is the self-titled debut "Nu-Jazz" album from keyboardist Leo Tardin. As a huge fan of the New York inspired techno-jazz-funk-fusion blend, I am very pleased to hear a new artist exploring the sounds of this new jazz genre. Swedish born pianist Leo Tardin took home the 1st place prize at the 1999 Mortreux Jazz Festival Piano Solo Competition and now has released a CD that combines his gift for composition with the tight drum’n bass rhythms laid down by the extremely brilliant drummers Jojo Mayer and Ferenc Nemeth.
Combining drum n’bass and techno grooves is not a new thing in jazz, Herbie Hancock and groups like Boomish have been doing it very well for years. I believe Leo Tardin’s instrumentation of keyboards and drums is just perfect for expressing his compositions. Much of the album was recorded in real time, occasionally looping a bass groove on his moog and playing a fender Rhodes or acoustic piano over it. The interaction between the two instruments pans out nicely throughout the entire album. Driven by Jojo’s intrinsic grooves, each track could easy fit in at both your local dance club or jazz venue. Some of the highlights are the tracks Starlight
and Freestyle Figures
. But when working in a new genre such as this it leaves much room for greater development and exploration. There were a few tracks that I felt Leo could of developed more compositionally. The techno beats are fantastic, but many times I would of liked to have heard his melodies and motives developed more. Two of the finer compositions on the album, the ones I feel Leo did develop more, do not use Jojo but Ferenc Nemeth on drums. The Walk
and The Space Race
do a great job of blending techno funk with jazz sensitivities.
Overall Grand Pianoramax
is a great start for this new group and should be a must have for any Jojo Mayer or drum n’bass enthusiast. It has something that will appeal to the jazz fan and the funky techno head in all of us.