The night of the longhairs — Leszek Możdżer plays Komeda at Purcell Room

The con­cert I atten­ded most recently was also the most excit­ing one. If you’re neither a fan of jazz nor Pol­ish, the name of Leszek Możdżer won’t tell you much. But it should. And here’s why.

Although I recog­nised his name and work for a while, the first time I prop­erly enjoyed his music was after he recor­ded his first bril­liant album — The Time with Lars Daniels­son and Zohar Fresc.

Leszek Możdżer in Royal Festival Hall's Purcell Room

I’m not going to dis­cuss the tech­nic­al­it­ies of his per­form­ance here. Or the way he man­aged to trans­form his instru­ment into a small orches­tra using all sorts of objects dir­ectly on the strings (in which he reminded me a lot of Tommy Emmanuel). What counts the most is the effect he had on every­one in the auditorium.

He played arrange­ments from his latest album Komeda, being a bril­liant trib­ute to equally bril­liant Pol­ish com­poser and pian­ist Krzysztof Komeda, whom you may recog­nise from Roman Polański’s movies soundtracks. Although this kind of music may not be everyone’s cup of tea and dif­fi­cult to listen at times, it cre­ates that unique, serene atmo­sphere around you, I can only com­pare to moments after reach­ing a moun­tain sum­mit, with not a single human being nearby, just sit­ting there, observing how amaz­ing — some­times peace­ful, some­times viol­ent, but always in per­fect har­mony — is everything around you. Occa­sion­ally it’s also reminds me of a subtle game of chem­istry women and men have been play­ing since the begin­ning of time — never pre­dict­able, never painted in pink col­our, but com­pletely irres­ist­ible, no mat­ter of the cost.

I live for these moments because they offer me some­thing I can’t exper­i­ence any­where else — a genu­ine, undis­turbed con­tem­pla­tion about everything that hap­pens in my life. And sur­pris­ingly, in a fully packed Pur­cell Room of Royal Fest­ival Hall, Możdżer man­aged to offer me exactly that, for which I’m very thankful.

In the end he was given the longest ova­tion I have ever been a part of. He had to come back on stage 4 times (!) and 4 times he per­formed a com­pos­i­tion that was awar­ded with even more clap­ping. I don’t think RFH was expect­ing that, oth­er­wise they would def­in­itely raise the ticket prices and made sure it was hap­pen­ing in the main auditorium(;

What was a very nice sur­prise after the con­cert, and a true bow towards his fans, was a chance to shake his hand and get an auto­graph. I’m glad that although he already is an accom­plished artist, he stays a humble long­hair (yay!), who simply loves shar­ing his pas­sion with other people.

Leszek Możdżer and me

But enough if this. I’m leav­ing you with one of the com­pos­i­tions from Leszek’s album, which I encour­age you to buy, and if you care to learn more about him and his work, jump straight away to his offi­cial web­site.

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