Możdżer /Danielsson/Fresco ‘Polska’ (ACT) 4/5

Możdżer_Danielsson_FrescoPolish pianist Leszek Możdżer made a major transition from classical music to jazz, but it is a gamble that has paid off handsomely with acclaimed albums and a simplicity of touch that is the hallmark of a lyrical pianist. Indeed he is something of a national cultural hero in his native land where has topped the pop charts in 2011 with his last recording on ACT ‘Komeda’ devoted to his fellow Polish composer and pianist. This latest album finds him in the company of bassist Lars Danielsson and Israeli percussionist and singer Zohar Fresco and together the trio produce some of the most melodic music of this year. All but one of the original compositions are performed by the trio, the exception being a trio plus Polish Symphony Orchestra take on Hendrix’s ‘Are you experienced?’ which makes for an alternative ending to what is a wonderfully intimate recording for the remainder. An incredibly beautiful piece by Danielsson ‘Africa’ typifies the melodicism of the music on offer and this is further exemplified by the meditative opener ‘Chai Peimot’ which begins with a piano solo, but develops into a full trio number with the influence of Chopin present. In fact the album as a whole has been perceived by the leader as a celebration of the classical composer, even though there are no covers. Rather Chopin serves as an inspiration and the storytelling quality to Możdżer’s own writing, honed from experience of film and theatre music work, is perfectly illustrated on ‘She said she was a painter’. Możdżer has performed with an impressive roster of musicians including David Gilmore of Pink Floyd and from the world of jazz Marcus Miller and John Scofield. ACTs reputation as a judicious arbiter of unearthing of prodigious pianistic talent has once again been demonstrated. Tim Stenhouse