Cleveland Heights, Ohio
September 23, 2001
As ’60s avant-gardist Albert Ayler put it in the title to one of his later albums, music is the healing force of the universe. It was in that spirit that pianist Laszlo Gardony and drummer Jamey Haddad made their musical offering to a modest crowd at NightTown, a cozy eatery in Cleveland Heights. In light of current events, Gardony spoke of the universal language of music and the freedoms that allow the existence of this multicultural trio, which includes the Hungarian pianist, South African-born bassist John Lockwood and native Cleveland drummer Jamey Haddad. Attendees at this limited eight-city tour in support of the trio’s current release Behind Open Doors, were treated to a rarefied mix of jazz combined with snippets of European folk melodies indigenous to Gardony’s homeland, and the world-inflected percussion work of Haddad.
Over the course of two generous sets, Gardony and crew made it clear that this would be anything but the usual background cocktail trio. The material ranged from rollicking lines with a funky accent to gospel strains and the conventional blues form of "The Other One." The ballad "Behind Open Doors" brought forth a rhapsodic dialogue between Gardony and Haddad’s variegated brush strokes. Haddad also utilized various-sized hand drums on the Eastern-flavored "March of 1848," which was based on Hungarian folk melodies. At the upper end of the tempo spectrum, an uncharacteristically brisk romp through "’Round Midnight" and the old warhorse "Giant Steps" left little doubt that this trio could burn when they wanted to.