“Leszek Możdżer – renowned pianist and composer responsible for the mental and stylistic revolution in Polish jazz that has never hitherto been achieved by any Polish jazz musician. He moulded difficult jazz phrases, complicated improvisations, melodic lines of standards and subtlety of composition into a framework of a specific type of jazz which – not trying to reach out towards the audience, not being very commercial and trendy – became highly expressive “Leszek Możdżer jazz”. A jazz imagination, interesting sense of improvisation, subtlety of Chopin’s etudes and mazurkas , “Komeda-derived” inspirations – all these formed a new palette of colours for the small jazz ensemble with piano”.
Leszek Możdżer is one of the most interesting phenomena to appear on the Polish jazz scene in the past decades. Initially involved with the yass movement and the band Miłość, he later appeared in many various jazz configurations, including Emil Kowalski’s, Zbigniew Namysłowski’s, Tomasz Stańko’s, Buddy de Franco’s, David Friesen’s, Archie Shepp’s, Michał Urbaniak’s, Adam Pierończyk’s and Arthur Blyth’s ensembles. The pianist’s extensive discography includes more than one hundred albums under his own name or in cooperation with world-famous artists. Możdżer has recorded or performed with David Gilmour, Nana Vasconcelos, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Tan Dun and Pat Metheny. Concerts, recordings and cooperation with composer Zbigniew Preisner have brought the pianist enormous popularity and acclaim. Joint projects, such as “Requiem for my Friend” and “10 łatwych utworów na fortepian solo” [10 Easy Pieces for Solo Piano] have turned out to be notable artistic events.
The album “Impressions On Chopin” (recorded in 1999) has become part of a sui generis canon of recordings inspired by the oeuvre of the great Polish composer. Leszek Możdżer has also worked together with Jane A.P. Kaczmarek (recordings to the Academy Award-winning sound track to the film “Dreamer” and the album “Kaczmarek by Możdżer”). He has also himself composed music for films and plays. The pianist feels most at home in solo projects and with his own trio with Lars Danielsson and Zohar Fresco (“The Time”, recorded in 2005 achieved diamond status, while “Between Us and the Light” (2006), “Live” (2007) and “Polska” (2013) have achieved double platinum status). Możdżer has also been involved in major festival projects (Solidarity of Arts, Enter Festival).
Leszek Możdżer is thus revealed as creator of a new style in jazz, where sound and atmosphere are built up on impression, mood and a unique, proprietary performing style. Maybe this is why the pianist is seen to be an eloquent jazz composer of the young generation: offering a sophisticated palette of his fascinations and discoveries, he is the most popular jazz musician in Poland today.
© Dionizy Piątkowski