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Bernhard Lackner - December 2006

On Those Days, his debut recording, Austrian bassist Bernhard Lackner demonstrates a musical maturity far beyond what his age might initially indicate. With an assorted compilation of tracks spanning a contemporary fusion of jazz, pop, funk, and hip hop styles, Lackner's performance delivers a profound statement. Accompanied by saxophonist Jeff Coffin from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and produced by Adam Nitti, Those Days immediately makes Lackner one of this year's artists to watch. As a solo artist, Lackner has presented his music at events such as the Euro Bass Day and NoiBassisti Groove Festival in Italy, Austria's Outreach Jazz Festival, and BassUp! in the United States.

In this interview, Lackner talks about his background, influences, studying in the United States, Those Days, and music in Austria.

Can you tell us about your background and when you began playing bass?

Bernhard Lackner I am originally from Austria, and I grew up in a musical family. My parents are retired music educators, and my brother is a classical musician so I was surrounded by different kinds of music starting at a very young age. The first instrument I studied was the piano. After that, I picked up the guitar and finally bass when I was 14 years old. I studied music at college in Linz, Austrian with Austrian bassist Helmut Schoenleitner, and then I eventually moved to the United States in order to take lessons from bassists Adam Nitti and Kai Eckhardt.

Which bassists have inspired your approach and taught you the most about being a bass player?

Most of my inspiration has come from the music of Adam Nitti, John Patitucci, Kai Eckhardt, Matt Garrison, Janek Gwizdala, Pippo Matino, Victor Bailey, and Victor Wooten. My former teachers including Adam Nitti, Kai Eckhardt, Andy Mayerl, and Helmut Schoenleitner have showed me what it takes to be a great bass player.

How did you end up in Nashville?

After college, I went to Atlanta to study with Adam Nitti. It was a really great experience, and we became good friends, Then, I moved back to Austria. Meanwhile, Adam moved to Nashville, and I wanted to go back to the United States to study with him so I moved to Nashville in 2005 because Adam was there.

What can you share with us regarding the tracks on Those Days?

Most of the tracks that have been included on Those Days were composed after I listened to the music of the bassists that I've been inspired by. For example, I'll purchase a new recording that just blows me away, and then I'll try to write a tune similar to it. Generally, the end result is something completely different from the original source of inspiration.

How did you assemble your band and record Those Days?

When I came to Nashville to study with Adam Nitti in 2005, I asked him if he could help me lineup musicians and a studio so that I could record a demo with a couple songs. He contacted saxophonist Jeff Coffin, drummer Derico Watson, pianist Blair Masters, guitarist Scott Bernard, and rapper Earthworm Jim. These cats recorded my demo with me at Brent Truitt's studio in Nashville. It turned out so well that I decided to compose more music and record an entire CD. Adam and Brent really made it happen for me.

Bernhard Lackner What sort of setup did you use for this recording?

I mainly used my Hemage 6-string for all the songs except for "You Never Know," "It's Our World," and "Those Days." On those tunes, I used my Hemage 5-string. We kept it simple. I just plugged directly into an Avalon preamp in the studio. For some of the licks and solos, we used some plug-ins to add an envelope filter and reverb.

Where can viewers purchase Those Days?

The easiest way for people to check out the new tunes is through my web site, There you will finds links to online retailers that normally stock my CD.

Do you have any plans to tour as the leader of your own group?

That would be my ultimate dream. I have a group of great musicians to play my music. I just recently found a booking agent so I've been playing at festivals in Europe and the United States under my own name.

How does the music scene in Austria differ from the United States?

Obviously, the Austrian scene is much smaller than the one in the United States. Austria has a deep history when it comes to classical music so there is always a lot of that style being performed in Austria, but the amount of improvised music is awesome, too. There is much more diversity in the United States and many more tours as well.

Selected Discography

Bernhard Lackner
Solo Recordings
Those Days


Hemage 5-String Fretted
Hemage 6-String Fretted

Hartke 2500

Hartke 4x10 XL Series

D'Addario Nickel Wound (6-String: .032 - .130)

Boss Digital Reverb RV-5


For more information on Bernhard Lackner, visit:

© 2006 The IIB