Dan Blacksberg

2012 Pew Fellow

Dan Blacksberg, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“Most of the music I have composed has worked as both an anchor for a specific technique and as a jumping-off point to push that technique to new levels.”

Spanning avant-garde jazz, modern classical music, improvised music, and klezmer—a musical tradition with roots in Eastern-European Jewish culture—Dan Blacksberg (b. 1983) brings a burly, rough-edged sound that pushes at the technical and textural extremes of his instrument, the trombone. Blacksberg has developed a complex style that blends experimental and klezmer music, drawing on unexpected techniques to expand the scope of the latter genre. His ambition is to create a solo body of work that refines this unique blend and establishes him as a major voice on his instrument, after many years of working as a sideman. “I see myself as continuing a lineage of experimental musicians whose work touches on and interacts with a variety of musical worlds,” says Blacksberg. “I am working to create new ways of playing for myself and for my instrument.”

Blacksberg leads the Daniel Blacksberg Trio and Electric Simcha, and plays with guitarist Nick Millevoi in new music duo Archer Spade; with Julius Masri on circuit modified electronics, Blacksberg explores the harsh and the sublime as Superlith. Pillar Without Mercy, his first release with his new band, Deveykus, was released in June 2013 by Tzadik Records. Deveykus blends the sounds of Jewish music with experimental doom metal and delves into Hasidic nigunim (wordless melodies) in order to draw out new sounds. In 2013, Blacksberg participated in Ain Gordon’s White Box Residencies project at the Center, in collaboration with musical notation specialist David Gutkin. With Center support, Blacksberg also worked closely with composer and scholar George Lewis over the summer and fall of 2013. He was a composer-in-residence at the UCross Foundation in Wyoming in the spring of 2014, and in August 2014, Lithuania-based NoBusiness Records will release the Dan Blacksberg Trio’s second album, Perilous Architecture.

Dan Blacksberg, “Filament and Void,” 2011. Dan Blacksberg: trombone; Matt Engle: bass; Mike Szekely: drums. Recorded by Eric Carbonara.


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