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Laszlo Gardony: Life In Real Time

Dan Bilawsky By

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Life In Real Time is somewhat unique in that it's in the mold of Laszlo Gardony's previous recordings and a departure from the norm for that pianist of note. And just how is that possible? That's easy to answer: Gardony hews to his norm by working with his longtime trio mates—bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel—and he shies away from it by adding three saxophonists to the mix. In doing so, he highlights his musical relationship with Israel and Lockwood while expanding the scope of his music and shining a spotlight on three reed men who rarely get the credit and attention they deserve—Don Braden, Stan Strickland, and Bill Pierce.

This program was recorded live at the Berklee Performance Center in September of 2014, and it's clear from the start—the ebullient, NOLA-inspired "Bourbon Street Boogie"—that Gardony and company are feeding off of the energy in the room. This sextet exhibits a strong group dynamic right off the bat, but Pierce manages to steal the show on that opening number. His sinewy saxophone proves to be a dominating force whenever it takes flight. From there, it's off to the driving "Breakout," a number that opens on a three minute Israel solo exploration and features a memorable Gardony spot, and "Gemstones," a piece that finds Pierce out front again.

While the majority of the album focuses on Gardony originals, the midpoint of the program features two covers—a rhythmically straightened "Lullaby Of Birdland" that puts Braden at center stage and a lightly waltzing "Motherless Child" that features Strickland on bass clarinet. That low-end horn makes another appearance on the slow-roaming "New Song," but Strickland is back on saxophone for the last two numbers in the set—"The Other One," a pleasing swinger delivered at a comfortable pace, and "Out On Top," a joyous odd-metered jaunt that ends this offering on an upbeat note. Those downloading the album off of iTunes have an opportunity to hear one more number from this concert—"Spirit Dance," featuring Strickland on vocals—but those purchasing the CD shouldn't feel slighted: these eight tracks contain more than enough musical riches to keep the ears happy and keep the toes tapping.

Track Listing: Bourbon Street Boogie; Breakout; Gemstones; Lullaby Of Birdland; Motherless Child; New Song; The Other One; Out On Top

Personnel: Laszlo Gardony: piano; John Lockwood: bass; Yoron Israel: drums; Stan Strickland: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Don Braden: tenor saxophone; Bill Pierce: tenor saxophone.

Title: Life In Real Time | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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