Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Szakcsi Lakatos Béla


Place of Birth
Date of Birth

8 July 1943 Budapest - 2 October 2022

When Béla Szakcsi started playing the piano at the age of nine, he dreamed of becoming a famous composer and interpreter of classical music. But after having graduated from the Béla Bartók Conservatory, he became acquainted with jazz, and this experience diverted him from further classical musical studies.

Szakcsi made his début in Andor Kovács' group, but by the middle of the sixties he had formed his own group, with which he appeared on the album entitled Anthology '67. His trio, LDL, shared first prize with another group at the competition organized 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 the highest-ranking festivals. He has collaborated on albums with jazz musicians from all over the world. Prominent among these are the albums recorded with percussionist George Jinda. As the soloist of Special EFX formed by George Jinda and Chieli Minucci, Szakcsi has appeared as composer/performer on eleven albums. It was thanks to these recordings that he was offered a contract with the American recording company GRP in the middle of the eighties (Sachi, 1988; Mystic Dreams, 1989; Eve of Chance, 1992; Straight Ahead, 1994). Chick Corea has often expressed appreciation of Szakcsi's excellence as composer and performer - one who has played with such notabilities of the genre 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 fusional jazz, first with his group Rákfogó, later with Saturnus. From the beginning of the seventies, he taught jazz piano for twelve years at the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music, where, following the example of Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, he laid special emphasis on the fusion of classical music and jazz. It was with this object in mind that he resumed his studies of classical composers from Bach to Bartók, Stravinsky, Schönberg and Webern.
In the meanwhile he was also engaged in collecting Gypsy folklore and adapting it to the stage. His first Gypsy musical, Red Caravan opened in 1975, and was followed by Once upon a time a Gypsy girl, then Cartwheel. In 1989 he wrote The Beast, a rock opera based on the life of Erzsébet Báthory, commissioned by the Rock Theatre, and his hundred-minute ballet entitled Cristoforo opened at the Hungarian State Opera on the quincentenary of the discovery of America.

All those who have kept track of the life-work of Liszt-prize winner Béla Szakcsi will have noticed that - following the lead of his example, Leonard Bernstein - he feels at home in every musical genre. He has recorded Hungarian folk song adaptations with opera singer Ádám Horváth and folk singer Gyöngyi Écsi (My flower, my flower, 1988), pieces for four hands with pianist György Vukán (Conversation for two pianos and orchestra, 1998, Das Duell I-II-III - Vukán-Szakcsi in Gottingen, 1998, Conversation Plus, 1999, Fourhand, 2000), and a succession of jazz recordings with eminent artists (Journey in Time, with Imre Kőszegi and Jackie Orszáczky, 1998, On the way back home, with Bob Mintzer and Peter Bernstein, 2001). For the past ten years he has immersed himself in the compositions of György Kurtág, at present he is making a close study of the works of György Ligeti, Péter Eötvös and Pierre Boulez.

To create a common language out of hitherto separate musical genres - this is obviously Szakcsi's true vocation, and it is in this spirit that the improvisations with Lajos Kathy Horváth, going on for decades, now came to be recorded for the first time (In one breath, 2002 - BMC CD 061).

1987 Ferenc Liszt Award
1994 Gábor Szabó Award
1998 Inter Lyra Award
2002 For Budapest Award
2002 Merited Artist
2004 Hungarian Jazz Award
2005 Kossuth Prize
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
Aladár Pege: Aladár Pege's 60th Birthday Concert Magánkiadás PEGE 5
1967 Modern jazz VI. - Anthology 67 Hungaroton LPX 17372 LP
1970 Pege Trió: Montreux Inventions Hungaroton LP
1978 Tomsits Jazz Group: Álom és valóság
(Tomsits Jazz Group: Dream and reality)
Pepita SLPX 17549 LP
1979 Figyelem Felvétel - Éjszaka a stúdióban
(Figyelem Felvétel - Session at Night)
Pepita SLPX 17566
1980 Aladár Pege: Pege Pepita SLPX 17596
1980 Saturnus Pepita SLPX 17602
1982 Rudolf Tomsits Studioband Amiga 8 55 936
1982 Debreceni Dzsessznapok 1981 Krém SLPX 17706 LP
1982 Saturnus: Csigaházak Krém SLPX 17693
1984 Bratislava Jazz Days 1982 Opus 9115 1404-05
1987 Bratislava Jazz Days 1984 Opus 9115 1652-53 2 LPs
1988 Szakcsi - Sa-chi GRP Records GRD-9556 Own
1989 Mystic Dreams GRP Records GRD-9577 Own
1990 Sham Krém SLPX37376
1990 Hosszú, forró nyár - Gábor S. Pál dalai
(Long, Hot Summer - Songs of Pál S. Gábor)
Hungaroton SLPX 37353 LP
1992 Eve of Chance GRP Records GRD-9647 Own
1994 Babos: Blue Victory Columbia Columbia 477891
1994 Straight Ahead GRP Records GRD-9737 Own
1994 Running Time - The best of László Dés Hungaroton HCD 37332
1997 Szakcsi-Kőszegi Duo: Időutazás
(Szakcsi-Kőszegi Duo: Journey in Time)
Magánkiadás FTM-9708 Own
1998 Vukán - Szakcsi: Conversation Creative Art Ensemble CAE CD 027 Own
1998 Virágom, virágom
(My Beloved, My Beloved)
Music Express Classics MEC487
1998 Virágom, virágom Hungaroton HCD 37903 Own
1999 Balázs/Szakcsi/Vukán: Conversa+ion Plus Creative Art Ensemble
1999 Vukán, Szakcsi: Fourehand - Live Creative Art Ensemble CAE 031
1999 Márta István művei
Hungaroton HCD 31580
2000 Szakcsi Lakatos Béla: Útban hazafelé
(Szakcsi Lakatos Béla: On The Way Back Home)
Hungaroton HCD 71051 Own
2001 Szakcsi Béla - Kathy Horváth Lajos: In One Breath BMC Records BMC CD 061 Own
2003 Hungarian Jazz History 12. - Modern Jazz Combos Hungaroton HCD 71157
2004 Szakcsi Lakatos Béla-Pocsai Krisztina: But Beautiful CD BÁR BUDA DM002
2004 Szakcsi Lakatos Trio: Na dara! BMC Records BMC CD 103 Own
2004 Eötvös Péter: Snatches
(Péter Eötvös: Snatches)
BMC Records BMC CD 097
2004 Most és akkor
(Now and then)
Pannon Jazz PJ 1055
2005 Hungarian Jazz Store BMC HMIC BMC PCD 016 Not for sale - only for promotion / 4 CDs
2005 Szakcsi Lakatos Béla - Lukács Miklós: Check it out, Igor BMC Records BMC CD 108 Own
2005 La Campagnie des musiques á ouir + Gadó Gábor, Szakcsi Lakatos Béla, Bujtor Balázs: La Manivelle Magyare BMC Records BMC CD 113
2005 Örömkoncert 2005
(Concert of Joy 2005)
Magánkiadás DVD - Not for sale
2005 Vukán György, Szakcsi Lakatos Béla: Eclipse Hagyma Produkció HP0501
2006 Lakatos, Tony: Gypsy Colours Skip Records SKP 9062-2
2006 Vukán - Szakcsi: The Masters Of Piano Hagyma Produkció HP0601 CD + DVD
2006 Szakcsi Generation with Jack DeJohnette and John Patitucci: 8 Trios for 4 Pianists BMC Records BMC CD 126
2007 Magyar Jazz Quartet: Last Time Together Gramofon KJCD 2007-01
2008 Dés László: A fal mögött Hungaroton HCD 17771
2009 Figyelem Felvétel - Éjszaka a Stúdióban
(Figyelem Felvétel - Session at night)
Alexandra Records PDKCD0049
2009 Columbus Jazz Nights Vol.1 - Live At The Columbus Jazz Ship Hunnia Records HRCD 922
2010 Live at the Budapest Jazz Club BMC Records BMC CD 182 Own
2013 Live at MüPa BMC Records BMC CD 198 Own
2014 Climate Change BMC Records BMC CD 212 Own
2016 Little bird in the Lee - BMC records 2014-2016 BMC Records BMC PCD 033
2017 Density of Standards BMC Records BMC CD 242
2020 Fekete-Kovács Kornél, Modern Art Orchestra: Foundations – Yamas and Niyamas
(Kornél Fekete-Kovács, Modern Art Orchestra Foundations – Yamas and Niyamas )
BMC Records BMC CD 297