Drawing upon European classical music, Transylvanian folk, and modern post-bop jazz, pianist Lucian Ban first emerged in his native Romania the mid-'90s. Based in New York since 1999, he has drawn praise for varied releases including his 2013 duo date with violinist Mat Maneri, Transylvanian Concert, and his 2016 quartet sessions with bassist John Hébert, Songs from Afar.
Born in 1969 in Romania, Ban was raised in the rural farming village of Teaca in northwest Transylvania. Growing up, he developed a love of traditional Romanian folk, as well as classical music. Around age seven, he moved with his family to Cluj, where he started taking piano and composition lessons. He progressed throughout his teen years, discovering jazz along the way. After high school, he honed his skills studying composition at the Bucharest Music Academy. He also began leading his own Jazz Unit ensemble, with whom he recorded two albums on Romania's Green Records, including 1999's From Now On, which won Best Jazz Album in Romania.