212

Benny Lackner Trio: Sign of the Times

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
New York-based pianist Benny Lackner came to my attention with the innovative jazz/pop outing Migratory (HeadFullaBrains, 2002) by Maroon, the group he co-leads with vocalist Hillary Maroon. That disc didn't make the splash it deserved, but in the music we loosely define as jazz, big splashes are fairly rare.

Fast forward a few years—past another even more innovative Maroon outing, Who the Sky Betrays (HeadFullaBrains, 2003), and two earlier Lackner trios discs, and we find that Benny Lackner has tuned his piano trio vision into a sharp focus on Sign of the Times.

Lackner can be tagged a young lion—as of this writing, he is not yet thirty years old—but 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. The set has a decidedly modern feel, starting out with the Prince-penned title tune and including Björk's "Isobel." It makes a couple of nods to the tradition on Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" and the closer, Gershwin's "How About You," which starts out reverent before the trio gives it a stretch. Also included are four forward-looking Lackner originals and one more tune he co-wrote with bassist Derek Nievergelt and drummer Robert Perkins.

Can we lump Lackner into the "Brad Mehldau school" of young pianists? It seems like a large club, if you listen to the critics, one that includes just about anyone with a melodic, lyrical approach. But Lackner, Nievergelt and Perkins have developed their own voice on a set that mixes the old and new nicely, with a subtle spicing of the sound in spots with various electric keyboards.

I said "every tune a highlight," but I'll pick a favorite anyway: "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!

Visit Benny Lackner on the web.


Track Listing: 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.

Title: Sign of the Times | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nagel Heyer Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!" CD/LP/Track Review Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Skylines" CD/LP/Track Review Skylines
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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