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Lars Danielsson & Leszek Mozdzer : Pasodoble

Lars Danielsson’s previous album on ACT, Libera Me, was an ambitious, large-scale project involving the Danish Radio Concert Orchestra. The music was lush, and so was the SACD 5.1-channel surround sound. Pasodoble is the opposite: a duo album in the standard CD format that is about intimacy, minimalism and lyric distillation.

Yet both recordings demonstrate that Danielsson, from Sweden, is one of the most poetically expressive bassists in jazz. Leszek Mozdzer, from Poland, is an ideal partner for him. Like so many European jazz pianists, Mozdzer is classically trained, came to jazz relatively late (at 18), and has embraced the freedom of improvisation with the discipline of an artist who instinctively gravitates toward form. Together, they make subtle, fervent music, commingling their separate strands of details (Mozdzer’s bright, Danielsson’s dark but clear) into delicate designs.

The program is 13 originals and one traditional folksong, the achingly sad “Eja Mitt Hjärta.” All eight of Danielsson’s contributions, in their etched motivic inevitability, are essentially new Swedish folk songs. “Daughter’s Joy” is exquisite: pure emotion as melody. Mozdzer’s tunes are often higher velocity, for contrast (e.g., “Hydrospeed”). But wherever the pieces start, the fascination of Pasodoble is in hearing how these two players spontaneously, interactively, gracefully elaborate them.

Originally Published