Last October, Laszlo Gardony entered his studio at Berklee (where he’s been teaching since 1987), his head brimming with ideas. He turned on his recorder, sat at the piano, and began to play. Forty-nine minutes later, he had produced the music that’s on this CD. It’s Gardony’s first solo piano record since his debut, 20 years ago. And it has a personal cast to it — the deaths of both his parents were on his mind. That part explains the title and mood of the opening “Settling of a Racing Mind” and the meditative quality of the whole CD.
Gardony opens by “settling” into a set of chords, like the chords of a hymn tune, turning them this way and that, then using them as the springboard for the next piece. Part of what’s beautiful about this CD is Gardony’s patience, his ability to sink into a chord, listen to it, and let it tell him where to go next. As the CD proceeds, melodies emerge as well as propulsive bursts of rhythmic energy, often driven by his powerful bass figures. By the time of “Open Window (Hopeful Horizon),” he’s found himself a beautiful pop tune. The penultimate “Resilient Joy” is a rollicking, exuberant verse-chorus affirmation.
The Laszlo Gardony Quartet, with guests Bill Pierce and Don Braden, plays at the Regattabar on May 10. 617-395-7757, www.regattabarjazz.com.Jon Garelick can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jgarelick.