Hungarian-born pianist Laszlo Gardony is an accomplished musician and composer, having graduated from Berklee and serving as a professor there for a number of years.
He’s mingled with many of the best jazz has to offer: Dave Holland, Miroslav Vitous, David “Fathead” Newman, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman and John Blake are all name artists he’s worked with, some of them extensively.
Last month came Gardony’s ninth album, Signature Time, and while the title might suggest a bunch of experiments in time signatures, the theme is really a tribute to the African heritage of so many music styles. For this album, the nine-year-old trio consisting of John Lockwood (bass) and Yoron Isreal (drums, vibraharp) performs, along with Stan Strickland on saxophone.
Not much seems to be going on until we reach the covers. That’s when things start to get a little interesting. “Lady Madonna” is given a New Orleans funk treatment, “Lullaby Of Birdland” is reinvigorated with a circular loping bass figure and another Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby” find Gardony dancing assertively over Lockwood and Israel’s spirited groove. “Spirit Dance” features a delicate African folk chant by Strickland, the most overtly African, and best original of the album.
Signature Time was released May 31 by Sunnyside Records.