Jim Black


Jim Black Dozent

  • Contact hours Monday
  • Address Berner Fachhochschule
    Bern Academy of the Arts
    Eigerplatz 5a
    3007 Bern


  • Bachelor and Masters in Jazz

  • All levels of drumming, ensemble coaching, listening analysis classes, and composition.


  • Electronic music: real-time improvisational approaches using NI Reaktor and Roli controllers


  • Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.
    Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum & bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop- based electronic textures as his drumming.
    Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.
    By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began twenty years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Lee Konitz, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, Laurie Anderson, and John Zorn.
    After 12 years of leading and releasing six albums of his singer-less-songwriting-post-rock- improv band AlasNoAxis, Jim chose to go in the absolute opposite musical direction by forming a piano trio featuring one of the most in demand NY musicians, Thomas Morgan on bass, and the young Austrian pianist Elias Stemeseder. After three albums and a host of international tours and performances, the fourth cd “Reckon” was released on Intakt Recordings.
  • Performing musician, touring year round throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia as a leader, co-leader, sideman, and solo artist. Regular performances in clubs, concert halls, and international jazz festivals worldwide.
    Artists recorded and toured with include Laurie Anderson, Ray Anderson, bb&c (w/ Nels Cline & Tim Berne), Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, Carlos Bica’s Azul (w/ Frank Möbus), Uri Caine groups (Mahler Project, Goldberg Variations, Omaggio to Luciano Berio, Moonsongs, Mozart Re-imagined, and Plays Gershwin), Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas’ Tiny Bell Trio, Ellery Eskelin Trio (w/Andrea Parkins), Endangered Blood (w/ Trevor Dunn, Oscar Noriega, & Chris Speed), Michael Formanek, Satoko Fuji Trio (w/ Mark Dresser), Mark Helias, Human Feel (w/ Kurt Rosenwinkel, Andrew D’Angelo, & Chris Speed), JAM (w/ Assif Tsahar & Mat Maneri), Lee Konitz, Nguyên Lê, Dave Liebman/Ellery Eskelin Quartet, Myra Melford, Ben Monder Trio (w/ Drew Gress), NDR Big Band with Rainer Tempel, NDR Big Band with Niels Kline, Pachora (w/ Brad Shepik, Skuli Sverrisson, & Chris Speed), Hank Roberts Trio (w/ Marc Ducret), Dewey Redman, Louis Sclavis, Chris Speed’s Yeah No (w/ Cuong Vu & Skuli Sverrisson),Tomasz Stanko Quintet (w/Chris Potter, Craig Taborn, Thomas Morgan), Tomasz Stanko Quartet (w/ David Virelles & Ben Street), Mark Turner, Tyft (w/ Hilmar Jensson & Andrew D’Angelo), and John Zorn.
  • Released six albums of original compositions with the band AlasNoAxis, four with the Jim Black Trio (w/ Elias Stemeseder & Thomas Morgan), and one with the band Malamute. Original compositions featured with the bands Human Feel, Pachora, MeoW, and the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
  • Also has performed on over 225 professionally released recordings.


for composition and recording

New Jazz Works Commission