Leszek Możdżer, born 1971, is regarded as the most important discovery in Polish jazz during the past 10 years. His international reputation as one of the outstanding pianists in jazz is founded on his groundbreaking and smooth interweaving of sound aesthetics and mixing the culture of classical music with the openness and energy of jazz. He became famous as the romanticist among the European jazz pianists for his improvisations on themes by Frédéric Chopin, and his sparkling and technically unrivalled playing style has been connected to lyrical and emotional melodies ever since.
Możdżer didn't start playing jazz until he was 18, but he managed to build up his reputation remarkably quickly and was soon collaborating with the most important musicians in contemporary Polish jazz, such as Tomasz Stanko and Michal Urbaniak. The Polish jazz magazine Jazzforum has lauded him as the best Polish pianist nearly every year since 1994.
Możdżer's international career was strongly influenced by playing with Swedish bassist Lars Danielsson. Their collaboration on the albums “Pasodoble” (2007) and “Tarantella” (2009) fascinated their audience with melodious jazz sounds in a chamber musical style. In 2011 his ACT debut "Komeda" was released and awarded "Album of the Year" by Jazzforum. “Komeda” is Możdżer's personal and very self-contained tribute to legendary Polish pianist Krysztof Komeda, who became famous for composing soundtracks for movie director Roman Polanski. Soon after its release the album reached #1 in the Polish Pop (!) charts and went platinum in that country. The album was celebrated by critics and fans around the world. Leading German newspaper “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” simply called Możdżer a “phenomenon” and British newspaper “The Guardian” wrote on his playing on “Komeda”: “Możdżer's swaying swing and slow-melody nuances suggest Keith Jarrett at times, but his outburst of percussive playing, flinty treblenote parks and staccato drum pattern sounds are all his own.”
The duo album “The Last Set – Live at the A-Trane” (released in fall 2012) is an impressive and worthy legacy of a unique musician full of curiosity and versatility: US pianist Walter Norris. While two-piano albums often have an all-you-can-eat tangle of notes to them and nearly always seem too busy, this album like the very best of this specialised area within jazz has a lucidity to it. Możdżer clearly adapts his very easily distinguishable playing, which is grounded in Komeda and Wayne Shorter, with his own arsenal of gracenotes and little leaps and bounds to fit Norris’ style, which is more opaque but very stimulating.
On “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic I” (April 2013) three world class pianists met on December 11, 2012, at the prestigious classical concert hall to play solo, in duos and trio. Together with Iiro Rantala and Michael Wollny, Możdżer succeed in creating a defining moment in music, in which “jazz and classical meet as equals” (Tagesspiegel), little wonder really, with all three of them being such crossover fans.
In fall 2013 “Polska” will be released on ACT. The new album by the magical trio: Leszek Możdżer, Lars Danielsson and Zohar Fresco (percussion).
Leszek Możdżer on ACT:
Polska, with Lars Danielsson and Zohar Fresco (2013 | ACT 9557-2)
Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic I, with Iiro Rantala and Michael Wollny (2013 | ACT 9556-2)
The Last Set – Live at the A-Trane, with Walter Norris (2012 | ACT 9540-2)
Komeda (2011 | ACT 9516-2)
Tarantella, with Lars Danielsson a.o. (2009 | ACT 9477-2)
Pasodoble, with Lars Danielsson (2007 | ACT 9458-2)