Brooklyn Jazz Underground: Lackner and Iversen

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count

Benny Lackner Trio
Sign of the Times
Nagel Heyer

Anne Mette Iversen
This is my House
Okapi Records

Brooklyn jazz is happening and those who venture across the bridge will be delighted by the hard-edged ethnically-flavored jazz that they find on the other side. High priced Manhattan real estate has also made places like Park Slope an attractive alternative and as a result, a delightful club scene has sprung up that fosters musical creativity. Two great places to start exploring the new artist collective known as "The Brooklyn Jazz Underground are Sign of the Times and This is my House, the latest from keyboardist Benny Lackner and bassist Anne Mette Iversen respectively.

Though born in Berlin, Lackner's piano trio is an outgrowth of NYC jazz culture whose debut, 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. In between are original Lackner compositions that showcase the leader's mastery of both acoustic and electric pianos with a heavier emphasis on the former.

Thematically, the sound is a strong three-legged stool that is buttressed by deft trade offs of the melody and rhythm by each player with elegant interplay highlighting the pensively satisfying "Soul Eyes , "Ballade and "Sister Love . These are offset by the electrically charged weight of the "Feisty Beast and "Rambo Sex Party , whose coy pianistic foreplay builds to a percussive climax before collapsing into melodic snuggling.

Like Lackner, Iversen is an international Brooklyn transplant. Hailing from Denmark, she artfully blends classical European training with deliciously palpable arrangements of original music for a beautifully textured experience. This quartet boasts tenor wizard John Ellis, whose own funky style has been a part of guitarist Charlie Hunter's band, and drummer Otis Brown III, a fixture with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. Rounding out this foursome is pianist Danny Grissett who can usually be found sitting in with the finest of NYC jazzers or leading his own trio.

The broad rhythmic base of "Where to Place the House is custom made for Ellis to wail against while "Hm#1 , "Loisaida and the burningly free funky closer "Up give him liberal improvisatory reign to display his gorgeous tone. Grissett alternates lead and rhythm to add an interesting openness to "And Off They Went before he exquisitely opens the Asian- tinged smoky ballad "Dear Captain . With all this power at her disposal, Iversen adeptly leads things through a myriad of colors with precision and creativity. Both these offerings from Brooklyn-based artists whet the appetite for more of the borough's new underground sound.

Tracks and Personnel

Sign of the Times

Tracks: Sign of the Times; Ballade; Dresden Blues; Sister Love; Feisty Beast; Soul Eyes; Rambo Sex Party; Isobel; How About You.

Personnel: Benny Lackner: piano, Fender Rhodes, Nordelectro, Nordlead 2, Hohner Pianet; Derek Nievergelt: bass; Robert Perkins: drums.

This is my House

Tracks: Where to Place the House; And Off They Went; Dear Captain; Hm#1; Loisaida; Asmol; Den flade; Up.

Personnel: Anne Mette Iversen: bass; John Ellis: tenor saxophone; Danny Grissett: piano; Otis Brown III: drums.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things Happen Slowly & Open Book Multiple Reviews Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read Roots In The Green Mountains Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read Green Mountain Jazz Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of Delfeayo Marsalis and Ted Nash" Multiple Reviews In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana" Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets & A Song and Death's Dateless Night" Multiple Reviews Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets & A Song and Death's...
by Doug Collette
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Leonard Cohen and His Legacy" Multiple Reviews Leonard Cohen and His Legacy
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…" Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016


Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.