Fryderyk HD clearly knows his stuff in the jazz world and, just as clearly, considers it a jumping-off point more than a home niche. His first outing has all the marks of a fresh mind whirling with a myriad of ideas, and ready to try them all on for size. Thankfully, it is also the kind of debut which is about exploring and synthesizing one's influences more than recycling them. Sounds Good can appeal to an impressive range of tastes because it has got a little of practically everything.
While the leader's piano work is solid and versatile here, the composing and arranging do just as much to make this recording as sharp and fun as it is. There are echoes of Brad Mehldau and Esbjorn Svensson, particularly in the way the songs are hard to pin down and yet there is enough inviting melody to make sure they never feel difficult. Well, almost neverthere is a dive into electric math-prog with "Core Alchemist" in the late stretch, although it is sandwiched between two beautiful ballads, one flying groove evocative of the Pat Metheny Group and the other a free-floating dialogue between piano and gypsy violin. If that description makes the sequence sound jarring, perish the thought. Sounds Good ties all its tones together splendidly and smoothly.
Juicy guitar and light electronics spice things up in some spots, intricate-yet-catchy keyboard figures or folky simplicity in others. The small group (four or five players on each track) allows everyone room to roam or coast or simply frolic, all of which they do with bright humor and high spirits. Here we have a delightfully rich debut to soak in, and a fresh name to watch in the future; Sounds Good does indeed sound good and feel great too.
First Cycle (Intro); Little Prince; Looking Back; LnF; Spaced Out; Passing (Interlude); DeScent; Core Alchemist;
Between You and Me; SG.
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