Austrian-born Friedrich Gulda, 37, enjoys a
dual distinction. He is the best classical pianist now playing jazz,
and the best jazz pianist now playing classical music. Last week, at
the Village Vanguard, he sat in with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band,
sight-reading a lengthy jazz arrangement. "He played the hell out of
that piece," marveled Drummer Lewis afterward. Two days later, he was
onstage at Manhattan's Lincoln Center as the piano soloist in Mozart's
Piano Concerto No. 20.
Gulda neither rags the classics nor classicizes jazz; he applies serious
artistry to the natural idiom of each. On the international...
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