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Laszlo Gardony: Behind Open Doors

From the evidence of this CD, Gardony-born in Hungary, trained at Berklee and a jazz star in Europe-deserves to be better known here as well. A traditionally based pianist with a bluesy feel that lends a Kirk Lightsey-ish quality to some of his improvisations, Gardony finds kindred souls in bassist John Lockwood and longtime Dave Liebman drummer Jamey Haddad.

The disc opens with “Come With Me,” a medium-up original based on “Doxy” chord changes. Generally speaking, Gardony is agile and funky on uptempo pieces, and lugubrious, with thickly ebbing chords, on ballads such as Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” and the title track. On another original, “Mystical,” Gardony’s rhythmic patterns suggest ripples in a pool.

Like the French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, Gardony was trained as a scientist as well as a musician. Also like Pilc, he seems to thrive mightily off the contributions of his bandmates. Lockwood is given ample solo space, and Haddad, heard here on drum kit (he is one of the masters of hand percussion as well) is always there, but never intrusively so.

Behind Open Doors is Gardony’s first trio recording in 10 years; let’s hope we won’t have to wait as long for the next one.

Originally Published