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Berlin was born in Queens, New York, on January 17, 1953. He studied violin for ten years until he was 14, when he was inspired to play bass after seeing the Beatles. He then attended Berklee College of Music to study bass.
On August 30 2013, he married Gabriela Sinagra, a jazz singer and vocal coach from Rosario, Argentina.
n a review for his album Low Standards, Bass Musician Magazine said, “Anytime I mention [Jeff Berlin], there seems to be a ripple in the force and the wave of Berlin supporters or antagonists come to the surface and spout-off their opinions. No matter where you stand regarding Jeff’s musical philosophy, no one can reasonably deny the simple fact that Jeff seriously knows his craft and is one of the major players of our time.”
Berlin’s playing style has been compared to that of Jaco Pastorius; however, Berlin has repeatedly stated his distaste for Jaco-imitators.