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Gyula Babos

Guitarist, composer, arranger, and professor at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Gyula Babos is one of the best known personalities on the jazz scene in Hungary. He was hardly 17 when he won the Jazz Competition of the Hungarian Radio in 1966, and since then his goal has been to make his mark on the international music scene with compositions rooted in Hungarian folk and Gypsy music. After joining and founding several groups (the Aladár Pege Quintet, Kex, Rákfogó, Kőszegi Rhythm and Brass, Saturnus, BDSZ Collection, the Babos Trio and Quartet) and participating in European jazz festivals, in 1989 he produced his first solo album, called 'In 'n Out', which contains his own compositions - just like 'Blue Victory', his second release, recorded in 1994, with Victor Bailey, Terri Lyne Carrington, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, and the late George Jinda. The album was released in twelve European countries. He made his third solo album for Sony Columbia in 1998, entitled 'Once upon a time...', which was the realisation of his aim of fusing jazz with Hungarian and Gypsy folk traditions in his own way. The material was recorded with the Babos Project Romani. Babos introduced the group not only in Europe, but also in England and in Israel at the Red Sea Festival. 'Seventy-five Minutes Live', his latest release features the celebrated percussionist Trilok Gurtu. On this album, East, West, and Middle-Eastern Europe meet in Babos' music. Besides recording and composing (film and cartoon scores included), he is also a producer for pop and contemporary artists. One of his greatest dreams was fulfilled when in 1991 he played with Frank Zappa in front of an audience of thirty thousand people in Budapest.

  Bossa-Roma (Gyula Babos)
Real Audio
75 Minutes
Heart Music, 2004

 
Gyula Babos - guitar, Emil Jelinek - vocals, percussion, Katinka Kunovics - vocals, Lajos Nagy - synthesizers, Viktor Hárs - bass, Gergő Borlai - drums, Trilok Gurtu - percussion
 

Kristóf Bacsó

Kristóf Bacsó was born in Budapest in 1976. He started his saxophone studies at the age of 12. After his graduation from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, he also studied at the Conservatoire de Paris and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where his instructors were Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Greg Hopkins, Hal Crook and Bill Pierce. In 1999 together with Zoltán Zana he won the Dezső Lakatos 'Ablakos' Saxophone Talent Contest organised by the Hungarian Radio. For five and a half years he lived in France and the US, performed in most countries of Europe, in the United States and in Japan. In 2003, after obtaining his Bachelor's Degree, he moved to NYC and worked as a freelance musician. In 2003 and 2005 he was featured on Gábor Winand's albums 'Agent Spirituel' and 'Different Garden', which received 'Choc', the highest rating from the well-known French jazz journal, Jazzman. In 2004 he moved back to Europe and since then has worked as a musician, composer and teacher. He has performed with well-known artists like Eddie Henderson, John Patitucci, Tony Lakatos, Nico Morelli, Giovanni Mirabassi, Kálmán Oláh, Gábor Gadó, and the groups Europlane Orchestra, the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, Nigun, and the Imre Kőszegi Quartet. With his own group, the Kristóf Bacsó 4, which he founded in 2003, he plays his own music, based on straight-ahead jazz and contemporary classical music. Since 2004 he has been a professor at the Béni Egressy Conservatory in Budapest.


  Elliptic Dance (Kristóf Bacsó)
Real Audio

Reference recording, 2005

 
Kristóf Bacsó - saxophone, Csaba Czirják - guitar, Mátyás Szandai - double bass, András Mohay - drums
 

Elemér Balázs Group

Elemér Balázs, one of Hungary's best known jazz drummers, graduated from the Jazz Department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory as a student of Gyula Kovács. His first significant successes can be associated with the No-Spa quintet. He is a founding member of Trio Midnight and György Vukán's Creative Art Ensemble. In the mid-1990s he formed his own quintet, which played some of his compositions. Famous artists whom Balázs has played with include Tony Scott, Anette Lowman, Ferenc Snétberger, Wayne Brassel, James Williams, Stepko Gutt, Paolo Fresu, Art Farmer, Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, and Lee Konitz. He formed the Elemér Balázs Group in 2000, and they have become a highly acclaimed band by now. They have recorded three CDs so far, all released by BMC Records. 'Around the World' from 2002 features saxophonist Mihály Dresch and accordeon player David Yengibarjan, and the liner notes include praises from legendary guitarist Pat Metheny. On 'Our Worlds Beyond', recorded in 2003, soprano saxophonist László Dés and world famous American alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano appear as guest musicians. On their latest release 'Refracting Sounds' Péter Glaser plays bass, and singer Klára Hajdú is introduced. The Group has been touring Hungary extensively, and they are regularly invited to festivals not only in their home country but abroad as well. They gave memorable concerts in Berlin, The Hague, London and Vienna. The group is striving to create their own sound characterised mainly by the contrast of the female and male voices. In their music they mix ethnic songs with original compositions.

  Around the World (Elemér Balázs, József Balázs)
Real Audio
Around the World

BMC Records, 2002

 
Elemér Balázs - drums, József Balázs - keyboards, Gábor Juhász - guitar, Mátyás Szandai - double bass, András Dés - percussion, Gábor Winand - vocals, Henriett Czerovszky - vocals, David Yengibarjan - accordion
 

Benkó Dixieland Band

The Benkó Dixieland Band, one of the most durable and most popular bands in Hungary was founded in 1957. They started touring in the 1960s in Eastern European countries, then from the 1970s they had the opportunity to appear at Western European festivals. They were prize winners at the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival, the audience of the San Sebastian Festival gave them top rating in 1972, then in 1976 they received the Stars of the Years honour at the London Music Week. The band first toured the US in 1982 winning the Grand Prize of the Sacramento Jazz Festival, and they also received prestigious decorations from the state of California, and even from the President of the US. The band leader, Sándor Benkó himself was honoured with the Europa Inter Lyra Prize and the Liszt Prize. The highest acknowledgement the band received was the Officer's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. The Benkó Dixieland Band has played with such renowned musicians as Milt Jackson, Freddy Hubbard, Al Grey, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Buddy Wachter, Cynthia Sayer, Eddy Davis, Henry Questa, Joe Muranyi, Harry Sweets Edison, Albert Nicolas, Wild Bill Davison, Chris Barber, Kenny Ball, Huub Janssen, and Acker Bilk. They still give 200-250 concerts annually in Hungary and all over the world. They have been featured in dozens of TV shows. The Benkó Dixieland Band has just released their 64th album.

  When You're Smiling
(Mark Fischer, Joe Goodwin, Sándor Benkó)
Real Audio
The Golden Age of Chicago
Bencolor, 2003

 
Sándor Benkó - clarinet, Béla Zoltán - trumpet, Iván Nagy - trombone, Vilmos Halmos - piano, Jenő Nagy - banjo, Zsolt Kelemen - double bass, Gábor Kovacsevics - drums
 

Tamás Berki

Tamás Berki was born in Budapest in 1946. He received his diploma in jazz singing from the Béla Bartók Conservatory, and subsequently was a teacher there for 5 years. He worked for the Hungarian Cultural Institute, was employed later as a part-time radio and television programme editor and a journalist before returning to teaching. In 1976 he won the International Youth Jazz Singing Competition in Poland. Albums of his own compositions include 'Real Paradise' ('Igazi paradicsom', 1984), 'Good Morning' ('Jó reggelt', 1990), and 'The Bridge' ('A híd', 2004). He has also contributed to records of several renowned performers and bands. He is a frequent guest soloist with the Benkó Dixieland Band with whom he recorded the albums 'Heart of My Heart' and 'Christmas Mass'; both came out in 1991. In 1985 he appeared on the top list of the Best Male Singers in Jazz Forum, the official journal of the International Jazz Federation. He has given concerts in several countries of the world with diferent line-ups. He led his band Shabu-Shabu with great success for more than ten years releasing the album 'Berki Sings Jazz' in 1996. Berki is still singing actively both with his new formation, the Tamás Berki Band and as a guest soloist, and is teaching at the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy and the Art School of the Hungarian Musicians' and Dancers' Union. In 2004 he received the Gábor Szabó Award for his lifetime achievements.

  I Get on My Nerves (Tamás Berki)
Real Audio
The Bridge

Tom Tom Records, 2004

 
Tamás Berki - vocals, Viktor Tóth - alto saxophone, Tamás Mohai - guitar, József Horváth 'Plutó' - bass, Győző Mohai - drums
 

Károly Binder

Born in 1956, Károly Binder started his classical music studies at the age of five and got a diploma in piano and composition at the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. He is presently Head of Faculty there. He is a well-known performing and recording artist both in Hungary and internationally. He has given concerts and held workshops in London (Royal Festival Hall), Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Cologne, Vienna, Athens, Ankara, Cairo, Duisburg, Essen, Freeburg, etc. He won both the International Jazz Piano Competition in Kalisz in 1981 and the Hungarian Radio Grand Prix in 1986 with a work entitled 'Kontinentspiel'. He also received the eMeRTon Prize as the Pianist of the Year in 1989 and made his first recording for two pianos in the same year in Hungary. His CD 'Dance Music' was Record of the Year in 1991. He has appeared on radio and television and has written the scores for a number of motion pictures and productions for the theatre. He has also composed more than a hundred pieces for piano, orchestra and chamber ensemble. Besides performing as a solo artist, Binder also plays with other prominent musicians, such as Mihály Borbély, with whom he has been working more closely for five years. The result of their collaboration can be heard on the album Sounds ('Hangok'). He has altogether recorded 38 albums to the present day. Binder was awarded with the Erkel Prize in 2003.

  In illo tempore (Károly Binder)
Real Audio
Sounds

BMM, 2001

 
Károly Binder - piano, Mihály Borbély - saxophone
 

Bohém Ragtime Jazzband

The Bohém Ragtime Jazzband was founded in 1985. Its members are young professional classical musicians and amateurs. They feel at home in every traditional jazz style from New Orleans jazz to dixieland and from spirituals to swing. They have been welcome at great festivals in Europe, their recordings can be heard on several European and American radio stations. Their concerts have been broadcast by Hungarian, Romanian, German and Finnish TV channels. The band received first prize in the Hungarian Dixieland Competition in 1994 and 1995. They frequently play with guest stars such as Joe Muranyi (last clarinetist of the Louis Armstrong All Stars), Zeke Zarchy (lead trumpet player for the Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, and Frank Sinatra orchestras), George Kelly (former tenor saxophone player of the legendary Savoy Ballroom Orchestra), Michel Godard (French jazz tubist), Paul Asaro (talented young stride piano wizard) or Butch Thompson (pianist of the late Doc Cheatham and clarinetist protégé of George Lewis in New Orleans). The band has recorded eight CDs and two LPs. The leader of the band, Tamás Ittzés has already recorded two albums for a Californian label and both have received critical acclaim in important jazz periodicals. He won first prize at the Ragtime Composition Contest by the Scott Joplin Foundation with his 'Sedalia Rag' in 2001. The band gives about 60-80 concerts a year and tours both in Europe and North America. The band's Kecskemét Jazz Foundation has been organising the International Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival every year since 1992.

  Sing-Sing (Pál Ábrahám, Imre Harmath)
Real Audio
Éjjel az omnibusz tetején...
Pannon Jazz, 2001

 
Tamás Ittzés - piano, violin, Stroh violin, vocals, Miklós Lázár - violin, vocal, József Lebanov - trumpet, Zoltán Mátrai - clarinet, tenor saxophone, Attila Korb - trombone, piano, vocal, György Mátrai - banjo, guitar, József Török - double bass, tuba, Alfréd Falusi - drums
 

Gábor Bolla

Gábor Bolla was born in 1988 in Budapest. He started playing the clarinet at the age of 10. In 2000 he won first prize in the National Schools' Clarinet Competition. Around that time he also got his first taste of jazz and within a year he had begun to play the soprano and tenor saxophones. He got to the semi-finals in the World Saxophone Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003 and, again, at the London Jazz Festival in 2004. He has played in London a couple of times and at festivals in Bilbao, Bucharest, Delhi, St.Petersburg and Bombay. At the end of 2004 Bolla won the Hans Koller Prize in Vienna, and also received an invitation from the Vienna Art Orchestra to play on their upcoming CD. The Gábor Bolla Quartet was formed on the saxophonist's 15th birthday. The record includes tunes of Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, plus compositions of the two Gábors. The latter match perfectly the pieces written by the great masters. Despite their young age (the oldest member, Cseke, is 33), all members of the band are already major figures of the Hungarian jazz scene. Cseke (who has, since the time of the recording, been replaced by Róbert Szakcsi Lakatos) has already played with the István Gyárfás Quartet, Tamás Berki, Márta Téli, Richard Kruza, Zbigniew Namyslowski, and as a member of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, with Dave Liebman and Peter Erskine. Zoltán Oláh has become one of the most sought-after bassists in Hungary, and Mohay, who has accompanied such artists as Chico Freeman, Tony Lakatos, and Eric Truffaz, is not less popular.

  Trinkle Tinkle (Thelonious Monk)
Real Audio
The Way We Play
Harmónia Jazzműhely, 2004

 
Gábor Bolla - saxophone, Gábor Cseke - piano, Zoltán Oláh - bass, András Mohay - drums
 

Kati Bontovics

Kati Bontovics, the winner of the Gábor Szabó Award in 2005, is one of the leading jazz-singers in Hungary. She completed her studies at the Béla Bartók Conservatory under György Vukán and Éva Gábor between 1973 and 1977; however, her professional career had started as early as 1969. Until 1975 she was a member of the group Scampolo, then started working with leading jazz bands. Between 1977 and 1985 she performed with the trio of György Vukán, then as the soloist of the Budapest Big Band she appeared on stage of the Pori Jazz Festival with great success in 1987. She has toured with different bands of drummer Imre Kőszegi and the late trumpet player, Rudolf Tomsits. She has been an occasional guest soloist with Jiggs Wigham since the early 1980s, and contributed to Gábor Szabó's last performance in Budapest. She is still a regular performer with the Vukán Trio, as well as with the Trio Midnight, and the Budapest Jazz Orchestra. At the 2nd MOL Budapest Jazz Festival in 2004 she stepped on stage with the BJO and the legendary Johnny Griffin. Bontovics has led her own jazz bands since 1988. Her individual voice, energetic personality, feeling for jazz and strong sense for not only swing, but also R'n'B and soul has made her one of the best-known and most highly regarded singers of Hungary. The styles played by the Kati Bontovics Group range from mainstream jazz and bebop to R'n'B and soul. They have performed at several festivals at home and in different European countries, and are acknowledged personalities of the Hungarian jazz scene in their own right. This composition appeared on a special recording made as a birthday present for saxophonist László Dés.

  Adventure Calls
(László Dés, Géza Bereményi, Eszter Molnár)
Real Audio
Recording presented to László Dés, 2003

 
Kati Bontovics - vocals, Károly Friedrich - trombone, bass, Gábor Cselik - keyboards, Tamás Berdisz - drums
 

Mihály Borbély

Multireedist Mihály Borbély got his degrees in classical clarinet and jazz saxophone, and became a real versatile musician working in different musical styles from folk and world music to jazz and contemporary music. In addition to his original instruments he also plays folk instruments like the tárogató, folk flutes, kaval, dvojnice, fujara, ocarina, bombarde and zurna. He is a member of the famous folk group Vujicsics and in addition to this he has participated in the concerts and recordings of leading Hungarian artists and groups in the fields of folk and world music, jazz and contemporary music. He is a soloist of the international world music group Vents d'Est led by Michel Montanaro. Borbély also performed and recorded with legendary jazz flutist Herbie Mann as well as Arnie Somogyi 'Improvokation', Trilok Gurtu, the Saxophone Summit (Michael Brecker - Dave Liebman - Joe Lovano), Jirí Stivín, Zbigniew Namyslowski, and the ROVA Saxophone Quartet. He also gave performances with composer-conductor Péter Eötvös and the National Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1990s he formed his own jazz groups the Quartet B, the Mihály Borbély Quartet ('Borbély Műhely' in Hungary) and a duo project with pianist Károly Binder. In his career he has participated in many recording sessions and has played on major folk, world music and jazz festivals all over Europe as well as in the USA and Australia. He won the Best Soloist prize at the 1988 Jazz Festival in Karlovy Vary, two eMeRTon prizes in 2000 with the Vujicsics Ensemble and with the Hungarian World Music Orchestra and one in 2005 with his present quartet. He has been teaching since 1979 at various institutions. He has been a professor at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy since 1990, where between 1997 and 2000 he was Head of Department. He has given lectures and master classes at home and abroad (e.g. Royal Academy of Music in London, Birmingham Conservatory, Conservatoire de Lyon etc.).

  Bear Dance (Mihály Borbély)
Real Audio
Meselia Hill
BMC Records, 2005

 
Mihály Borbély - saxes, Gábor Cseke - piano, Balázs Horváth - double bass, István Baló - drums, Miklós Lukács - cimbalom, Zoltán Lantos - violin
 

Gergő Borlai

Gergő Borlai was born in Budapest in 1978. He started playing the drums at age three on hearing Joe Morello and Harvey Mason on the records of Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock. In 1984 he became the pupil of Iván Nesztor, and between 1990 and 1997 he studied with János Szanyi. He also mentions among his influences Gábor Presser, Gyula Babos, and Tibor Tátrai, playing with whom he acquired a mature attitude to music and came to understand the role of the bandleader. He has also put great effort into studying the music of John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Weather Report, Frank Zappa, and Jaco Pastorius. Apart from drumming, he also learnt to play the bass guitar and the piano. He has been composing from an early age, his first album was released in 1998 titled '17'. He formed his own band European Mantra in 2001. According to their definition, they play 'trash-metal-pop-funk-jazz-rock'. Gergő recorded his second solo album in 2004, which again showcases several types of music, but is basically 'electrified jazz'.

  Yes (Gergő Borlai)
Real Audio
Sausage
Tom Tom Records, 2004

 
Gergő Borlai - drums, keyboards, computer programming, Peta Lukács - guitar, Péter Papesch - bass
 

Bosambo

Bosambo (also the name of the main character in a series of novels by Edgar Wallace) was formed in the autumn of 1996 led by István Tóth 'Sztív' guitarist-composer. He had already launched a project with the same name in 1986, and since then he has gained experiences playing in several different bands from the Patrizio Baeza Band to Jazzstream, Minarik Blues Action, Pouring Rain, Bea Tisza (TBA), 7FŐ, Blue Point, and especially with the ESP Group. The debut album of Bosambo came out in 1999 with the title 'Tongue-tied'. The sound of the band can be regarded singular among the musical directions represented in Hungary. The instrumentation would make us associate it with Latin music, however, the compositions do not aim at reproducing a certain Latin feeling, and the stylistic features create a different atmosphere. The themes, harmonies and the musical forms are the closest to the jazz of the 1990s. The role of the instruments constantly change from accompanying to playing solo, which, together with the diversity of the personalities in the band, results in a highly varied yet lucid and approachable sound. The band has appeared at several festivals in Hungary and abroad, the most outstanding of which was the Ufa International Jazz Festival in Bashkiria in 2002. The current line-up of the band includes 'Sztív', Winand, Dés, and József Barcza Horváth on bass.

  New Song (István Tóth 'Sztív')
Real Audio
Reference recording, 2003

 
István Tóth 'Sztív' - guitar, Gábor Juhász - guitar, Péter Glaser - bass, Gábor Winand - vocals, András Dés - percussion
 

Budapest Jazz Orchestra

The Budapest Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1998. Since then they have been operating as the only professional big band in Hungary under the artistic directorship of Kornél Fekete-Kovács. In the past five years they have had concerts at the Hungarian Radio, the Academy of Music, the Budapest Convention Centre, and the Hungarian State Opera House. In 1999 they attended a master course led by Butch Lacy, which was followed by a concert tour in Hungary. The band organised a two-season concert series on the history of big bands. In 2001 the BJO performed at a live broadcast of the Hungarian Radio, when they played 'Budapest Jazz Suite' by Fekete-Kovács and 'Concerto for Jazz Orchestra' by Kálmán Oláh - both composed specially for the BJO. The first Big Band Festival was also organised by the BJO. The orchestra often participates in big Hungarian festivals, like the Kapolcs Valley of Arts, the Budapest Jazz Festival, the Hungarian Drummer Meeting and the Miskolc Opera Festival. In recent years they have played with Eleonor Johanson, John Hoybe, Ray Anderson, and Peter Erskine. The first album of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra titled 'Budapest Jazz Suite' was released in 2002. In the same year they came out with their second CD, 'Big Band Legends', and the third one followed in 2003, titled 'Human Circle - The Wayfarer', with world famous saxophonist, Dave Liebman as guest musician. In 2004 they performed Péter Eötvös' composition, 'Paris-Dakar' at the MIDEM festival in Cannes, and the solo trombone part was played by László Gőz, to whom the piece had been dedicated.

  42 Questions (Kornél Fekete-Kovács)
Real Audio
Human Circle - The Wayfarer
BMC Records, 2003

 
Dave Liebman - soprano and tenor saxophone, traditional recorder, Kornél Fekete-Kovács - conductor, Ákos Csejtey - soprano saxophone, flute, alto flute, Gábor Kollmann - alto saxophone, clarinet, Zoltán Zana - tenor saxophone, clarinet, Tamás Zsári - tenor saxophone, clarinet, György Varga - baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, Csaba Puskás - lead trumpet, Szabolcs Ducsai - trumpet, János Hámori - trumpet, Dávid Csizmadia - trumpet, Gábor Újvári - trumpet, Ferenc Schreck - trombone, Attila Almási - trombone, Gábor Skerletz - trombone, Dániel Viktor Nagy - bass trombone, Viktor Hárs - double bass, bass guitar, Gábor Cseke - piano, keyboards, Csaba Pusztai - drums, Géza Fehér - guitar, Gábor Brúzsa - synthesizer, drum programs
 

Budapest Ragtime Band

The Budapest Ragtime Band was formed in 1980 by trained jazz and classical musicians. They have not only altered the instrumentation of the original piano interpretation, but have also broadened their repertoire with jazz and dixieland evergreens, dance music, humorous performances of famous tunes, and excerpts from operas. The band's first solo album, 'Ragtime', was recorded in 1984, which was followed by two other LPs on Dutch and Hungarian labels. Since 1990 the band has released seven CDs. In addition to their permanent studio work, the Budapest Ragtime Band regularly tours in Hungary, Europe, and has also received invitation from the US and the Canary Islands. They have performed at prestigious festivals all over the world, and in television programmes on Hungarian, Swiss, German, and American channels. The main objective of the Budapest Ragtime Band has been, on the one hand, promoting ragtime music to the widest possible audience, and on the other, to provide entertainment to listeners of all age groups.

  Kitten On the Keys (Edward Confrey)
Real Audio
Kitten On The Keys
BRB, 2003

 
László Galyas - trumpet, Tamás Diószegi - trombone, Gábor Farkas - clarinet, Tibor Antal - violin, Ferenc Stein - piano, Ferenc Gayer - double bass, János Weszely - drums, László Forgács 'Papa Fleigh'- vocals
 

Creative Art Trio

György Vukán was born in 1941. He not only received a diploma as a pianist at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1960, he also completed his studies at the Budapest University of Medicine in 1964, and has been a practicing dentist ever since. He has published volumes on topics in both music and medicine. He has been giving concerts, initially as a classical musician, then playing jazz, since his childhood. He has played in several countries in Europe and has had two concert tours in the USA. He has collaborated with such names as Philly Joe Jones, Clifford Jordan, Linda Hopkins, Anette Lowman, Frank Foster, Clarck Terry, Kenny Wheeler, etc. He has been leading the Creative Art Trio since 1990, and with this formation he has played in Seville at the World Expo with great success. Vukán gave solo concerts in Japan, led the EBU Big Band in 1992, and his concert of Chopin transcriptions with his Trio and the Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra was voted as 'Concert of the Year' in Holland in 1996. Starting with some very early experiments in crossover music, he became the forerunner of that style in Hungary, composing music for chamber and symphony orchestras, concertos, operas, symphonic pieces, more than 80 songs, masses, music for all 150 psalms, music for 140 films, theater and TV plays. He has also been working with the Class Jazz Band (which he founded with flutist Eszter Horgas, and with whom he has made 8 CDs in the last 5 years) and the Budapest Saxophone Quartet, and also formed a septet in 2000. Numerous awards have been given to him acknowledging his work from the Erkel Prize and the eMeRTon Prize to the Lyra Prize and the Small Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

  JCK (György Vukán)
Real Audio
Blue in Red, Live

CAE Vukán Records, 2003
 

 
György Vukán - piano, Balázs Berkes - double bass, Elemér Balázs - drums
 

Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble

The ensemble was formed by three young sax-players in 1992, all born in the Southern and South-Eastern end of the Great Hungarian Plains. In fact they derive their name from the region of their birth. ('Dél-alföldi' means 'of the Southern Plains'). Their common ground is not just a matter of geography, although geography matters too because the corner of Hungary they come from practically borders on the Balkans and that is also something that you can hear in their music. The present personnel crystallised in 1997. Their repertoire includes folk arrangements, traditional pieces, and jazzy, almost danceable compositions with their roots in the rhythmic world of Hungarian and Eastern European folk music and jazz. Their musical choices are also illustrated by their instruments: the bag pipe, the hit gardon (a percussion instrument resembling the shape of a cello), traditional recorders, and the 'körtemuzsika' (a special Hungarian flute) are in their arsenal just as well as a unique vocal effect called 'tuva singing'. Besides these they also apply a broad variety of reed instruments: the complete family of saxophones and the bass clarinet, plus all kinds of tubes. In the singular compositional concepts of the three hornmen, just as in the free parts, one can point out highly individual ideas. However, the influence of Mihály Dresch's and György Szabados' music on their approach is undeniable. The first album of the ensemble titled 'Esthajnal' ('Dusk') was released in 1997, and in 1999 'Kalamona' came out under the London-based November label. Their third album, 'Tótágas' ('Hand-stand') is their debut album at the BMC label.

  Dr. B.B. (Béla Ágoston)
Real Audio
Tótágas
BMC Records, 2004

 
Béla Ágoston - alto saxophone, Béla Burány Pöcök - soprano saxophone, Balázs Szokolay Dongó - soprano saxophone, Róbert Benkő - double bass, Tamás Sándor Geröly - drums
 

Roby Dely Trio

Róbert Dely was born into a family of musicians. He started playing the guitar at age 15 in amateur blues and rock bands, and turned towards jazz at age 17. He became a private student of Miklós Faragó, then Sándor Horányi, and when he was accepted to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, he studied under Gyula Babos, Attila László, and Horányi. He formed his first professional band in 1992 called Delyrium, with which they played Dely's compositions in clubs throughout Hungary. Members of the band included at different times: János Lutz, Sándor Tóth, Tamás Berdisz, Sándor Tiba, Péter Molnár, Viktor Hárs, István Baló, and Gábor Winand. In 1995 he ranked first at the Lausanne jazz competition defeating three hundred other guitarists. He received his diploma at the Academy of Music in 1996, and even before that he had started making recordings for the Hungarian Radio. In 1999 he formed the Roby Dely Group with Elemér Balázs, Gábor Cselik, Lajos Gyenge, Viktor Hárs, Csaba Klenyán, and Gábor Winand. They recorded their first CD entitled 'Downtown Stories' in 2000.

  Green Eyes (Roby Dely)
Real Audio
Demo Recording, 2004

 
Roby Dely - guitar, Viktor Hárs - double bass, Csaba Pusztai - drums
 

László Dés

Composer and saxophone player László Dés was born in 1954. Following his initial piano studies he received his diploma as a clarinet player in 1973, then graduated from the jazz saxophone department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1976. His first band was Dimenzió, which released two albums in the 1980s, and played at numerous festivals. He performed with the Budapest Big Band, then formed Trio Stendhal with guitarist Ferenc Snétberger and percussionist Kornél Horváth, which was a highly successful endeavour. In 2003 Dés and Snétberger got together to play and record again. He composed music for and played with the project Jazz+Az between 1998-2000 giving several concerts and recording two highly popular albums. Dés has been writing music for films since the mid-1980s, and he has become the most sought-after composer of soundtracks in Hungary. His musicals 'Valahol Európában' ('Somewhere in Europe') and 'A dzsungel könyve' ('The Book of the Jungle') have attracted spectators in great numbers. His work was honoured, among others, with the eMeRTon Prize in 1988, the Liszt Prize in 1991, various awards by film and theatre critics, the Artisjus, and the Association of Hungarian Record Companies; he was also awarded the 'For Budapest' Prize, was named Merited Artist, and received the Hungarian Jazz Award as the Jazz Musician of the Year 2003. Dés formed his new jazz group in 2003, with whom he has recorded two albums, and gave concerts in the Covent Garden in London in 2004. The premier of the new album, 'Street Music', with a slightly modified line-up, took place at the 2005 Budapest Spring Festival.

  Song for Gigi (László Dés)
Real Audio
Street Music
Tom Tom Records, 2005

 
László Dés - saxophone, József Balázs - keyboards, Gábor Juhász - guitar, Péter Glaser - double bass, Elemér Balázs - drums, András Dés - percussion
 

Csaba Deseő and the István Gyárfás Trio

Csaba Deseő's (1939) career started in the early 1960s, in the legendary Dália era. Soon he appeared at international festivals in Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, and Ljubljana. His first LP entitled 'Four String Tschaba' was recorded in 1974 in West-Germany, and it was followed by three other ones released by Hungaroton. He played in different formations with top Hungarian performers for a long time, among others with Andor Kovács, László Gárdonyi, Richárd Kruza, Imre Kőszegi, and Balázs Berkes. Deseő has been a frequent guest soloist in vibraphonist Bosko Petrovic's ensemble releasing a CD with them in the 1990s. He has played with Jean-Luc Ponty, John Lewis, Zbigniew Seifert, Gábor Szabó, and Martin Drew. Between 1967 and 2000 he was member of the viola section of the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra.
István Gyárfás (1962) is an outstanding representative of the younger generation of players who got his diploma at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. He formed his trio fifteen years ago with whom he made his debut recording in 1995 entitled 'Live at the Jazz Café'. He is greatly influenced by Wes Montgomery and other giants of mainstream jazz. His collaboration with Csaba Deseő has become frequent recently, and besides recording together they have given concerts in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Romania. They occasionally play as a quintet as well with the addition of the great pianist, Gábor Cseke.

  Tale (Csaba Deseő)
Real Audio
Tale
Self production, 2004


 
Csaba Deseő - violin, István Gyárfás - guitar, Péter Czakó - bass, Balázs Cseh - drums, Gábor Cseke - electric piano
 

Mihály Dresch Quartet

Mihály Dresch (1955) was an engineering student of seventeen when he turned to jazz under the influence of, among others, Johnny Griffin. After completing his studies in jazz at the Béla Bartók Conservatory (1979) he linked up with the vanguard of Hungarian mainstream jazz. However, he soon created a musical world of his own incorporating Hungarian and Eastern European folk music and mainstream jazz in a genuine way. He formed his first ensemble in 1984 with István Grencsó saxophonist, Róbert Benkő bass player and István Baló drummer. Dresch's band saw many changeovers in members throughout the years, and apart from the names mentioned it has included, Tamás Geröly drummer, and Félix Lajkó violinist. The first album of his quartet with the present line-up (Ferenc Kovács, Mátyás Szandai, and István Baló), entitled 'Riding the Wind' was released in Britain in 2000, and it was reviewed and highly regarded by Down Beat. In 2001 followed 'Quiet As It Is', their first CD released by BMC Records - the quartet's record company ever since. 'Hungarian Bebop' came in 2002, and won international acclaim due in part to the contribution of the great Archie Shepp, one of Dresch's musical idols. The Quartet's latest album 'Straight Music', recorded at the end of 2003, came out in spring 2004 and was given a critical accolade by the leading British magazine, Jazzwise. Members of the Dresch Quartet have played with international jazz giants like John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Chico Freeman, David Murray, and Dewey Redman. "Dresch is one of the most influential nurturers of a fertile fusion between Hungarian folk music and jazz" - as John Fordham (The Guardian) puts it.

  Transylvanian Romanian Music
(traditional - Mihály Dresch)
Real Audio
Straight Music
BMC Records, 2004

 
Mihály Dresch - traditional recorder, Ferenc Kovács - violin, Mátyás Szandai - double bass, István Baló - drums, Kálmán Balogh - cimbalom
 

East Side Jazz Company

The East Side Jazz Company is a formation that came to life with the extension of the Ágnes Lakatos Trio. It is the expressed aim of the ensemble to create a unique sound by breaking away from the American jazz traditions and employing Eastern European and Balkan melodies and rhythmic patterns. The instrumentation also supports this objective: the cimbalom, the violin and wind instruments used in folk music have an important role in the band. The ESJC frequently plays in clubs and festivals in Hungary. The band leader Ágnes Lakatos, a singing teacher at the Ferenc Erkel Music School, has been organising programs at the Benczúr Jazz Club in Budapest for many years. Her first solo album was released in 2000 entitled 'Covered by Frost'. Tibor Csuhaj Barna (husband of Ágnes Lakatos) has played with leading jazz musicians, but is also an accomplished interpreter of folk music. He was the composer of all the pieces on 'Bora', and singer Sugárka Enyedi wrote the lyrics to them. Attila Blahó is a resident of Szeged, and takes a major role in keeping the jazz traditions alive in this town in the south by playing and teaching jazz. Béla Ágoston is a member of the Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble and a prominent figure on both the avant-garde jazz and ethno music scenes. Miklós Lukács received classical training. He is an active member of the Hungarian contemporary music scene and has been a soloist of the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. György Jeszenszky is one of the most sought-after drummers in the country, he has appeared on numerous recordings. Tamás Gombár was a first violinist in the Honvéd Folk Dance Ensemble for 8 years.

  Bora (Tibor Csuhaj Barna)
Real Audio
Bora
BMM, 2003

 
Ágnes Lakatos - vocals, Béla Ágoston - saxophone, 'tuva singing', Miklós Lukács - cimbalom, Tamás Gombai - violin, Attila Blaho - piano, Tibor Csuhaj Barna - bass, György Jeszenszky - drums
 

Eichinger Band

Tibor Eichinger was born in 1963. He started playing the guitar at the age of 13. At the beginning of the 1980s he studied classical guitar in Debrecen, then his interest turned towards jazz. He moved to Budapest and attended the jazz department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory for a year. He was admitted to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1990, and he obtained a diploma there in 1994. He established his first quartet in the same year, appearing at several clubs in Budapest and Hungary. His debut album, 'Message from the Garden' ('Üzenet a kertből') came out in 1999, which was followed by 'What Watch?' in 2001 with another outfit called Timeless Life. In the same year the Eichinger Quartet also released an album entitled 'Respiratory Problems' ('Légúti panaszok'). Besides leading his bands, Tibor Eichinger has participated in theater performances, e.g. a production of the Krétakör Company, entitled 'Nexxt'. He was a member of the Wertetics Orkestar and the Bop-Art Orchestra. He composed the title music for György Szomjas' film, 'Unexpected Death' ('Váratlan Halál'); and he has also collaborated with the film director András Szőke. He has performed in duo with Gábor Gadó, and together with the German jazz guitarist, Stefan Varga, they recorded an album in Germany, December 2004, titled 'East and West'. Eichinger's newest musical endeavor is the Eichinger Quartet. They play contemporary music with improvisations rooted in the jazz tradition.

  Selano (Tibor Eichinger)
Real Audio
Message from the Garden

Fonó Records, 1999

 
Tibor Eichinger - guitar, Kristóf Bacsó - saxophone, Ferenc Schreck - trombone, Péter Nagy - bass, Csaba Gavallér - drums, József Czibere - percussion
 

Equinox

The Equinox quartet was formed in 1993. The two founding members, Tibor Márkus and Imre Héder set out to follow in the footsteps of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, and to nurture their musical legacy applying an individual approach. Their first CD, released in 1995, reflects this objective. Their second CD entitled 'Three Trees' came out in 1999 with guest appearances by Mihály Borbély, Kornél Fekete Kovács and Ferenc Schreck, thus extending the line-up to a septet. The musical style of Equinox is closest to modern mainstream jazz. Their repertoire includes original compositions mostly penned by Tibor Márkus, with an emphasis on melody and accessibility. The band made its third CD in 2002, which also contains vocal pieces performed by Linda Kovács and Martina Király with guest musicians Gábor Juhász, Kornél Fekete Kovács, and András Dés. The title of the album is 'Are You Free?'. The band has been invited to jazz festivals and events in various European cities. The engine of the band, Tibor Márkus received his diploma at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in 1991, then majored in jazz piano at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. His professor was Károly Binder. His first record came out in 1991 with Swiss saxophonist, Claudia Raths. His solo album, 'Waves of Time', was released in 2000. He has also composed choral works, pieces for films and the theatre. He teaches jazz piano and jazz history at the Ferenc Erkel Primary Art Institution and Jazz School, and is also a professor of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music.

  Blues Suite (Tibor Márkus)
Real Audio
Eclectic
BMM, 2004

 
Tibor Márkus - piano, Zoltán Zana - tenor saxophone, Viktor Tóth - alto saxophone, Ferenc Schreck - trombone, Kornél Fekete-Kovács - trumpet, Tibor Csuhaj Barna - bass, György Jeszenszky - drums
 

ESP Group

The band was founded in 1994 under the leadership of composer Péter Erdélyi who is highly experienced in many different musical styles and forms, and László Gőz, long time teacher of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, founding member of the ensembles Group 180 and Brass Age, and creator of the Budapest Music Center. Working as a sextet until 1996 the ESP Group appeared at numerous festivals in Hungary and Europe, among others at the European Jazz Festival, the World Music Festival, and the Bratislava International Jazz Festival. Their debut CD 'Waiting' came out in 1995 with guest appearances of László Dés, Kornél Horváth, Gábor Winand, and István Tóth 'Sztív'. The songs were composed by Péter Erdélyi, László Dés, István Tóth 'Sztív' and Gábor Winand. 1999 saw the transformation of the band to a quartet which resulted in László Gőz and his trombone gaining a more prominent role and the style of the music shifting from world music influenced improvised music towards the modern jazz of the 1990s with the utilisation of electronic devices. They released their second album in 1999 entitled 'Colours', the material of which they performed at the Frankfurt Book Fair and several jazz clubs in Germany with great success. Their third album, 'Night Sounds' was released two years later.

  Night Sounds (Péter Erdélyi)
Real Audio
Night Sounds
BMC Records, 2001

 
László Gőz - trombone, Péter Erdélyi - keyboards, László Studniczky 'Zsatyi' - bass, Lajos Gyenge - drums
 

Fusio Group

The Fusio Group was formed in 1992 under the name Fusio Quartet. As their name suggests, they play jazz fusion, which was less common a style in Hungary at the time the band was born. They mostly play the original compositions and arrangements of Péter Szendőfi. Since 1993 the Fusio Quartet has been giving concerts at festivals and jazz clubs regularly. Their first CD, 'Life Rhythm' came out in 1995, when the band leader, Péter Szendőfi returned from New York after completing his studies on a full scholarship at the Drummers Collective music school. The band recorded their second CD entitled 'Attitudes' in 1999. With the addition of a pianist, the style of the music changed a little, and that was the time their name was changed to Fusio Group. Their latest album, 'Energy', a live recording was released in 2003. The band members have played with renowned Hungarian jazz and pop performers and bands of the like of Tea, Zsuzsa Cserháti, the Attila László Band, Djabe, and Charlie. Among their influences Fusio Group lists the Chick Corea Elektric Band, the Brecker Brothers, Yellowjackets, the John Scofield Quartet, Tom Coster, Tribal Tech, and Dave Weckl Band.

  Latino (Péter Szendőfi)
Real Audio
Energy
Periferic Records, 2003

 
István Elek - tenor and alto saxophone, János Kormos - guitar, Áron Romhányi - piano, Tamás Barabás - bass, Péter Szendőfi - drums
 

Gábor Gadó Quartet

Gábor Gadó (1957) started his musical studies on the violin, then switched to the classical guitar. He graduated in 1983 from the Jazz Department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory as a student of Gyula Babos, following which he featured in the bands of the vanguard of Hungarian jazz musicians. Amongst his first partners were Róbert Rátonyi, Jr., Ferenc Snétberger, Attila László, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Elemér Balázs, and Kálmán Oláh. Later he appeared more and more frequently in international line-ups, for example alongside Gerald Veasley, Randy Roos and the late George Jinda. The first band he organised was called Joy. In 1991 he released 'Special Time', the first album under his own name, then toured Europe with Nikola Parov. In 1995 he moved to France, then briefly lived in London as well. Five years later Gadó formed his French quartet in Paris, a collaboration that has proved to be extremely fruitful. He has recorded seven albums for BMC Records to date, and thus has been the best documented artist of the label. In 2003 his achievements earned him the Bobby Jaspar prize, awarded by the French L'Academie du Jazz each year to the European jazz musician of the year - the highest international recognition of his work to date. He is a sought-after guest at French and international festivals and clubs, and has performed at the following places: Festival de Châteauroux, Festival de Jazz de Montlouis/Loire, Rencontres Internationales de Jazz de Nevers, Festival Crest Jazz Vocal, Festival de l'Hotel d'Albret (Paris), Tete Montoliu Jazz Festival (Barcelona), Festival de Jazz de Souillac, Festival de Jazz de Vitrolles, Fete de la Musique de Téhéran, Mittel Europa Jazz Festival de Schiltingheim, and the Paris Jazz Festival.

  Malte Laurids Brigge (Gábor Gadó)
Real Audio
Orthodoxia
BMC Records, 2002

 
Gábor Gadó - guitar, Matthieu Donarier - tenor saxophone, Sébastien Boisseau - double bass, Joe Quitzke - drums
 

Grencsó Surprise Kollektív

István Grencsó has been an outstanding representative of avant-garde jazz in Hungary for decades. The saxophonist started his career in 1979 with the band, Masina, and gained attention in the 1980s as member of the Mihály Dresch Quartet and collaborating with György Szabados. After leaving Dresch in 1985, he formed the Grencsó Kollektíva, which has been his primary band ever since. Grencsó has made recordings and performed as leader of all kinds of formations from the trio to the big band amalgamating the elements of jazz, ethno music, pop, rock and old dance music in a unique way. He has also played with the bands Makám, MAKUZ, and the avant-garde ensemble Kampec Dolores. His relationship with bass player Róbert Benkő dates back to the Dresch-era, and he has also been working closely with György Jeszenszky for years now. Benkő has also played with the MAKUZ, the Szabados Septet, the Dél-alföldi Saxophone Ensemble, and others. György Jeszenszky is a widely sought-after drummer, who has already performed with Károly Binder, John Tchicai, Gábor Gadó, Frigyes Pleszkán, Tony Lakatos and many others. The two other members of Grencsó's collective, Gabi Kenderesi and Csaba Hajnóczy from the bands Kampec Dolores, Egy Kiss Erzsi Zene, and Danubians are particularly responsible for the influences coming from avant-garde and experimental improvised music. The music on 'Dream car' was inspired by a so-called 'diafilm', a series of freeze frames telling a tale, which is projected on the wall - a cultural phenomenon specific to the Eastern European region.

  Marabou (István Grencsó)
Real Audio
Jungle (István Grencsó)
Real Audio
Dream Car
KVB, 2003

 
István Grencsó - saxophone, Gabi Kenderesi - vocals, violin, Csaba Hajnóczy - guitar, Róbert Benkő - bass, György Jeszenszky - drums, percussion
 

Kornél Horváth-Zoltán Lantos Duo

The duo is well-known in both the Hungarian and European contemporary jazz scene. Lantos and Horváth had been playing together in different formations for many years, before they formed their duo in mid-2000. Their music is rooted deeply in the traditions of their homeland, but does not lack the influence of foreign music cultures either, thus the music of the East, Indian classical music, contemporary music, and free jazz are all essential constituents of their compositions and improvisations. Zoltán Lantos, who learnt classical violin, also mastered the Indian playing technique during the 9 years he spent in the country. He played with such outstanding musicians as Márta Sebestyén, László Dés, Mihály Dresch, and Gábor Juhász, and also with Charlie Mariano, Ramesh Shotham, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Lars Danielsson, Dhafer Youssef, Markus Stockhausen, Achim Tang, and Patrice Heral. Besides his own band, Mirrorworld, he also gives solo performances using special electronic effects and loops.
Kornél Horváth is one of Hungary's most notable percussionist, who plays not only the well-known congas and bongos, but also more exotic instruments, like the gatham, gatodrum, chekere, udu, hang, etc. He was founding member of the successful Trio Stendhal and the Attila László Band, and has worked with a number of international greats, like David Friedman, Randy Brecker, Tommy Campbell, Carlo Rizzo, or oud-player, virtuoso Munir Bashir. In 1992 his solo CD, 'Rag Handed' was released. Apart from being a noted musician he also endeavours to promote the case of Hungarian jazz at home and abroad.

  Yatra (Kornél Horváth, Zoltán Lantos)
Real Audio
Live recording at the MOL Budapest Jazz Festival, 2004
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  Zoltán Lantos - violin, Kornél Horváth - percussion
 

Hot Jazz Band

Formed in 1985, the Hot Jazz Band has become one of Hungary's most successful professional bands. The music of this group brings back sounds of that bygone era remembered as the Jazz Age: the early jazz of the roaring '20s, the Swing in the '30s and the Dixieland Revival of the '40s. Hungarian tunes from this period are also in their repertoire. With the addition of a couple of banjos, the band transforms itself into the Hungarian Banjo Kings, and a washboard act spices up the show on occasion. They have participated in numerous international festivals among other places in Lyon, Regensburg, Marciac, Bussum, Dresden, Helsinki, Zürich, Vienna, etc. They took part in the world's largest traditional jazz festival in Sacramento, California, five times. They have played with such leading artists as Cynthia Sayer, Joe Muranyi (Louis Armstrong's All Stars), Leroy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Allred, Tom Saunders, Allan Vaché, Howard Alden, Jake Hanna (USA), Acker Bilk, (UK), Marcel Zanini, Irakli, Marc Fosset (Stéphane Grappelli Trio) (F), Tom Stuip (NL), Theis Jensen (DK), and Oscar Klein (CH). Their awards include: Louis Armstrong International Jazz Competition in Le Havre, 1994, 1st place; New Orleans International Jazz Competition in St. Raphael, 1995, 1st place (Europe's largest dixieland competition, 54 bands); Megéve International Jazz Competition, 1997, 1st place; Louis Armstrong International Jazz Competition in St. Adresse, 1998, 1st place. The band has released eight CDs.

  Swing That Music
(Louis Armstrong, Horace Gerlach)
Real Audio
Flyin' to Sacramento
HJB, 2004

 
Tamás Bényei - trumpet, banjo, vocals, Zsolt Bera - trombone, László Fodor - clarinet, Róbert Szili - guitar, Zoltán Juhász - double bass, István Galbács - drums
 

Jávori Sound Machine

The Jávori Sound Machine, founded by acknowledged drummer Vilmos Jávori in 2002, strives always to create a special atmosphere on stage with their energetic performance of an amalgam of Hungarian folk music, jazz, pop, and Latin rhythms. They mostly play original compositions and traditional arrangements. Vilmos Jávori (1945) has been a definitive character of Hungarian jazz life for decades. He has won numerous prizes and awards including the Special Prize of the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the eMeRTon Prize, and the 1st Prize at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival. Péter Sárik (1972) started to play the piano at the age of 7, and graduated from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1997. He has played and made recordings with several jazz and pop formations, and has also composed music. László Nagy (1982) has achieved high ranking and won a number of music contests despite his young age. József Horváth 'Plutó' (1980) won the talent contest for bassists organised by the Hungarian Radio in 2003, and is a sought-after session musician on both acoustic and electric bass. Dávid Jávori (1982), son of Vilmos Jávori, is pursuing classical music studies. He ranked 3rd at the 1998 European Festival.

  Just for You... (László Nagy)
Real Audio
Szivárvány havasán
Self production, 2003

 
Vilmos Jávori - drums, László Nagy - guitar, vocals, Péter Sárik - piano, József Horváth 'Plutó' - bass, Dávid Jávori - violin, Tony Lakatos - saxophone
 

Jazzpression

Jazzpression was founded in May 2000 by Sándor Tóth (1971) saxophonist. The members of the band, who have been playing regularly together in different formations, are all graduates of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and they are all in their 20s or early 30s. In their compositions European classical music and folk elements colour their approach to jazz. Their first album entitled 'Ways' was released in 2003, which was followed by 'Few Minutes Dream' in 2004. The band frequently invites guest singer Barnabás Pély or other well-known vocalists. In the past years Jazzpression has played at jazz clubs all over Hungary, and was invited to festivals in Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. At these events they had the fortune to play with, among others Victor Bailey, Tuck & Patti, Mino Cinelu, Bennie Maupin and even with Dave Brubeck. It was a special honour for them to get an invitation to give a concert at the Great Hall of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and they played to a full house. Jazzpression received the eMeRTon Prize as the best jazz band of the year 2004. On the occasion of the summit of foreign ministers of the European Union on 24 April 2004, Jazzpression, among others, represented Hungary at the Accession Day's celebration.

  Tale of My Father (Sándor Tóth)
Real Audio
Few Minutes Dream
ICO Rt., 2004

 
Sándor Tóth - tenor and soprano saxophone, Péter Sárik- piano, György Frey - fretless bass, Gábor Dörnyei - drums, Sándor Födő, Jr. - percussion
 

Kaltenecker Trio

Zsolt Kaltenecker was born in 1970. He began his studies in classical music at the age of 8. He graduated from the jazz piano department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1996. In the same year he continued his studies as a private pupil of Jaki Byard in New York. In 1999 his solo CD 'Songs from the 20th Century' won The Best Jazz Album of the Year award. Since 2002 he has been playing electrical instruments regularly. The music of the Kaltenecker trio is an amalgam of world music, jazz, pop, rock, and new age. Since 2000 the recordings of Zsolt Kaltenecker have appeared and been successful in Japan as well. Péter Papesch was born in 1973. Surprisingly, he began playing the bass at the mature age of 20 - he is completely self-taught. His musicianship has been greatly influenced by the art of Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten, and Gary Willis. He is continuously sought by leading musicians in a variety of styles. András Dés was born in 1978. He started his musical studies at the age of seven with classical percussion lessons. Later, during high-school years, he became interested in different instruments used in folk-music. His basic musical direction is 'close-to-jazz' improvisational music (as with the Elemér Balázs Group, Kaltenecker Trio, and Off Course) but he is also an active participant of experimental groups mixing folk-music with modern electronic genres. In 2001 Péter Eötvös invited him to cooperate in his piece entitled 'Music for New York'.

  Pasolini's Dream (Zsolt Kaltenecker)
Real Audio
Alchimia
KCG, 2004

 
Zsolt Kaltenecker - synthesizers, Péter Papesch - bass, András Dés - percussion
 

Lajos Kathy Horváth-Attila Lőrinszky

Lajos Kathy Horváth was born into a musical family, and started playing jazz very early, at the end of the 1960s. He played in duo with György Szabados from the early 1970s and at the same time with perfecting his improvisational abilities he immersed himself in contemporary music. In 1973 he and Szabados won an award at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival. He was a member of important jazz formations of the time, among them the band Rákfogó with Béla Szakcsi Lakatos and Gyula Babos. From 1975 to 1990 Lajos Kathy-Horváth lived abroad. György Cziffra invited him to play in Paris, where he soon became a student of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. After winning the Bartók Violin Competition of the institute, Menuhin selected him as his assistant and he taught and performed in this position for a number of years. After the political changes in Hungary he returned home, and has been composing and playing in different formations in his native country ever since. Besides the great jazz artists his main influences have been Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, and Arnold Schönberg. In 2005 Kathy Horváth received the Officer's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for the recording of his great orchestral pieces 'Alpha and Omega' and 'Gypsies in Holocaust", the uniqueness of which is that the composer plays each and every instrument himself.
Attila Lőrinszky has played in symphony orchestras, but is also a highly adept performer of jazz and folk music. He got to know Kathy Horváth as early as the 1970s playing and recording with György Szabados. He has frequently been performing in duos, and has been a partner of, among others, saxophone player István Grencsó, singer Irén Lovász, and violinist Félix Lajkó. He has also made a recording with the latter.

  Arabian Mood (Lajos Kathy Horváth)
Real Audio
Sketches
X-Production, 2001

 
Lajos Kathy Horváth - violin, Attila Lőrinszky - bass
 

Imre Kőszegi Quartet

Imre Kőszegi, who is celebrating his 60th birthday this year, has been a major figure of the Hungarian jazz scene for decades, and is an acknowledged drummer in Europe, too. He formed his first band, the Kőszegi Rhythm and Brass in 1975, and from 1980 he played with bass player Jack Gregg, saxophone player Zbigniev Namyslowski, and pianist László Gárdonyi, with whom he toured Europe. Since then he has founded several other ensembles, including the Percussion Workshop Orchestra (a revolutionary formation regarding its line-up with reed players, drummers and percussion players), the Super Trio (with György Vukán and Balázs Berkes), and Take Four (with Aladár Pege, Gyula Babos, and the late Rudolf Tomsits). Besides playing with well-known, established performers, Kőszegi also likes to employ young, talented musicians in his bands. He has played with internationally acknowledged musicians, amongst others, with Larry Coryell, Steve Grossman, Birelli Lagrene, Trilok Gurtu, Teddy Wilson, and Frank Zappa. He has contributed to more than 150 records. He was the president of the Hungarian Jazz Federation for seven years. He has been a professor of the Jazz Department of the Music Academy for more than a decade leading its drum major program. Kőszegi's outstanding work in the field of jazz has been acknowledged with the Lyra Prize, the Hungarian Radio has honoured him with the eMeRTon Prize and the Award of Excellence ('Nívódíj'), the Hungarian Jazz Federation gave him the Gábor Szabó Award for his lifetime achievement, and he also received the Officer's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

  Darling (Imre Kőszegi)
Real Audio
Stereo Magazine insert, 2003

 
Imre Kőszegi - drums, József Balázs - piano, Viktor Tóth - alto saxophone, György Orbán - bass
 

Attila László Band

Guitarist and composer Attila László (1953) graduated from the Jazz Department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory. Right after that he played in top Hungarian jazz bands. His first band was Kaszakő, which existed between 1980-85. In 1985 he founded the band Things with saxophonist Tony Lakatos. The band recorded two albums, toured Europe and played regularly until 1992. The guitarist has been leading his own combo, the Attila László Band since 1992 with whom he recorded three CDs featuring mostly his own compositions. The current members of the band include László, Oláh, Lattmann, Szendőfi, and Mihály Borbély on saxophones. Since 1987 Attila László has been a teacher at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and the leader of its big band. In 1997 he was awarded with the Artisjus Prize. In 1999 he received the Gábor Szabó Award from the Hungarian Jazz Federation for his lifetime achievement. In the same year he was elected the president of the Hungarian Jazz Federation, then re-elected in 2003 and he held this positionIn until 2005. in 2000 he won the Leó Weiner Prize for his Outstanding Music Pedagogical Work from the Hungarian Association of Creative Artists. In 2003 he was given the Liszt Prize for his work as a composer. During his career he has played with such renowned artists as Randy Brecker, Anthony Jackson, James Moody, Tommy Campbell, and Dave Friedman. The Attila László Band toured the United States in 2004 giving concerts in New York, New Jersey, Washington, Cleveland, and Chicago. In the same year László recorded a CD entitled 'On the Broadway' with Tony Lakatos, Kálmán Oláh, János Egri, Béla Lattmann and Géza Lakatos 'Pecek', which contains popular jazz standards.

  Brother I. (Attila László)
Real Audio
Once Upon a Time
BMC Records, 2002

 
Attila László - guitar, Kálmán Oláh - piano, Béla Lattmann - bass, Péter Szendőfi - drums, Kornél Horváth - percussion with: Zoltán Gyöngyössy - flute, Béla Horváth - oboe, György Lakatos - bassoon, Danubia Youth Symphony Orchestra, László Kovács - conductor
 

Molnár Dixieland Band

The band was formed by amateur musicians in Szeged (in the south of Hungary) in 1964. They won several domestic contests in the 1960s, the result of which was a number of recordings made for the Hungarian Radio. Throughout the years both the Hungarian Radio and Television has engaged them in different music programmes, the most important having been a 40-minute film featuring their songs. Since 1972 they have been playing at festivals of the world initially under the name Szeged Oldtimers, and they have performed with the like of Fatty George, Eddy Davis, Tony Scott, Joe Muranyi, Jon Mortimer, Ian Wheeler, Marcel Zanini, Irakli and Theis Jensen. They cut their first record in 1978, which was followed by 9 others, including 4 CDs, to the present day. In 1998 they founded an event named the Dóm Dixie Gala within the framework of the prestigious Szeged Open Air Festival. They have won several prizes, including the eMeRTon Prize in 2001, and their home town has acknowledged their work in 1994 by awarding the band with the Pro Urbe Prize, then in 1996 they received the 'For Szeged' Prize, and in 2004, on their 40th anniversary, they were honoured with the Golden Medal of the City of Szeged.

  Oh, Lady Be Good! (George Gershwin)
Real Audio
It's Wonderful
Self production, 1999

 
Dr. Gyula Molnár - clarinet, saxophone, Márta Garay - piano, vocals, László Sallai - trumpet, Árpád Mucsi - trombone, Károly Kréter - banjo, vocals, Miklós Kiszin - double bass, Géza Kalocsai - drums
 

János Nagy Trio

The trio was formed in 2000 by János Nagy, Balázs Horváth, and István Baló. In 2001 they gave a memorable concert with tenor saxophone legend, David Murray at the Mediawave Festival in Győr. This concert was later voted by music critics of the Gramofon magazine as the Jazz Event of the Year. In 2002 Baló was replaced by Péter Szendőfi at the drums. In the same year they played with Dewey Redman, appeared with great success at the 12th Macau Jazz Festival, then in 2003 they welcomed saxophonist Ben Castle on the stage of the Sziget Festival. The members of the trio have been playing together for a long time, both Horváth and Szendőfi contributed to Nagy's earlier projects. The trio plays compositions of the band leader permeated by the spirit of world music and jazz.
János Nagy was born in 1971. He got his diploma at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1994, and won 2nd place at the Vilnius Improvising Competition the following year. In 1996 he was the absolute winner at the Getxo International Jazz Festival: he ranked 1st and was also voted as Best Soloist. He obtained a second diploma in composition and arrangement at the Academy of Music in 2003, and in 2004 got the eMeRTon Prize as The Best Instrumental Soloist of the Year. During the years he has played with acknowledged Hungarian performers and bands, and also international artists, like Al diMeola, Alex Acuna, Arnie Somogyi, Bernard Maseli, Dave Samuels, Paco Sery, Sangoma Everett, Tony Lakatos, and Winston Clifford. Before his current band he led his Hardline Trio. He has recorded four CDs until today.

  The Girl (János Nagy)
Real Audio
Tale
Blue Line Records, 2004


 
János Nagy - piano, Balázs Horváth - bass, Péter Szendőfi - drums
 

Nigun

The meaning of the word 'nigun' is: 'song without words'. Circles in American jazz have had a long history of reviving Eastern European Jewish traditions: we can think of John Zorn, his publishing company, Tzadik, and the musicians gathering around them. In Europe Nigun has a unique role in following a similar track incorporating elements of deep spirituality and modern jazz. Tradition and modernity, closed forms and free improvisation, stillness and tension: the music of Nigun is characterised by extremes that complete each other, and gives a common new meaning to both Hasid and Hungarian cultural heritage in an authentic environment. Párniczky was born in Geneva, he began his music studies in Budapest, and continued them at the American Institute of Music in Vienna. Then he relocated to Budapest, where he graduated from the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. In 2001 he received a scholarship to the Jazz Department of The Royal Conservatory, The Hague, and made an arrangement for the Residentie Orkest, which was performed at the Anton Phillips Zaal, The Hague. Párniczky has led several jazz groups, his main early influence was John Coltrane, but later he immersed himself in traditional Jewish Hasid tunes. In 2001 he got back to his roots and founded Nigun. They have recorded two albums to the present day. 'Standard', the title of their second CD, refers to a way of playing of 19th century Jewish musicians who performed two or three dance pieces often in a set order, without interruption. The general set-up of Nigun is a quartet, whose members presently include Párniczky, Bacsó, József Barcza Horváth on bass and István Baló on drums.

  Odessa Bulgarisch (traditional)
Real Audio
Standard
Etnofon, 2003


 
András Párniczky - guitar, Kristóf Bacsó - alto saxophone, Péter Nagy - bass, Csaba Gavallér - drums
 

Off Course

The group Off Course was established around 1989. First they played jazz standards, and gradually they created their own style influenced by New Age music, elements of European classical music, the so-called ECM style, and contemporary music. Gábor Juhász (1968) has played in the Binder Quartet, Tin Tin, the World Music Trio, and in duos with Binder and Gábor Gadó. He is an accomplished interpreter of Oriental musical languages. Besides Off Course he is also a member of the Elemér Balázs Group. Róbert Szakcsi Lakatos (1975), competition winner in Krakow (1995), Basel (1996), and Montreux (2002), studied classical music and jazz in Budapest and Basel, and has played with Reggie Johnson, Keith Copland, Tony Lakatos, Alvin Queen, Peter Bernstein, Jack DeJohnette, and John Patitucci, among others. József Barcza Horváth (1974) is also at home in both classical music and jazz, and was the member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra headed by Claudio Abbado for 2 years. He has won international competitions in Krakow (1995) and Debrecen (1997), and has been a partner of the like of Kirk Lightsey, Benny Bailey, Tony Lakatos, Ferenc Snétberger, Jack DeJohnette, Ray Anderson, Frank London, and Palle Mikkelborg. András Dés (1978) is not only a fine jazz percussionist (as can be heard e.g. in the Elemér Balázs Group and the Kaltenecker Trio), he is also a master of European, Latin and Oriental folk instruments. During the 10 years of their existence, Off Course has included Elemér Balázs, Attila Balogh 'Csibe' , Gábor Szendi, László Zsákai 'Piros', etc. The first album of the band, 'Street of Secrets' came out in 1999. Their second CD entitled 'Tales of the Lighthouse' was released in 2002 in cooperation with world-famous jazz trumpeter, Erik Truffaz.

  Black and Orange (Béla Szakcsi Lakatos)
Real Audio
Tales of the Lighthouse
BMC Records, 2002

 
Gábor Juhász - guitar, Róbert Szakcsi Lakatos - piano, József Horváth Barcza - double bass, András Mohay - drums, András Dés - percussion
 

Kálmán Oláh Trio

Pianist and composer Kálmán Oláh (1970) has gained international reputation as an artist who masterfully combines the elements of jazz, folk and contemporary classical music. He completed his musical studies at the Jazz Faculty of the Béla Bartók Conservatory. Oláh, a recipient of numerous awards and prizes (Leverkusen International Jazz Competition: Jury Prize; Kalis International Jazz Pianist Competition: Grand Prize; eMerRton Prize Best Soloist of the Year; Hoeilaart Jazz Competition: Best Soloist; Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Jacksonville; Gramofon Magazine: Hungarian Jazz Award), has appeared with artists including Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Pat Metheny, Steve Grossman, Jack DeJohnette, John Patitucci, Tommy Campbell, Ron McClure, Stefano Di Battista, Jay Leonhart, Daniel Humair, Andrej Ceccarelli, Paolo Fresu, and Kenny Wheeler, to name a few. In 1990 he founded Trio Midnight with János Egri and Elemér Balázs, an innovative jazz trio that helped him earn recognition and made him a regular at such prestigious events as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the Marciac Jazz Festival in France, the Getxo Jazz Festival in Spain and the Ciney Jazz Nights in Belgium. He has recorded ten albums in different - sometimes unconventional - formations and made special appearances on 12 other recordings. In 2000, Kálmán Oláh became a member of the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Budapest. His critically acclaimed 'Concerto for Jazz Orchestra' was performed in 2001 at the Hungarian Radio, with the collaboration of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra. His latest trio release, 'Contrasts and Parallels', published by the Japanese label, MA Recordings, is a special twofold project: a rendition of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations' with Oláh's improvisations over Bach's original themes is followed by the pianist's variations on a Hungarian folk song.

  Allegro Giusto (from Variations on a Folk Song)
(Kálmán Oláh)
Real Audio
Contrasts and Parallels
MA Recordings, 2004

 
Kálmán Oláh - piano, János Egri - double bass, Ferenc Németh - drums
 

Szabolcs Oláh Quartet

The Szabolcs Oláh Quartetet formed in 2002 is a collective of four talented musicians, all in their twenties. They have all attended or graduated from the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and besides playing together in many groups (HaGesher, Jazz4You, Fritz Jazz Band), they are also close friends. Oláh, currently a student of Sándor Horányi and Gyula Babos, was the Best Soloist at the Youth Jazz Festival in 2000, then in 2004 his arrangement was voted best at the 2nd Jazz Composing and Arranging Competition of the Hungarian Jazz Federation. Mester started playing the guitar, then switched to the clarinet, but however talented he proved to be on the instrument (he won the 1991 National Clarinet Competition), he finally chose the saxophone. His teachers are Mihály Borbély and István Elek. Soós won a Special Award as Best Instrumentalist at the above mentioned Youth Jazz Festival. The teacher of the freshly graduated bass player was Balázs Berkes. Majtényi used to be the pupil of István Baló before he was accepted to the Academy of Music, where he studied under Iván Nesztor and Imre Kőszegi. The band won a competition organised within the Lipót City Days in 2004. Members of the jury were well-known Hungarian players and jazz experts Gábor Juhász, Kálmán Oláh, and György Kerekes.

  Escape (Szabolcs Oláh)
Real Audio
Szabolcs Oláh Quartet
promotional release, 2004

 
Szabolcs Oláh - guitar, Dániel Mester - saxophone, Márton Soós - double bass, Bálint Majtényi - drums
 

Aladár Pege

Aladár Pege was born in 1939. He received his diploma from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1969, then between 1975 and 1978 he studied in West Berlin under professor Rainer Zepperitz, the solo bass player of Herbert von Karajan at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been giving concerts since 1963 playing classical music and jazz side by side. He has recorded numerous albums, for the last decade he has made two records every year: one classical and one jazz. Since 1978 he has been Associate Professor of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, now, as a retired instructor, he is still active. In 1982 he played at the Carnegie Hall with Herbie Hancock's orchestra as a guest soloist. On that occasion the instrument of the late Charles Mingus was presented to him by Mingus' widow, who had heard Pege play earlier. Besides playing with other great artists he has given duo performances with Art Farmer, Albert Mangelsdorff, Dexter Gordon, and Walter Norris. Several honors have been bestowed on Aladár Pege. In 1964 he was selected as the Virtuoso of the Prague Jazz Festival, and in 1970 he was voted Best European Soloist at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In his home country he received the Liszt Prize in 1977, in 1986 he was named Artist of Merit, in 1999 the 'For Budapest' Award was presented to him, and in 2002 he was given the Kossuth Prize. His life and art has been discussed in a monograph written by Géza Riskó.

  Siesta (Aladár Pege)
Real Audio
Pege Live at IBS Concert Hall
KCG, 2002

 
Aladár Pege - bass, Heinz von Hermann - flute, saxophone, Gábor Kolmann - saxophone, Zoltán Pintér - piano, János Sramkó - drums, József Czibere - percussion
 

Krisztina Pocsai

Krisztina Pocsai completed her studies at the Classical Piano Department of the Béla Bartók Music Conservatory, then in 1998 she got her diploma in jazz singing at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. Since then she has been teaching jazz singing at music and art schools in different cities of Hungary. She has been a presenter of radio programs for six years now, and has also been participating in the organisation of the jazz talent contests of the Radio. Pocsai has been a vocalist on several Hungarian popular music recordings, and her excursions to the realm of pop and funk brought her the opportunity to participate in the making of three albums as composer and lyricist. Her album recorded with legendary figures of Hungarian jazz, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos and Rudolf Tomsits, together with two representatives of the youngest generation of jazz musicians György Orbán and András Lakatos 'Pecek', features evergreen compositions of a mellow tone. It is a sad fact that Rudolf Tomsits passed away before the record was released, thus the musicians have dedicated the album to his memory. Krisztina Pocsai's first CD as a composer and singer is about to appear in the near future.

  I Love You for Sentimental Reasons
(William Best - Deek Watson)
Real Audio
But Beautiful
CD Bár Buda, 2004

 
Krisztina Pocsai - vocals, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos - piano, Rudolf Tomsits - trumpet, György Orbán - double bass, András Lakatos 'Pecek' - drums
 

Pop Ivan

The band Pop Ivan was formed in Budapest in 1998 with the fusion of a progressive-experimental rock band and an art group dealing with fine arts, film, and music. Their music is characterised by a certain permeability between styles and atmospheres: one can discover in their works archaic Moldvan melodies, Latin rhythms, elements of the modern free jazz and of contemporary compositions (e.g. those of Rachmaninov, Erik Satie, Astor Piazzolla, and Ciprian Porumbescu). They play traditional songs without creating ethno music out of it, they play free jazz without wanting to sound jazz-like, and they apply the methods of repetitiveness and minimalism without the aim to make serial music. At their performances they frequently use visual effects: the audience can watch super 8 or 16 mm films parallel to listening to the music of Pop Ivan. The band and the individual members also compose film music. Their debut album was released in 2001 entitled 'Hospital Hungary'. Since 2000 they have been giving concerts in Europe, thus have played in Belgium, France, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Russia, and even performed in Georgia.

  Hymn for Sale (János Bujdosó, Szabolcs Vereb)
Real Audio
Kétlem hogy ez igaz sejtettem hogy így lesz
A38 kht., 2005

 
János Bujdosó - guitar, László Horváth - trumpet, effects , Szabolcs Vereb - tenor saxophone, Gábor Lukács - alto saxophone, Nándor Hevesi - bass, András Halmos - drums
 

Regős Trio

István Regős, a teacher of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, has been a prominent figure of the Hungarian jazz scene in the past 30 years. Initially he played the piano, and influenced by John Coltrane and other jazz greats, he took up the tenor saxophone as a second instrument. Thus first as a piano player, then as a saxophonist he performed at several Hungarian jazz festivals and clubs in formations ranging from the duo to the big band (he was the pianist of the legendary Kimmel Quartet, among others). He has made an arrangement of Coltrane's album 'A Love Supreme' for big band, which saw a number of highly successful performances. He has also made recordings for the Hungarian Radio. István Regős has been a partner of almost all notable Hungarian jazz artists, and also played with international greats. His playing can be heard on numerous CDs; his solo album featuring his original compositions was released in 2000. Recently he has returned to the piano and has prepared his new album material with his trio containing pieces written by himself. A modern approach characterises his piano playing style, and elements of avant-garde and folk music colour it as well.

  You Are the Lad (István Regős)
Real Audio
A Journey to Faremido
BMM, 2005 (planned)

 
István Regős - piano, Tibor Csuhaj Barna - double bass, Tamás Berdisz - drums
 

János Sramkó Group

János Sramkó, a frequently hired drummer, has been playing as a professional musician in bands with different line-ups (from trios to big bands) since the age of sixteen. He is at home in the styles of rock, hard bop, Latin, funk, soul, traditional and modern jazz. He started his musical studies at the Béla Bartók Conservatory, and later he graduated at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. He took part in master courses of Egil Johansen and Ed Thigpen, and he spent half a year in the USA developing his skills. The greatest influences on his style have been Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Steve Gadd, and Peter Erskine. He has played with many outstanding Hungarian jazz artists, like István Regős, Kati Bontovics, Aladár Pege, György Vukán, the band Brass Age, the László Süle Septet, Kálmán Oláh, etc. With different groups he won awards at festivals in Dunkerque, Karlovy Vary, and Kromeriz, among other places. Sramkó has been a regular participant of Hungarian and European jazz festivals, radio and TV shows. Hundreds of studio recordings and film soundtracks have been made with his contribution. Since 1997 he has been teaching at the Art School of the Hungarian Musicians' and Dancers' Union. He has been leading his own groups in different formations since 1990.

  New Morning (János Sramkó)
Real Audio
Howling Spirit
Self production, 2004

 
János Sramkó - drums, István Fekete - flugelhorn, Zoltán Zana - saxophone, Gábor Cseke - piano, Viktor Hárs - bass
 

György Szabados

A well-known figure of improvised contemporary music across Europe, György Szabados was born in Budapest. He completed his musical studies privately, and started composing and improvising at an early age. The evolvement of his career was seriously hindered by the extremely closed, ideologically restricted intellectual and artistic life in Hungary under the socialist regime. It was not before 1972 that he finally managed to break out of isolation: he won the Grand Prize at the San Sebastian Jazz Competition in the category of Free Jazz. Eventually he was able to give more concerts, especially at university jazz clubs, then from the 1980s he regularly performed abroad, and made recordings. He founded a contemporary music workshop, where he introduced a number of students to the world of improvised contemporary music. He has been publishing writings on musical subjects on a regular basis. He has performed together with Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, and has made recordings with both of them. He has also played with other famous musicians as Peter Kowald, Johannes and Connie Bauer, Fred van Hove, Evan Parker, Jirí Stivín, Hans-Ludwig Petrowsky, and Vladimir Tarasov to name just a few. In recognition of his work he was given the highest Hungarian music award, the Ferenc Liszt Prize in 1983. In 2001 he also received the Prize for the Hungarian Arts and the Gábor Szabó Award by the Hungarian Jazz Federation. Szabados has composed music for a ballet (Iván Markó), for dance theatre (Joseph Nadj), a piece commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, ritual music, several solo piano and chamber pieces. In succession to his contemporary music workshop he established the improvising orchestra named MAKUZ ('Orchestra of the Hungarian Royal Court'), which became the interpreter of his ensemble compositions.

  Dance Music (György Szabados)
Real Audio
Ruttings of the Sacred Phoenix Bird
Szabados és Tsa, 1997

 
György Szabados - piano
 

Szakcsi Lakatos Trio

Béla Szakcsi Lakatos started playing the piano at the age of nine first studying classical music, then jazz. He made his début in Andor Kovács' group, but by the mid-1960s he had formed his own group. His trio won first prize at a competition organised by the Hungarian Radio, and in 1970, as a member of Aladár Pege's quartet, he won second prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival, a feat that opened the gates of the international jazz scene to him. From Zurich to Warsaw, from Nuremberg to Belgrade, from North America to Asia, he has performed at themost prestigious festivals. He has collaborated on albums with jazz musicians from all over the world. His association with the band Special EFX led to his contract with the American recording company GRP. He has played with such notabilities of jazz as Carmen Jones, Frank Zappa, Art Farmer, Mark Ledford, Dave Weckl, Omar Hakim, Terri Lyne Carrington, Marvin 'Smitty' Smith, Jay Leonhart, Gerald Veasley, Victor Bailey, Randy Roos, Attila Zoller, Rodney Holmes, David Sanchez or Mike Richmond. In the history of Hungarian jazz, it is Szakcsi to whom we must give credit for the spreading of fusion jazz, first with his group Rákfogó, later with Saturnus. From the beginning of the 1970s, he taught jazz piano at the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music. At the same time with resuming his studies of classical composers from Bach to Bartók, Stravinsky, Schönberg and Webern, he also became engaged in collecting Gypsy folklore and adapting it to the stage, the result of which was three musicals. He also composed a rock opera and a ballet dealing with historical topics. Recently he has created a new musical style called Gypsy jazz which is featured on his latest CD, 'Na dara!'. He has been named Merited Artist, and awarded with the Liszt Prize, the Gábor Szabó Award, the Hungarian Jazz Award and the Kossuth Prize.

  Peace of the Stars
(traditional, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos)
Real Audio
Na dara!
BMC Records, 2004

 
Béla Szakcsi Lakatos - piano, György Orbán - double bass, András Lakatos 'Pecek' - drums, Mónika Rostás - vocals, Csaba Rostás - vocals
 

Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Jr.

Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Jr. was born in 1968. He started playing music at age 6, and after ten years of classical studies, inspired by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and other jazz greats, he turned towards jazz. He received his diploma from the Jazz Department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Music. He started playing in jazz clubs of Europe relatively early gaining experience in Warsaw, Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Basel. He won an award at the Kalis International Jazz Piano Competition in 1993. A year later he joined the Gyula Babos Quartet and remained its member until it disbanded. In 1996 he established his own quartet, which he has been leading ever since. They have appeared at several clubs and festivals in Hungary. With his Bop-Bee Trio (including György Orbán and András Lakatos 'Pecek' ) they also received invitations to play in European festivals. Szakcsi, Jr. has played with famous jazz artists, such as Tony Lakatos and Rick Margitza and besides well-known Hungarian jazz musicians like Viktor Hárs and Márta Téli he has also recorded with John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette.

  Bouncin' with Bud (Bud Powell)
Real Audio
Happen
9s Műhely, 1999

 
Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Jr. - piano, Csaba Tűzkő - saxophone, Béla Szalóky - trombone, Rudolf Torma - double bass, Elemér Balázs - drums

 

Szalóky Classic Jazz Band

The Szalóky Classic Jazz Band plays the jazz music of the 1930s-1940s, a period when jazz was still widely popular among people keen on artistically refined and at the same time approachable music. The Szalóky Classic Jazz Band is one of the very few Hungarian formations that has devoted itself to interpreting the music of swing. The members of the band are all highly qualified musicians, most of them graduates of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. They have participated in productions of the Hot Jazz Band, the Cotton Club Singers, the Budapest Ragtime Band, the Showder Band, the band of Péter Gerendás, and Escape. Their singer, Myrtill Micheller has even had a part in a Hollywood movie.
The bandleader Béla Szalóky trombone player is the vice president of the Hungarian Trombone and Tuba Association, who has played all over the world with different groups. He won the eMeRTon Prize as the Jazz Musician of the Year 2002. Szalóky has collaborated with many leading jazz musicians (Imre Kőszegi, György Vukán, Gyula Babos, Tamás Berki, Kati Bontovics, etc.), has accompanied pop performers, and even played with Frank Sinatra Jr. Outside of Hungary he has performed with such well-known artists as George Benson, Joe Muranyi, Carl Fontana, Jiggs Whigham, Tommy Vig, and Vince Mendoza.

  I've Got Rhythm (George Gershwin)
Real Audio
Demo recording, 2004

 
Béla Szalóky - trombone, László Szénási - trumpet, Péter Kuzbelt - saxophone, Árpád Dennert - clarinet, Iván Nagy - piano, Mátyás Szeverényi - guitar, Péter Glaser - double bass, Tamás Berdisz - drums
 

Test Jazz Group

The band was formed in 1983 originally playing jazz-rock compositions of great American artists. They have been giving concerts since that year. The Test Jazz Band (as it was called initially) welcomed several well-known musicians of Hungary during the years, among them was Elemér Balázs, Péter Dandó, Attila Darvas, Gábor Czvikovszky, Mihály Borbély, Tamás Tóth, Mbaye Ndiaye, Sándor Tóth, and Murugan Mohan. The only constant member of the band has been keyboard player György Regály, who received his diploma at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 1987. He has been the partner of outstanding Hungarian players, László Dés, László Gőz, Attila László, Tony Lakatos, Gyula Babos, Géza Lakatos 'Pecek', Imre Kőszegi, Péter Dandó, and Elemér Balázs, to name just a few. He was a member of the bands No-Spa and Jazz Vitamin, and has played in a number of European countries with different formations. Currently he teaches piano at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music besides leading Test Jazz Group. At the moment, the other members of the band are Károly Dráb bass player and Gábor Szende drummer with occasional guest appearances by guitarist Gyula Babos. Together with changes in the line-up, the style of the band has also moved from a more mellow chamber jazz to a kind of electric jazz fusion mixed with elements of drum‘n'bass, trip-hop, hip-hop, ambient, 2steps, big beat, funky and R'n'B. They have played at all major domestic festivals.

  Well, You Needn't (Thelonious Monk)
Real Audio
Waterfall of the Joy
Fonó Records, 2001

 
György Regály - keyboards, Andor Kovács - guitar, Tamás Tóth - bass, Gábor Szende - drums, Dj. Bootsie - scratch
 

Tin Tin Quintet

The ensemble, then a quartet, had their introductory performance at the 2nd WOMUFE festival in the spring of 1994. The original members were Gábor Juhász on guitar, András Monori on kaval, Szabolcs Szőke on gadulka, and Gergő Borlai on drums. The latter was replaced by Péter Szalai on tabla, who has been a constant member of Tin Tin since then. Later the group was extended to a quintet with the addition of Iván Nyusztai on South-Indian percussions and Gábor Kardos took the place of Gábor Juhász on guitar. Szőke is not only a musician but is a creative multitalented artist. Monori and Kardos studied jazz besides immersing themselves in folk music traditions, while both Szalai and Nyusztay have been students of great Indian master percussionists. The Tin Tin Quintet plays improvised chamber music inspired heavily by oriental musical cultures. The compositions are often penned by the members cooperatively. The melodies are built on scales from the East ('ragas'), Bulgarian-Turkish scale variations ('makams') or scales with one and a half steps frequently used by Bartók. Their rhythmic world is characterised by asymmetric pulsation, a feature of Bulgarian, Asian or African music. Fixed, composed elements and a free, sometimes jazz-like mode of performance form a unity in their music. The Tin Tin Quintet has been a frequent guest of Hungarian and international jazz, ethno, and world music festivals. They have toured in Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland.

  Five-in-Hand (András Monori)
Real Audio
Five-in-Hand
Megamultimedia, 2004

 
Dániel Kardos - guitar, András Monori - soprano saxophone, Iván Nyusztai - percussion, Péter Szalai - tabla, percussion, Szabolcs Szőke - gadulka
 

Bea Tisza

Bea Tisza is one of the leading female jazz vocalists in Hungary. She was born in Miskolc. She studied classical piano for six years as a child, then she realised her devotion to singing, so after a short period of not knowing for sure what career to choose, she decided to apply to the Jazz Faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy, Budapest. To her parents' great satisfaction she also finished a course in Financing at the Miskolc University. She has performed with a lot of established Hungarian jazz stars, such as Gyula Babos, Rudolf Tomsits, and László Dés, and has recorded with Kornél Horváth, Klári Katona, Sándor Zsemlye, Charlie, Andrea Malek, Zsuzsa Cserháti and Gergő Borlai. She has contributed to several pop/jazz recordings and concerts as a soloist, backing vocalist, and composer. In 1994 she took part in Leslie Mandoki's 'People' project. In 1995 she had a minor part in the Hugarian film hit 'Sztracsatella'. She won the Stella Artois Music Award in 1998 with the Kálmán Oláh Sextet. The same year she produced her first album of standards ('Autumn Leaves'), and 3 years later her second album came out titled 'Island'. She took part in the shot of a Hungarian movie titled 'The Wayfarer' ('A vándor'). She is a regular performer at jazz clubs in Budapest, and also a singing teacher. Her CD of her own compositions, entitled 'Bea', was released in 2003 by the English label 33 Records.

  Eternal Bride (Bea Tisza)
Real Audio
Bea
33 Records, 2003

 
Bea Tisza - vocals, János Nagy - piano
 

Viktor Tóth Quartet

Viktor Tóth was born in 1977. He started playing music at age 14, and had already had experience in playing in big bands, jazz combos and pop bands, when in 1998 he was accepted to the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. During his studies his teachers were Gyula Csepregi, Miklós Siliga, István Elek, and Mihály Borbély. While still a university student, he formed his first band with András Mohay and Zoltán Oláh, and also toured with famous pop and acid jazz formations. He was a member of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra for two years. Since 2001 he has been performing with the Imre Kőszegi Quartet. It was also in 2001, when he founded the Road Six Sax saxophone quartet with his fellow horn men, and they have had guest appearances at several European festivals. Viktor Tóth has had the opportunity to play with leading Hungarian and foreign artists, including Attila László, Béla Lattmann, Gyula Babos, Kálmán Oláh, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Arnie Somogyi, and Winston Clifford. Since 2003 he has been a guest performer with the Equinox Quartet. In the year of his graduation, in 2003, he formed yet another band called Project 11, with whom he plays a mixture of jazz, electronic music, traditional Balkan and oriental music.

  Passion Dance (McCoy Tyner)
Real Audio
Live Recording at the Hungarian Radio, 2003

 
Viktor Tóth - alto saxophone, Gábor Cseke - piano, Mátyás Szandai - double bass, András Mohay - drums
 

Csaba Tűzkő Septet

Csaba Tűzkő (1964) started playing music at age ten in the city of Szeged. After graduating from the Jazz Department of the Béla Bartók Conservatory in 1986 he moved to Paris then to Sydney where he lived until 1994. During the years he spent abroad, he played with René Urtereger, Alby Cullaz, and George Brown, and was a member of the Sydney North Side Big Band. After his return to his home country, he played in prominent Hungarian jazz formations including the Szakcsi Generation Band, Malek Andrea's Five Seasons, the Hot Jazz Band, and the Elemér Balázs Quintet. Presently he plays Moldvan folk music with the band Fanfara Complexa, and since 2002 has been leading and composing for his own groups. The music of the Csaba Tűzkő Septet makes use of the forms and harmonic movements of classical music, the most characteristic feature of jazz, namely improvisation, and the power of Eastern European folk music to create a special atmosphere. The members of the band are all highly qualified musicians, graduates or students of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and although Kedl, Szűcs and Lukács have received classical music education, they are masters of the jazz idiom as well. The Septet plays solely Tűzkő's compositions and folk music arrangements, which can be heard on two CDs: 'Clangorous Stone' (2002) and 'Spring Greeting' (2003).

  Spring Greeting (Csaba Tűzkő)
Real Audio
Spring Greeting
KCG, 2003

 
Csaba Tűzkő - tenor saxophone, László Kedl - soprano saxophone, Zoltán Szűcs - alto saxophone, Péter Bede - tenor saxophone, Miklós Lukács - cimbalom, Mátyás Szandai - double bass, András Mohay - drums
 

Twin Lines Project

Gyula Csepregi was born in 1958. He studied at the Béla Bartók Conservatory between 1980-83, but started playing jazz with Gyula Kovács, Imre Kőszegi, Gyula Babos, and Aladár Pege as early as 1981. From 1985 he was teaching saxophone and the practice of improvisation at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music for more than a decade. In 1986 he founded the Hungarian Jazz Quartet with Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, Pál Vasvári, and Vilmos Jávori, and in 1989 he formed the band In Line in collaboration with Vasvári. He has also been a soloist of the Studio 11 ensemble of the Hungarian Radio since 1988. He won the eMeRTon Prize five times and the Prize for Artistic Excellence twice, but received acknowledgements abroad as well, including prizes at jazz festivals in Copenhagen and The Hague, the Award of Excellence from the Finnish Radio, and that of Outstanding Soloist of the EBU Festival. He has made several recordings with the Hungarian Jazz Quartet and In Line, and many of them featured international jazz artists. Csepregi and Vasvári's international band Twin Lines Project features world famous jazz musicians Russell Ferrante, Mike Stern, Dave Samuels, and Alex Acuna.

  Tata (Gyula Csepregi)
Real Audio
One from the Studio, One from the Stage

Periferic Records, 1999
 
 
Gyula Csepregi - tenor saxophone, Russell Ferrante - keyboards, Dave Samuels - vibraphone, Pál Vasvári - bass, Alex Acuna - drums
 

Dániel Váczi Trio

Dániel Váczi was born in 1972. He played the violin for ten years, then at the age of 17 he started studying the alto saxophone. Subsequently he also took up the rarely used sopranino saxophone. In 1998 he obtained a diploma at the Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences as a biologist. His saxophone teacher was Mihály Borbély, and he studied music theory and composing with Iván Madarász. He attended the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music for a year. In the autumn of 2001 he founded his trio playing original compositions with bassist Balázs Horváth and drummer Zsolt Sárvári Kovács, who has since been replaced by András Mohay. Their music is characterised by large-scale improvisations wedged between strictly composed themes; stylistically a certain amalgam of modern jazz and contemporary music. Their debut album is expected to appear in 2005 with the sponsorship of the Artisjus Foundation. Besides his trio, Váczi also plays in the bands Kada, Fragment and the Plastic Septet. He has also recorded with Gábor Gadó, Yonderboi, Timeless Life, János Vázsonyi, Nigun, and Chalaban. His composition 'Bell' can also be heard on Gábor Winand's award-winning album 'Different Garden'.

  Bell (Dániel Váczi)
Real Audio
Demo Recording - 2004

 
Dániel Váczi - saxophone, Balázs Horváth - bass, Zsolt Sárvári Kovács - drums
 

Pál Vasvári String Trio

Pál Vasvári was born in 1957. Even before completing his studies at the Béla Bartók Conservatory as a pupil of Balázs Berkes, he played in jazz bands professionally. He was a member of the groups Rákfogó (with Gábor Füsti Balogh and Tony Lakatos, among others) and Bacillus (with László Gárdonyi, and also Tony Lakatos), and with the latter he recorded albums and toured Western Europe with great success. In the mid-1980s he formed a group with Krzesimir Debski, composed and prepared arrangemets for it, then in 1986 together with Béla Szakcsi Lakatos he established the Hungarian Jazz Quartet. From 1989 he co-led the band In Line with Gyula Csepregi. They toured Hungary and Europe, made recordings, and invited internationally recognised jazz musicians, such as Dave Samuels, and Alex Acuna. Vasvári has also played with foreign artists in his own music projects, thus he appeared on concert stages and made albums with Bernard Maseli, Mike Stern, Russell Ferrante, and Paco Sery. Pál Vasvári formed his acoustic trio in 2001 the line-up of which has remained unchanged to the present day. He composed the material of the album 'Azur' in France inspired by his visit to the Cote d'Azur and a chapel in Vance. Besides the well-known Hungarian musicians, Miklós Birta and Frankie Látó, plus guest artist Sándor Zsemlye, the album also features long-time colleagues of Vasvári, Dave Samuels and Tony Lakatos.

  La Chapelle du Vance (Pál Vasvári)
Real Audio
Azur
Partizan Music, 2001

 
Pál Vasvári - contrabass guitar, vocals, Miklós Birta - acoustic guitar, Frankie Látó - violin
 

Gábor Winand

Gábor Winand was born in Budapest, in 1964. After completing his studies in jazz singing at the Béla Bartók Conservatory under Attila Garay, he immediately received an invitation to join the group of guitarist Gyula Babos, one of the leading personalities on the Hungarian jazz scene. Over the years he has worked with several notable Hungarian jazz formations and personalities (György Vukán, László Dés and the Trio Stendhal, the ESP Group, etc.) not only as a singer, but also as a saxophone and flute player. His musical cooperation with renowned guitarist-composer Gábor Gadó dates back to 1990 - that was the year when he joined Gadó's band Joy. Winand's previous two internationally acclaimed CDs ('Corners of my mind', 2001 and 'Agent Spirituel', 2003) released by BMC Records also derive from this close collaboration: both of them have been composed by Gadó. 'Different Garden' is an exotic musical excursion to the world of standards. All three BMC albums of Winand have been given the highest rating ('Choc') by the French magazine titled Jazzman, and in 2003 the magazine also gave 'Corners of My Mind' the honour 'Choc de l'année': Record of the Year. Currently Winand is a member of the band Bosambo, his wife, the Cuban singer Elsa Valle's band, and the Elemér Balázs Group, with whom he appeared at the London and the Skopje jazz festivals, and played at clubs of several European cities, including Berlin, The Hague, and Vienna. He also leads his own quartet the members of which are Péter Rozsnyói (piano), József Barcza Horváth (bass), and András Dés (percussion).

  Up Jumped Spring
(Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln)
Real Audio
Different Garden
BMC Records, 2004

 
Gábor Winand - vocals, Kristóf Bacsó - saxophone, Gábor Gadó - guitar
 

David Yengibarjan featuring Frank London

David Yengibarjan was born in 1976 in Yerevan (Armenia). He began his accordion studies in the Yerevan Music School. He moved to Hungary in 1995 where he continued his music education. He has performed in stage plays and films, and has also been the composer of several soundtracks such as György Farkas' 'Vérvonal' ('Blood Line'), András Fésüs' 'Street, Heart, Beat', András Szőke's 'Három' ('Three'), and Orsolya Báthory's 'Antique'. He has played in different jazz and folk line-ups. He has appeared before audiences in Paris, London, Amsterdam, the Terschelling Island, Vienna, Prague, Cologne, and at the Edinburgh International Festival. He has also received an invitation to perform at the Hungarian-Russian Cultural Days in Moscow. In Budapest he has had performances at all the major music clubs, theatres and festivals. In 1999 he founded Trio Yengibarjan with the aspiration to create a fusion of the Argentinean tango, the 'New Tango' of Astor Piazzolla, and various types of folk music. After several changes in the line-up the trio recorded his first CD with József Barcza Horváth on double-bass and Gábor Juhász on guitars. Trio Yengibarjan introduced the material of 'Tango Passion' playing before Terje Rypdal and Palle Mikkelborg at the BMC Jazz Evenings in 2001 in Budapest. From 2002 the new line-up of the trio includes János Egri on the bass and József Botos on the guitar. His second CD features the great American trumpet player, Frank London, the acknowledged Paris-based Hungarian guitarist, Gábor Gadó, and the young and talented percussionist, András Dés. In 2005 Yengibarjan received a commission to compose music for a film by British director Kevin Curtis.

  Pandoukht (David Yengibarjan)
Real Audio
Pandoukht
BMC Records, 2003

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David Yengibarjan - accordion, Frank London - trumpet, József Horváth Barcza - double bass, András Dés - percussion