn, NY: The palimpsestic Series, curated by Oscar Noriega, presents “Angles of Repose” featuring Mat Maneri, Viola, Drew Gress, Bass, Lucian Ban, Piano and Randy Peterson, drums, October 24, 8pm at Barbes, Park Slope Brooklyn. Angles, always presented as a quartet led by Maneri and Ban, will be presenting new music for this performance. “Angles of Repose” is the continuation of a musical rapport developing between violist Mat Maneri and pianist Lucian Ban which features an ever changing roster of ...



Pianist Lucian Ban Interviewed at AAJ

Pianist Lucian Ban Interviewed at AAJ

Source: All About Jazz

One of the most creative new musicians on the New York City scene, Lucian Ban is a Transylvanian pianist and composer whose collaborations with fellow NYC jazzers continue to produce a burgeoning collection of original music. Recordings with Bob Stewart, Alex Harding, and Jorge Sylvester highlight Lucian's prodigious recent output, a body of work that includes five releases in the last five years.

After studying composition at the Bucharest Music Academy from 1992 to 1995, Ban formed his first stable ...

”Ban plays with a fluency and sensibility that recalls Vladimir Horowitz as much as McCoy Tyner” – All About Jazz “Like many of the great masters, pianist Lucian Ban makes personal art that feels universal” – DOWNBEAT “Ban’s tasteful, reflective piano playing combines the elegance and technical precision of the European classical tradition with wide-ranging musical interests and a passion for improvisation” – Jeff Stockton, All About Jazz “Ban suggests Keith Jarrett, Monk and early Abdullah Ibrahim with 20th-century classical infusion” – The Guardian ”Ban plays with a fluency and sensibility that recalls Vladimir Horowitz as much as McCoy Tyner” – All About Jazz




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Oedipe Redux

Sunnyside Records


Ways of Disappearing

Sunnyside Records



Sunnyside Records


Free Fall

Sunnyside Records


Dark Blue

Sunnyside Records



Sunnyside Records


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.