Thursday, August 25, 2011

Leszek Mozdzer – Komeda (ACT, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Leszek Możdżer - piano

ACT, 2011

Adam Baruch (check his music boutique finds some flaws in universally acclaimed newest Leszek Możdzer CD...

Polish pianist / composer Leszek Mozdzer enjoys a superstar status in his country and his albums are listened to not only by the hardcore Jazz enthusiasts, but by a wide music-loving audience, which otherwise avoids listening to Jazz recordings. Mozdzer keeps changing his stylistic and aesthetic approach to music in general and Jazz in particular, expanding the boundaries of the genre, often quite dramatically, with excursions into ambient, neo-romanticism and new age, which of course results in much broader circles of potential listeners. But in spite of his chameleonic nature, his abilities as a piano player are beyond reproach: he is a virtuosic and exceptional player in every sense. The instrument seems to surrender itself completely to him and his hands on the keyboard often make an impression of belonging to a superhuman four-armed Shiva. 

This album finds Mozdzer interpreting the music of another Polish Jazz Legend, pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda. He performs eight of the better known Komeda's compositions, alone at the piano, which for him is a well-proven setting. He successfully repeats his dazzling achievements, with deeply personal rendition of Komeda's legacy, which surely will again find many enthusiastic listeners and overall acclaim. 

However, as much as I like Mozdzer as a musician and this album as a showcase of superb solo performance, I must admit that his interpretation of Komeda's music is in my opinion completely misguided. As far as I understand Komeda and his work, it is all about essence and spirit, almost minimalistic in nature, allowing for the intellectual interpretation to fill the gaps and build upon the skeletal outlines. Traditionally, Polish Jazz musicians interpreting Komeda, tried to stick to the basics, for what they were: pure essence, with Komeda's cohort Tomasz Stanko leading the way as prominently evident in his recordings of Komeda's music. Mozdzer almost completely covers up Komeda's brilliant simplicity by dressing the music with layer upon layer of musical adornments and trinkets, which overwhelm the listener, but suffocate the essence. But again, that is only my opinion, which I'm sure will be quite different from what most people think. All things considered, this is still a grand solo piano album!

Please listen to Możdżer's interpretation of famous "Sleep Warm And Safe" from Roman Polański's movie "Rosemary's Baby":

Author: Adam Baruch

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