Laszlo Gardony: Dig Deep

Because the piano trio is the most popular format in jazz, and because a new jazz piano monster turns up at least once a month (many from outside the U.S.), competition is fierce. Laszlo Gardony is a capable pianist. But its title notwithstanding, Dig Deep lacks the depth to stand out in a crowded field.

Gardony has a concept. He believes that infectious grooves can be made from odd meters and changing time signatures. His inspirations are pianists like Bobby Timmons and Les McCann and Ramsey Lewis. Gardony wants to add a new dimension to their gospel and funk through rhythmic complexity and “new types of harmonic consonances and tensions.”

The music is less interesting than its thesis. Gardony’s tunes are each about one thing: catchy, complex syncopations on “In Transit,” acoustic-trio-power-rock on “Heavy,” a sanctified prayer meeting on “Sunday Afternoon.” Each piece has one idea, which is established early and repeated. The listener “gets it” in two minutes max, which is a big problem, because each track is five minutes long.

Thomas Conrad

Thomas Conrad has a BA from the University of Utah and an MA from the University of Iowa (where he attended the Writers Workshop). He taught English at Central State University in Ohio, then left the academic world for the private sector. His affiliation with publications such as JazzTimes, Stereophile, The New York City Jazz Record and DownBeat has enabled him to sustain active involvement in two of his passions: music and writing.