BIO 

 

Born in Berlin to an american father and a german mother, Benny Lackner, moved to California at the age of 13. He received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts under the direction of Charlie Haden and David Roitstein. From 1997 - 1998 he studied privately with his mentor, pianist Brad Mehldau. He has performed at numerous jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux and Monterey. He has worked with artists such as the late Billy Higgins, Marc Ribot, BradShepik, Pheeroan akLaff and is now residing in NYC and Berlin where he is working with his internationally touring trio as well as a sideman and composer.

The Benny Lackner Trio just finished its fifth huge world tour playing 19 concerts in 19 cities starting with Auckland, NZ and ending in Lausanne, CH.  The trio featuring Benny Lackner (piano,  electronics),  Jerôme Regard (bass) and Matthieu Chazarenc (drums) was founded in New York City in 2002. Past concerts include five extensive Asia – Australia – New Zealand  tours taking them to places such as  Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Jakarta. Other tours included Brazil,  South Africa, Canada, Portugal, Spain, United States, Germany, France, Croatia, South Africa, Austria, Turkey, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The trio has headlined at jazz clubs such as the Blue Note in NYC, Joe’s Pub in NYC, Smalls in NYC, Birdland in Vienna and the A-Trane in Berlin, sharing the stage with John Scofield at the Traumzeit Jazz Festival,  the American Jazz Festival in Paris, as well as concerts at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival, Viersen Jazz Festival, Leverkusener Jazztage, the Augsburger Jazzsommer and the Düsseldorfer Jazz Rallye.

Siskiyou, the trio’s 5th album was released by Unit Records in April 2015 (http://www.unitrecords.com/).

 

 

“Benny Lackner has a distinctive compositional voice that sounds lucid and fresh. He’s found a cool way to write for this trio.”-Brad Mehldau

 

 

PRESS Release 2019

Benny Lackner: Drake

Die neue Gelassenheit

Pressetext, Deutsch, lange Version

Benny Lackner kennt das Leben auf Achse nur zu gut. Einmal absolvierte der rastlose Pianist gar 21 Konzerte an 21 aufeinanderfolgenden Tagen. Irgendwann aber wollte er einfach nur noch ankommen. Von dieser Sehnsucht nach einem Zuhause und sicheren Hafen handelt „Drake“, das mittlerweile sechste Album seines Trios. 


Ein gemeinsamer Live-Auftritt mit Schlagzeuger Matthieu Chazarenc und Bassist Jerome Regard beim 2016er X-Jazz-Festival bereitete den Weg für die neue Gelassenheit: „Wir hatten uns eine ganze Weile nicht gesehen und waren total entspannt. Es ging nicht darum, uns zu beweisen oder zu zeigen wie schnell wir spielen können. Es ging nur noch um den Song und darum, den Melodien Raum zu geben. An dem Abend haben wir unseren Sound als Band endgültig gefunden.“ 

Schon bald kristallisierten sich die Songs für das nächste Studio-Album heraus. Teile des Materials gehen auf konkrete Ereignisse zurück und entstanden aus dem Augenblick heraus. „Rise to the Occasion“ zum Beispiel dreht sich um Begebenheiten, bei denen Lackner gefordert war, über sich selbst hinaus zu wachsen. Das majestätisch schreitende „Good Stuff“ wiederum basiert auf einem Zitat aus dem Film „The Wedding Crashers“. 

„Rise to the Occasion“ ist mit seinen Field Recordings, Drum-Loops und tief schürfenden Improvisationen ein Highlight von „Drake“ und steht stellvertretend für den charakteristischen elektroakustischen Stil der Formation. Gleichzeitig repräsentiert der Song das Prinzip, sich voll und ganz auf die Essenz zu konzentrieren: „Manchmal denke ich mir zu komplexe Sachen aus. Jerome und Matthieu erden mich dann als erstes wieder.“ Eine ihrer Methoden: Ein feierliches 4-Gänge-Menü, mit dem die französischen Musiker und Hobby-Köche jede neue Aufnahme feierlich einweihen. 

Zugleich bedeutet „Drake“ für Lackner auch das vorläufige Ende einer persönlichen Reise. Mit 13 zog er mit seinen Eltern in die USA, kehrte erst mit 30 wieder zurück nach Berlin. Lange befand er sich in einer Art ewigem Transit: „Ich habe mich an beiden Orten zu Hause und entwurzelt gefühlt.“ Die ehemaligen Mitglieder seines amerikanischen Trios ließ er für Auftritte und Aufnahmen einfliegen – was das Gefühl, zwischen den Welten zu schweben, nur verstärkte. 

Heute würde er Berlin gegen keinen Ort der Welt eintauschen. Dass er für das Album wieder auf Achse sein wird, kann er nun verschmerzen: Wer starke Wurzeln geschlagen hat, den schreckt die Ferne nicht. 

Benny Lackner: Drake

Die neue Gelassenheit

Pressetext, Deutsch, Onesheet Version

Benny Lackner kennt und schätzt das Leben auf Achse. Irgendwann aber wollte er einfach nur noch ankommen. Von dieser Sehnsucht nach einem Zuhause handelt „Drake“, das sechste Album seines Trios. Darauf pflegt die Band eine neue Version ihres charakteristischen elektroakustischen Stils mit Field Recordings, Drum-Loops und komplexen Improvisationen. 

Viele Jahre ist Lackner zwischen den USA und Deutschland gependelt und hat sich „an beiden Orten zu Hause und entwurzelt gefühlt.“ Heute würde er Berlin gegen keinen Ort der Welt eintauschen wollen. „Drake“ markiert diesen Wendepunkt – und steht für eine neue Gelassenheit. 



Benny Lackner: Drake

Die neue Gelassenheit

Pressetext, Deutsch, Kurzversion

Auf „Drake“ ist Lackner endlich angekommen – in Berlin, in der neuen Gelassenheit, in einem einzigartigen elektroakustischen Jazz. 


Benny Lackner: Drake

A Deeper Sense of Trust

Text for the Press, English, long Version


Life on the road – Benny Lackner knows it all too well. Widely respected for his relentless touring, the pianist once performed 21 gigs on 21 subsequent days. At one point, however, he just yearned for a place to lay his hat. Drake, the 6th album of his trio, is about his search for a home and a place of refuge. 

It is a record with a happy ending. When the band performed at the X-Jazz-Festival in 2016, there was suddenly an even deeper sense of trust between its members: "I hadn't seen Matthieu and Jerome in a while and everything felt completely relaxed," Benny remembers, "We weren't trying to prove ourselves or show off. All that mattered were the songs and awarding each melody enough space to fully resonate. That night, we solidified our sound as a unit." Soon enough, without any kind of pressure, the songs for the next studio album started to materialize.

Conceptually, parts of the new material deal with concrete events from Lackner's life, which he put to music in spontaneous bursts of creativity. "Rise to the Occasion", for example, was written in response to a variety of events, which forced him to excel beyond his personal limitations. Other songs were inspired by seemingly unspectacular triggers, such as "Good Stuff", which is based on a quote from comedy The Wedding Crashers

With its unique blend of field recordings, drum loops and intricate improvisations, "Rise to the Occasion" has turned into something of a signature tune for Drake as a whole. It also perfectly summarizes the recognizable electro acoustic style of the band and its commitment to carving out the essence of their musical ideas: "When I'm on my own, I will occasionally come up with music that's overly complicated," Lackner admits, "Playing with the trio is an extremely grounding experience." One of the preferred techniques of his French colleagues and amateur chefs: Preparing a four course dinner on the evening leading up to a new recording session. 

Drake also marks the end of a long journey for Lackner. At the age of 13, he moved from Germany to the USA with his parents, not to return to Berlin until he was 30. For many years, he lacked a clear center of gravity: "I felt at home in both places, I felt out of place in both places." For a while, he even had the members of his first trio flown in to Europe from the States for their gigs – which only served to deepen the inner divide.

Today, he wouldn't trade Berlin for any other place in the world. His firm roots are sure to be a great support. Now the album is released, it is only a matter of time before Lackner hits the road again.

Benny Lackner: Drake

A Deeper Sense of Trust

Text for the Press, English, Onesheet Version


Life on the road – Benny Lackner knows it all too well. Drake, the 6th album of his trio, is about his search for a home and a place of refuge. It sees the band discovering a deeper sense of trust and honing its recognizable electro acoustic style with  field recordings, drum loops and intricate improvisations. 

For many years, Lackner oscillated between the USA and Germany, feeling "at home in both places and out of place in both places." Today, he wouldn't trade Berlin for any other place in the world. Drake is testimony to this new found sense of belonging – both on a personal and musical level. 


Benny Lackner: Drake

A Deeper Sense of Trust

Pressetext, Englisch, Kurzversion

Between two worlds: Lackner has found his home, a deeper sense of trust and the perfect electro acoustic trio sound. 

ABOUT SISKIYOU

ALL ABOUT JAZZ 2015: "Siskiyou is Lackner’s fifth trio outing, and his second with this particular line-up, after 2012’s Cachuma  (BMH Productions). It is his best and most focused outing. The trio has gelled into a tight and beautifully synchronized unit, tinted with rock stylings and drum & bass beats. The leader’s compositions haves a distinctive melodic containment—notes don’t fly all over the place, but rather stay channeled within a relatively narrow range, making, with his trio mates, a relentless, alluring, almost machine-like rhythms. Lackner has perfected the mix of electric and acoustic. Using devices like the Musser Ampli-Celesta, Wurlitzer, Solina String Synth and Nord Lead alongside the piano, he crafts multi-toned soundscapes. Where Cachuma had more of a Bill Evans vibe, Siskiyou leans in the direction of Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, on a more inward, reflective, and overtly beautiful style in the telling of its tales." (Get full article here :http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=50828 )

 

JAZZ PODIUM 2015: "After listening to Siskiyou, one is left with a magical, trancelike feeling." (Get full article here: Jazz Podium 2015 )

 

CONCERTO MAGAZINE 2015: " In the legacy of Esbjorn Svenson: The balanced soundscape is a direkt result in the respect for one another. Their approach is intimate, impressionistic and flows back and fourth from deep streams of consciousness to firey bursts with electronic embellishments, while always keeping the acoustic piano in the main focus of the band. The way he deals with his modernistic, european approach and his relaxed, american way of handling things, makes you realize that Benny Lackner combines his american with his european influences seamlessly and remains true to his roots." (Get full article here : Concerto2-15 )

 

JAZZTHING 2015: "Benny Lackner, Jerome Regard and Matthieu Chazarenc manage to keep every song unique and interesting with poignant effects and driving beats, clear phrasing and atmospheric grooves. They have toured all over the world with their music and “Siskiyou” will give them more material to continue on their journey." (Get full article here: Jazzthing108 )

 

Leipziger Volkszeitung 2015: "The new Album Siskiyou sounds almost too perfect,  as if it could fill the void left by the defunct Esbjörn Svensson Trio. The German-American pianist Benny Lackner can immerse himself in contemplative depths and then suddenly shake off those moments by jumping into heavy groove.  He doesn’t imitate nor does he belabor his own ideas. He is sufficient unto himself, whether drawing from his own inventions or from David Bowie, and with bass player Jerôme Regardand percussionist Matthieu Chazarenche has the perfect partners. Their extensive excursions allow their mutual intuitive understanding to grow into an ever tightening and solid union. Lackner and his crew’s suggestive collaborations escalate into electronics and effects, but without getting into blather, and they culminate in a distinct full-fledged drive, so that these unfortunately mere thirty-five enthralling minutes could easily have continued much longer."  Dr. Ulrich Steinmetzger (Jazzthing, Leipziger Volkszeitung, March 2015)

 

ABOUT Cachuma

“Benny Lackner, der dt- amerikanische Pianist, braucht mittlerweile überhaupt keine Vergleiche mehr mit den großen Namen wie Jarrett oder Mehldau zu scheuen. Sein großer Vorteil allerdings ist, dass Lackner schon seit Jahren seine eigene Pianosprache und seinen eigenen Kompositionsstil gefunden hat.. Somit kommt er auch keinem der oben Genannten in die Quere. Der Pianist hat[…] seinen Platz in der Oberliga der Jazz Klavier Trios gefunden…”. 5 Sterne Höchstwertung (hervorragend)– Concerto Feb 2012

 

“Lackner may be the first established pianist to come from the Mehldau school. With acontemporary approach, he helps give the piano trio a much-needed facelift.”-John Kelman, All About Jazz

 

“Where the BadPlus goes for the jugular on it’s recordings, the Lacknerites keep it understated, a rarity for any jazz album”. JazzTimes

 

Not the Same, featured funked up jazzy versions of both Hendrix and Nena. Their sophomore effort includes interpretations of Gershwin; Prince, as the deliciously funky title cut has Derek Nievergelt’s bass pumping it up; Björk, with her darkly isolative “Isobel” portrayed more organically than originally thought possible as Lackner switches between acoustic and electric; and a standard, “How About You”, injected with a huge shot of rhythmic gas by Nievergelt and drummer Robert Perkins (read full review…) 
-Elliot Simon, All About Jazz

 

"Benny Lackner Trio Lackner mixes originals, Mingus and Monk tunes, and some eclectic covers. He also blends acoustic and electronic keyboards as well as anyone, allowing Derek Nievergelt (bass) and Robert Perkins (drums) to etch out some deep dancefloor grooves." Gehr, The Village Voice

 

Lackner, through carefully chosen accents on synthesizer, elevates to bold and daring musical moments.Even with complex patterns Perkins’ rhythms flow effortlessly and are carefully differentiated in their dynamics while never losing sight of the groove. Nievergelt’s bass lines comment upon the offerings of his partners while staying in constant communication with them. And Lackner has mastered the art of controlling the dosage of musical ecstasy, leaving himself time and space to develop and process his themes. The overall effect is one of tastefully jazzy collaboration, not oriented to soloskills but imparting a  sense of the performers truly sharing the concert experience with the audience. A song like “If Six Was Nine” builds from its first reserved bass motifs to wild eruptions of temperamental outbursts, whereas a contrasting piece such as “Will It Matter” could hardly be any “cooler.” Ralf Dombrowski, Sueddeutsche Zeitung

 

"Lackner also uses Fender Rhodes and a variety of other keyboards to texturize his work. Lackner also shares a penchant for simple melodies that, while singable, are sometimes a little oddly askew also, something he no doubt learned from his time studying with Brad Mehldau." John Kelman, All About Jazz

 

ABOUT Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times proves itself a wonderfully realized work of art, every tune a highlight, and with it Lackner steps into the ranks of fully developed jazz artists. “Rambo Sex Party.” The title might suggest slash and burn carnal carnage, but the tune has a genuine tenderness, insistent yet gentle, as if our man Rambo has a softer side. Excellent! (read full review…)  Dan McClenaghan , All About Jazz

The recorded sound of this album is brittle. Everything glares. Robert Perkins’ cymbals sound like glass shattering in an echo chamber. Sign of the Times is piano trio music not for the faint of heart. Indeed, Prince’s title track kicks and twitches and hammers and has more in common with punk culture than jazz as we have known it. “Dresden Blues” has a bent blues form and a nasty stuttering syncopated groove. This trio is multi-dimensional. Its raw creative energy and brute force is directed by Lackner’s musical sophistication and imposing technical facility Thomas Conrad, JAZZTIMES, Nov 2006 

“Red Hook,” with its lightly funky groove, and “Sheep’s Dog,” with its more driving bottom-heavy rhythmic conceit, demonstrate a style that combines the pop sensibility of E.S.T., the quirky disposition of the Bad Plus (albeit less aggressively so) and the reflective personality of Mehldau into something that feels familiar in all those spheres and yet has a personal voice of its own. John Kelman, All About Jazz

“Where the BadPlus goes for the jugular on it’s recordings, the Lacknerites keep it understated, a rarity for any jazz album.”). All About Jazz

“Lackner may be the first established pianist to come from the Mehldau school. With a contemporary approach, he helps give the piano trio a much-needed face lift.”
John Kelman,AllAboutJazz.com

Sign of the Times proves itself a wonderfully realized work of art, every tune a highlight,  they give the piano trio a much-needed facelift.”) Their sonic embellishments on the sound of the acoustic piano trio (slight electronic enhancements by Lackner and some drum programming by Perkins) give the overall sound a subtle yet modern, ambient feel.
-http://cdbaby.com/cd/bennylacknertrio

 

About Pilgrim

Lackner and company definitely fit into the Mehldau mold: a mix of subtlety and insistence, understatement and delicate beauty underlain by a firm melodic path. The sound is introspective and understated— no flash or pyrotechics—with lots of breathing room and first-rate musicianship, reminiscent (delving into the pop world) of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding (Columbia, ’67) or Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks (Warner Brothers, ’68). A sound that caresses, seduces, and lasts. (read full review…) Dan McClenaghan

 

 

Presse Text

Deutsche Version:

Der deutsch-amerikanische Pianist Benny Lackner verbrachte seine Kindheit in Berlin und lebte seit seinem 13. Lebensjahr in Kalifornien und New York. Er studierte am California Institute of the Arts unter der Leitung von Charlie Haden und David Roitstein. Während der Studienzeit erhielt er Privatunterricht bei seinem Mentor, dem Pianisten Brad Mehldau. In New York gründete er 2002 das Benny Lackner Trio, mit dem er als Headliner in den etablierten New Yorker Clubs wie dem Blue Note, Joe’s Pub und Smalls auftrat. Daneben arbeitete Benny Lackner zuletzt mit Künstlern wie Billy Higgins, Marc Ribot, Brad Shepik, Pheeroan akLaff, Hillary Maroon und teilte die Bühne mit John Scofield und Elvis Costello. Seit einigen Jahren spielt Benny Lackner wieder zunehmend in Deutschland, unter anderem an der Seite von Nina Hagen, Eva Mattes, Charlotte Greve, Lisa Bassenge, Ignaz Dine, Rainer Winch, Paul Kleber und Felix Wahnshaffe.

Das Benny Lackner Trio besteht derzeit aus Benny Lackner (Piano, Wurlitzer, Electronics), Jerôme Regard (Kontrabass, E-Bass, Effects) und Matthieu Chazarenc (Schlagzeug). Ihre bereits 6. erfolgreiche Asien Tournee führte sie unter anderem in den Cotton Club in Tokyo und das Motion Blue in Jakarta.

In Europa spielte das Trio in zahlreichen Städten wie Berlin, München, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Zürich, Lausanne, Wien, Mailand, Istanbul, Zagreb, Prag, Lissabon, Madrid, Barcelona und Paris. Weitere Tourneen führte das Benny Lackner Trio nach Sydney, Melbourne, Hongkong, Jakarta,Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco und Chicago.Festivals wie das Traumzeit Jazz Festival, das American Jazz Festival in Paris, das Montreux Jazz Festival, sowie Konzerte auf dem North Sea Jazz Festival, dem Monterey Jazz Festival, dem Viersen Jazz Festival, dem MIB-Night Festival Bremen, den Leverkusener Jazztagen, dem Augsburger Jazzsommer und der Düsseldorfer Jazz Rallye gehören zu den erfolgreichen Festivalstationen von Benny Lackner.

Alben:

Not the Same (Nagel-Heyer)

Sign of the Times (Nagel-Heyer)

Pilgrim (Straydog / BHM)

Cachuma (BHM)

Siskiyou (Unit / P-Vine Japan)

Benny Lackner, der deutsch - amerikanische Pianist, braucht mittlerweile überhaupt keine Vergleiche mehr mit den großen Namen wie Jarrett oder Mehldau zu scheuen. Sein großer Vorteil allerdings ist, dass Lackner schon seit Jahren seine eigene Pianosprache und seinen eigenen Kompositionsstil gefunden hat.. Somit kommt er auch keinem der oben Genannten in die Quere.

Der Pianist hat [...] seinen Platz in der Oberliga der Jazz Klavier Trios gefunden...". 5 Sterne Höchstwertung (hervorragend)- Concerto Magazine

“Benny Lackner has a distinctive compositional voice that sounds lucid and fresh. He’s found a cool way to write for this trio.”-Brad Mehldau

„Das neue Album Siskiyou klingt fast so perfekt, als könnte es die Lücke, die der verstorbene Esbjörn Svensson mit seinem Trio hinterlassen hat, füllen.“ Leipziger Volkszeitung 2015