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Laszlo Gardony: Ever Before Ever After

Don’t try these changes at home. On Laszlo Gardony’s Ever Before Ever After (Sunnyside) we’re dealing with some intellectual approaches to jazz that sound like the pianist (who went from the Bela Bartok Conservatory, in his native Budapest, to Berklee) had enrolled in Coltrane Meets Bartok 101. Those parameters essentially cover Gardony’s background: a jazz natural steeped in classical music, very much at home in both music worlds, which translates to incredible technique spread over a highly personal harmonic language.

It can be heard immediately as Gardony’s two-minute introduction, hinting at “Jeannine,” evolves into “Satin Doll,” which gives you insight into his reharmonizing talents, as well as the nonstop drive of drummer Yoron Israel and the Eddie Gomez-influenced bassist John Lockwood. On “Stella by Starlight” Gardony becomes increasingly complex with each chorus, as Israel and Lockwood anticipate and match every dynamic rise and fall of Gardony. So does the pianist’s near-constant humming.

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