The main purpose of the Masterclass held by jazz pianist Benny Lackner at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in October 24th, 2019, was to discuss and apply the concepts of composition, solo development, rhythmic clarity, polyrhythms, harmonic approaches, melodic lines, influences, interaction, and listening in the context of improvisation.
The workshop focused on playing a selection of original songs and standards with emphasis on developing improvisational skills using polyrhythmic ideas, harmonic and melodic approaches that Lackner have worked on. Listening to other musicians and finding the balance between giving others enough room and having a strong presence without being overbearing was also one of the main topics of workshop. Benny Lackner also discussed his influences and showed a few examples of what has inspired him to write certain compositions.
Keywords: composition, solo development, rhythm, polyrhythm, harmony, melody, interaction, improvisation, jazz
Born in Berlin to an american father and a german mother, Benny Lackner, moved to California at the age of 13. He received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts under the direction of Charlie Haden and David Roitstein. From 1997 - 1998 he studied privately with his mentor, pianist Brad Mehldau. He has performed at numerous jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux and Monterey. He has worked with artists such as the late Billy Higgins, Marc Ribot, BradShepik, Pheeroan akLaff and is now residing in NYC and Berlin where he is working with his internationally touring trio as well as a sideman and composer.