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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

Violin/piano duets are not that common in jazz. Personally, I think I only own the Stéphane Grappelli/Michel Petrucciani and Didier Lockwood/Martial Solal duos: both French.

So, when the names of two Poles appear, Adam Baldych and Leszek Mozdzer, we salivate with expectation. Indeed, jazz violin in Poland dates back to Michal Urbaniak in the 60s. As for piano, its roots lie with Frédéric Chopin.

And obviously Leszek Mozdzer has a solid classical piano background and a virtuosity inherited from his Romantic ancestor. But this traditional baggage weighs little on this duo which – in addition to themes signed, together or separately, by the two protagonists – covers a Gymnopédie by Erik Satie as well as two much older themes by Josquin des Prez and Hildegarde von Bingen. Besides, on a few themes, Baldych has swapped his modern instrument for a tasty-sounding renaissance violin.

Baldych and Mozdzer have thus delved deep into the past to produce a music that is anything but old-fashioned. One of the elements confirming this aesthetic choice is the fact that, for much of the repertoire, the violinist favors a swinging pizzicato over a more lyrical bowed playing.

The result is an unprecedented group sonority of eminently convincing charm, to which the pianist’s refined touch contributes amply. What’s more, the two partners are outstanding improvisers, and their solos are narrative and melodic little marvels. One is constantly swept along by this virtuoso pas-de-deux of sovereign elegance, where musicality always takes precedence over technical prowess.

This is an album to be savored without moderation, and to be shared with others, including listeners with little or no knowledge of or no taste for jazz, who are bound to be seduced by the inspired dialogue between these two splendid musicians.

Line up:

Adam Baldych: violin

Leszek Mozdzer: piano

Passacaglia is a Hit Couleurs Jazz and it is selected in the “Best of The Month” selection for January 2024.

It was released by Act label, on January 26, 2024

©Photos Wiktor Mozder

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