It’s been just over a year since we last spotted Benny Lackner in Asia, a tumultuous year at that. Benny’s managed to release his fourth CD, entitled Cachuma, while also finding the time to learn the ropes as the first-time father of a lovely baby girl!
For those of you who may still be unfamiliar with Benny Lackner, he is a German-American jazz pianist who studied at the California Institute of the Arts under the direction of Charlie Haden and his mentor, Brad Mehldau. Benny has developed a unique compositional voice, and has gained a reputation for interesting re-interpretions of jazz standards and an eclectic mix of modern songs as well. Moving from an electronics-tinged version of Charles Mingus’s “Moanin’”, to Prince’s “Sign Of The Times”, to original compositions like “Rambo Sex Party”, “Feisty Beast”, or “Transkei”, is not for the faint of heart.
After about 10 years living and working in New York City, Benny has recently relocated to Berlin, and he’s relishing the changes. “This album marks a new beginning”, he said recently. “The making of Cachuma is life-changing for me.” The songs speak to someone searching for a new center while being drawn by feelings from both sides of the Atlantic: “Find Your Place”, “Brooklyn/Berlin”, and, of course, “I Can Do Whatever I Want”.
In an excellent review of Cachuma in AllAboutJazz.com, Dan McClenaghan compares Benny’s work to other artists who have been modernizing the piano trio format, like Medeski Martin & Wood, and e.s.t. (with the late Esbjorn Svensson). “Lackner has molded a very idiosyncratically distinctive artistic voice within the trio format… he sprinkles and spices the sound of the acoustic instrument with subtle electronics… to juice up his nine contemporary sounding compositions and a couple of well-chosen covers.” “He wraps up his fourth CD as a leader doing exactly what he wants to do: making superbly modernistic piano trio music.”
Supporting Benny in this quest is a wonderful French rhythm section, Matthieu Chazarenc on drums, and Jérôme Regard on bass. Matthieu accompanied Benny on his tour of Asia in 2011. He studied drums at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, as well as privately with artists like Jeff Ballard and Ari Hoenig. Along with a vast number of French jazz musicians, Matthieu’s also played with international artists like Paolo Fresu, Robert Glasper, and Mark Turner. Jérôme studied at the Conservatoire National Lyon, and similarly has played with world-class artists like Jan Garbarek, Manu Katché, and Michel Legrand.
The Benny Lackner Trio will be performing in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand from June 16 through 28, on the 2012 tour. Please check our event page for more details on the venues nearest you!