204

Laszlo Gardony: Natural Instinct

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Laszlo Gardony: Natural Instinct While he's never quite made it into the limelight, Hungarian-born pianist Laszlo Gardony has nevertheless managed to build a small but critically praised body of work since moving to the US in the mid-1980s. Far from revolutionary, Gardony has carved a solid niche for himself by combining elements of his home country's folk music with an accessible mainstream style. Natural Instinct is a logical progression for an artist who doesn't grow in leaps and bounds, but instead continues to solidify his approach and improve it with each new record.

The program consists of half a dozen originals, a handful of standards and one tune by his son Aaron. This piece, "Hidden Message, is the most explicitly modernistic track on the disc, despite the fact that it revolves around very familiar changes. Ever-shifting bar lines, in the hands of bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yuron Israel, feel smooth and unforced, providing a different kind of challenge for the trio.

Gardony's writing covers considerable turf. The Afro-Cuban vibe of the title track contrasts with the Americana roots of "Revolution, which ultimately morphs into a two-chord gospel vamp that lets the trio groove a little harder. Still, while some might take this as an opportunity for unbridled virtuosity, Gardony never overstates his point. Instead, there's an elegant simplicity to his approach that masks a greater facility. "Me and My Echo is a brief three-chord song that, with its folkloric lack of affect, retains a gentle innocence. The spare melody of "Waking Dreams leads into a more insistent modal swing for Gardony's lithe solo.

Gardony's reworking of songs from the standards repertoire proves him to be imaginative, if not particularly dramatic. The opening vamp to a substantially reharmonized "Motherless Child alludes to McCoy Tyner's influence, but Gardony's touch remains light, even when Lockwood and Israel strive to push him harder. "Softly (As in a Morning Sunrise) is equally revamped; Lockwood states the theme before heading into Gardony's most focused solo of the set, building the dynamics but remaining graceful throughout.

Gardony doesn't give everything away when he plays. He's capable of more outré harmonic excursions, as his solo on "Softly proves. But his understated interaction with Lockwood and Israel, and his focus on the melodic essence of every song, show that Gardony is clearly out to make accessible music, even as it belies greater depth. Soothing more than it challenges, Natural Instinct may not rattle any cages, but it exposes the continuing evolution of Gardony's refined and cultured approach to the jazz mainstream.


Track Listing: Natural Instinct; Revolution; Hidden Message; Motherless Child; Me and My Echo; Waking Dreams; Thinking of Stella; Peace; Softly (As in a Morning Sunrise); Someone; Us and the Night and the Music.

Personnel: Laszlo Gardony: piano; John Lockwood: bass; Yoron Israel: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain" CD/LP/Track Review So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Occasional Poems" CD/LP/Track Review Occasional Poems
by John Sharpe
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Yo!" CD/LP/Track Review Yo!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!