Laszlo photograph

Read about Laszlo's personal story
in this Cadence Magazine interview


“Gracefully weaves luscious textures and memorable melodies with the help of the formidable rhythm section of Dave Holland and Bob Moses. RECOMMENDED (The Legend of Tsumi)”.
— Jeff Levenson, BILLBOARD

“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” (JazzTimes), Laszlo Gardony has performed in 27 countries and released a dozen albums on the Sunnyside, Antilles,
and Avenue Jazz labels during his distinguished decades long career. Winner of the
Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called “a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers” by Jazz Review, and “a great pianist” by Dave Brubeck.

The Boston Globe named Gardony's latest solo piano recording, “Serious Play” one of the  10 Best Jazz Albums of 2017. His 2015 live sextet album, “Life In Real Time” was also on the  10 Best Jazz Albums of 2015 list of the Boston Globe.

“Serious Play” has garnered critical acclaim including a 4-star review in  Down Beat which calls it “a distinctive amalgam of central European folk strains, majestic classical piano and improvisational fearlessness.”

Gardony's recording and performing groups included Dave Holland, Miroslav Vitous,
Bob Moses, Mick Goodrick, Yoron Israel, John Lockwood, Jamey Haddad, Bill Pierce, Don Braden and Stan Strickland among others.

Gardony has been praised for his “fluid pianism” by The New York Times and has been featured with the Boston Pops, the Utah Symphony and The Smithsonian Institute’s “Beyond Category” Traveling Duke Ellington Exhibit.

Laszlo has been living in Boston for the past thirty-four years, where he is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music. He continues to tour and record, attracting new fans and earning critical acclaim for his synthesis of many musical sources and for creating a joyous, powerful, insightful, and open spirited music.


Born in Hungary, Gardony showed an early aptitude on the piano. He wasn’t much older when he started improvising, devising little tunes inspired by the blues, pop and classical music he heard around the house. Immersed in the European classical tradition while growing up, he was drawn to progressive rock as a teenager, and spent countless hours improvising blues-based music at the piano. He investigated gospel and studied jazz, a passion that soon overshadowed his classical pursuits. “We had jazz and African music classes at the Conservatory,” Gardony recalls. “There were some very knowledgeable people and a lot of records. When it came to jazz it was a tiny community, but very inspiring.”

After graduating from the Bela Bartok Conservatory and the Science University of Budapest, he became one of Europe’s most sought after accompanists, and released his first albums as a leader. Possessing a powerful sense of swing, a strong feel for the blues and a firm command of post-bop vocabulary, he gained invaluable insight by sharing festival stages with acts like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Abdullah Ibrahim. After several years on the road, Gardony decided he needed to deepen his knowledge of jazz.

A full scholarship to Berklee brought him to America in 1983, and a faculty position at the school upon graduation kept him stateside. He made his US recording debut with the acclaimed 1988 album The Secret (Antilles) featuring Czech bass great Miroslav Vitous and drummer Ian Froman, but it was his 1st place win the following year at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition that catapulted him into the national spotlight.

He seized the moment with 1989’s brilliant release “The Legend of Tsumi” (Antilles), a trio session with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Bob Moses focusing on Gardony’s finely wrought original compositions. The album earned rave reviews. Scott Yanow wrote in the All Music Guide, “the most impressive aspect of this performance is how the pianist totally integrates his playing with that of his sidemen, so they speak in one unified voice.”

His primary vehicle for the past decade has been his state-of-the-art trio with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel, an ensemble first documented on the 2003 Sunnyside release “Ever Before Ever After”. One of the finest working bands in jazz, the group performs and records regularly, exploring Gardony’s extensive book of original pieces as well as the occasional standard and jazz classics by the likes of Horace Silver and Billy Strayhorn. Gardony augmented the trio’s 2011 release, “Signature Time” (Sunnyside), with Stan Strickland on saxophone. His critically acclaimed 2013 solo piano album, “Clarity” followed, and in 2015 he released another critically acclaimed recording, a live sextet album, “Life In Real Time” (Sunnyside). It features Bill Pierce and Don Braden on saxophone, Stan Strickland (saxophone, bass clarinet), Yoron Israel (drums), John Lockwood (bass), and Gardony as pianist, composer and arranger.

His latest, solo piano release, “Serious Play” was added to his impressive body of work in 2017. The following are quotes from some of the reviews the CD received:

[4-stars] “Serious Play combines spontaneity and intent. Improvised in the studio, it's a harmonious, emotionally intense whole that sounds like a concert rather than an arbitrary collection of tunes. No matter how busy Gardony becomes, there is a stillness at the center of his music, a distinctive amalgam of central European folk strains, majestic classical piano and improvisational fearlessness.” - Carlo Wolff / Down Beat Magazine

“In less than forty minutes, Gardony manages to cycle through a series of thoughts and emotional truths that catalog what we're all experiencing in different ways. It's a statement that's both sobering and heartening in its unfolding.” - Dan Bilawsky / All About Jazz

“The album closes with a heartbreakingly beautiful declaration of hope in Over The Rainbow. It’s reharmonized to a place that movingly concludes Gardony’s striking vision” - Donald Elfman / New York City Jazz Record

[4-stars] “a pianist with excellent touch, a wide-ranging melodic sensibility and considerable power of improvisation” - Michael Tucker / Jazz Journal, UK


Laszlo Gardony is a New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Roster artist. NEFA provides up to 50% of musician fees when his trio is presented by a non-profit organization in five New England states (not in MA) . For more information please visit Laszlo Gardony’s page at NEFA’s .



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