Benjamin Lackner

Benjamin Lackner Trio

BENJAMIN LACKNER    piano

JERÔME REGARD   bass

MATTHIEU CHAZARENC   drums

IMG_1165 heller

Benjamin Lackner Quartet

BENJAMIN LACKNER    piano

MATHIAS EICK   trumpet

JERÔME REGARD   bass

MANU KATCHÉ   drums

“Benny Lackner has a distinctive compositional voice that sounds lucid and fresh. I´m honored that I´ve been part of his musical journey.”

Brad Mehldau

Quartet

„Wow, Benjamin Lackner really has made a beautiful piece of work here. Love the tunes and the way they work together as a whole, the playing, the interaction of players and the subtlety throughout. I love the way Mathias gives color to the melodies and how Manu resists playing predictable grooves in favor of expressive response to the tunes and band vibe. No excess showboating, and that dreamy ECM sonic air intact.“

Joe Woodard ( music journalist Downbeat, Jazztimes and others)

ECM-RELEASE of “Last Decade” in autumn 2022 – more information coming soon!

BenjaminLacknerQuartet_bySamHarfouche:ECM Records
Trio

Born in Berlin in 1976, the German-American pianist Benny Lackner moved to California when he was 13, and later on to New York. He lived between the two continents for decades until 2008, when he permanently returned to Berlin. Life on the road was something he had gotten accustomed to, but eventually, he just wanted to settle in and be at home in one place. “Drake”, the newest and sixth album from his trio stems from this longing to be grounded in one place.

The Benny Lackner Trio was founded in 2002 in New York and has played stages around almost the entire world. The long-established relationship relationship between Benny Lackner, drummer Matthieu Chazarenc and bassist Jerome Regard is marked by their telepathic-like understanding in their communication while playing, which has a mature proficiency about it. The three musicians met on a new level of relaxedness at their X-Jazz Festival 2016 performance. “It wasn’t about proving anything or showing off how insanely fast we can play. Instead it was about giving each melody the space which it requires. That evening’s performance was when we found our definitive sound as a band.”

The songs for the new album crystalized soon after.  “Rise to the Occasion”, with its field recordings, drum loops and improvisation, is a highlight of “Drake” and showcases the trio’s characteristic electro-acoustic style. Simultaneously, the song represents the principle of focusing whole heartedly on the underlying essence. It is precisely this — working on a unique electro-acoustic sound in combination with a deep feeling for melodies and harmonies, which do not mold to common patterns and expectations—  which sets this piano trio apart from all the other current Jazz Piano Trios. There are no swing elements and sprawling improvisations with the focus on the soloist, but rather musical themes that are embellished with prudence and emotiveness, which additionally to stimulating electronic effects also carry a calm pulse that is used as the basis for intensive sound explorations. 

“The trio uses elements of the fusion sound from the seventies, but without the overbearing electronic sound one would expect from that era. There are no electronic guitars and the like, interfering with its sound, which is ultimately comprised of the keyboards and occasional electronic effects. Trance like passages creep into “Rise to the Occasion” among other tracks, supported by the steady yet ever growing intensity of the drums, while chirping along above the bass sound, intricately and delicately. Several of the songs are entirely composed this delicately, as the gentle piano sound dabs in the soaring composition “Decompression”, supported by the steady rhythm section, also heard in “It’s gonna Happen”. “Entwurzelt” lets the bassist play the lead with a distorted sound reminiscent of electric guitar and it is exactly these small nuances which enrich the overall endeavor and create an invigorating tension.

This is how music is created, the kind which pours warmly in the solar plexus and gives Jazz a completely modern tone. It is delicate and subtle, ginger and rigorous, and gives the tender space in which one’s own imagination is allowed to roam. In short, this is music for all occasions.

(Wolfgang Giese, www.musikansich.de)

Also an achievement: to form an impressive piece of piano trio art from his now healed inner turmoil…

Reinhard Köchl, JAZZTHING 03/04-2019

…The result of this lengthy process is the album Drake, which he recorded with his trusted trio and which creates a hypnotic pull with its pulsating calm.

Thomas Kölsch, JAZZTHETIK 03/04-2019

An addictive record!

Rondo Magazine 3/26/2019

Lackner’s musical production, in any case, can be definitely considered within the most precious and exciting things we heard in the last few years. Drake is the new album from the Benny Lackner Trio, and since the first time I started listening to it there has been one special thing which amazed me more everything else, and this is the adoption of an extremely essential musical language, at times minimal, which is incredibly far from those mere demonstrations of technique and virtuosity that too often we hear in modern Jazz. In this sense, Lackner has found a extremely personal code for breaking the rules of standard Piano Trio music. The modernity and innovation of Lackner ‘s style, to some extent, are the characteristics that bring him closer to the giants of Jazz that were mentioned before.

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Every now and then you can almost hear seagulls screeching as Lackner and Regard manipulate their instrument sound with subtle electronic effects. Above all, one regularly hears an unreal scraping and creaking, distorted mermaid songs or a dull, dubby roar from the depths of the ship’s hull, especially from the bass on the recording.

Rondo Magazine 03/2019