Friday, 24 October 2014

Everyone Should See a Leszek Możdżer Solo Concert

Why? Let me try to explain this to you with this review of mine which -I think- will be so insufficient to give the whole idea about what has happened on stage last night in İstanbul - the first day of 24th Akbank Jazz Festival.

If you had a rough look over the concert you could say that the Polish pianist -who has already recorded a solo album called Komeda with the label ACT- played some pieces which are already known to his listeners in solo or trio such as Sleep Safe and Warm, The Law and The Fist, She Said She Was A Painter, Incognitor, Polska, Suffering and presented them with some different and fresh arrangements. You could continue by adding that there were important composers in the setlist by whom Możdżer seems to be impressed throughout his career: Prokofiev, Chopin (more than an inspiration source, we understood that Leszek Możdżer has funny memories about Chopin), Komeda, Lars Danielsson... You might finalize your review by mentioning that he was very humorous, honest, symphatique and modest on the stage. 

These would be all true and necessary, however if you had any curiosity to understand what is going on behind the sounds and silence produced lively on the stage you would certainly be amazed by the improvisation carried on by Leszek Możdżer not only between bars and scales but also between frequencies and pitches and tempted to write about it. 

I was already familiar with the prepared piano concept and it is something that I liked in jazz music as well as in classical. Besides, I am accustomed to see pianists who are managing some on-the-fly actions on piano strings such as holding them or putting acoustically different objects on to produce some interesting overtones. What is new and mind-boggling for me in Leszek Możdżer solo concert was that he was sometimes gently throwing the pieces into the instrument without carefully investigating the locations they are touching and I thought to myself "Yes, this is the real improvisation." The preparation of the piano was real time and instantaneous and there were almost no electronic support. 

Highlights of the concert -in my opinion- were the amazing right hand sound and performance in Sleep Safe and Warm and the virtuosity revealed during Prokofiev Piano Sonata No.3. I also once again understood that the classical and folk music in Europe is a great source of inspiration for jazz musicians and I am really looking forward to seeing that musicians from my country understand this too.

The overall sound quality was really good compared to what I have been hearing from the small and dry hall of Akbank Sanat (I think CRR was a better place for this concert with its larger capacity and better acoustic conditions) thanks to the sound engineer accompanying the pianist. 

His innovative style, distinctive tone and ever evolving improvisational flow were all reasons why everyone should see Leszek Możdżer in solo. I have travelled five hundred kilometers back and forth just for this concert and you can try to catch next one. Meanwhile I will be doing my best to see him live once more in my hometown Ankara. 

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