Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


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 The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Holiday Roundup 2017 Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue Multiple Reviews Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017
Read Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out" Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles" Multiple Reviews Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 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 "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Lee Morgan On Music Matters" Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!