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Kevin Kastning / Laszlo Gardony — Levitation I
(Greydisc GDR 3568, 2022, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-07-18

Levitation I Cover art

Laszlo Gardony is a Hungarian-born American jazz pianist who performs solo as well as with his jazz trio. After graduating from the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest in 1979, he moved to the United States in the early 80s with a scholarship to study at Berklee College in Boston, and he was the first student in that school's history to be offered a teaching position immediately upon graduation. Kevin Kastning is also a Berklee grad, and a private guitar student of the legendary Pat Metheny; he has composed hundreds of pieces for various solo and chamber groupings, and may be best known for performances on his numerous exotic custom designed guitars, as well as over forty album releases, both solo and in collaboration with other like-minded travelers. Levitation I represents the first collaboration between Kastning (on 36-string double contra-guitar) and Gardony (on piano), hopefully the first of many. The six pieces at hand, simply titled “Levitation Opus I to VI,” are pure collaborations between the two, from the compositions right out to the final recorded performances. For those already familiar with Kastning’s previous solo and collaborative works, you have a head start on what to expect here — a gentle, soft and dreamy acoustic approach that wanders through numerous portals as the two players contribute to the sum in real time, often sounding something like an improvisation, but in reality the results are too perfect and polished to not be composed. Each of the six pieces, ranging from six minutes to over eleven, take the listener on an intimate journey, wandering through mysterious landscapes, from curious mathematical elements to flourishes of pure sonic beauty; sometimes the piano leads the way, at other times it’s the guitar, and often the two coexist in a perfect balancing act. While Gardony’s piano stylings here incorporate elements of jazz and classical, and Kastning’s style could be informed more by chamber and avant-garde, the combination of the two gives the listener something that is well beyond any convenient classification, something truly unique.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Kevin Kastning

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