Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mihály Dresch & Archie Shepp - Hungarian Bebop

Archie Shepp: soprano, tenor sax., piano.
Mihaly Dresch: soprano, tenor sax., flute.
Ferenc Kovacs: violin.
Matyas Szandai: double bass.
Istvan Baló: drums (Duban drums -model Baló).
Kalman Balogh: cimbalom (#5)


01. Lily Of The Valley [07:59]
02. Búzai Song (based on traditional folk tune) [11:43]
03. I Was Beaten Because [10:02]
04. Steam [06:32]
05. Sorrow, Sorrow [08:48]
06. Hungarian Bebop [09:59]

Recorded at the Roxound Studio, Budapest 2002


Saxophonist and composer Mihaly Dresch is one of the most influential nurturers of a fertile fusion between Hungarian folk music and jazz, and this attractive set features him in the company of that grizzled veteran of the 1960s American free-jazz avant-garde, Archie Shepp. There are strong contrasts between Dresch's clearer, more precise, yet Coltrane-pungent tenor lines and Shepp's raw and bleary smears and lurches, and they dance some ruggedly elegant improvised counterpoint together on soprano saxes too, as well as providing haunting textural blends with violinist Ferenc Kovacs' deliciously fluttering tone and sudden surges of intensity. Shepp's famous Steam (taken surprisingly slowly, and suggesting a dance in monochrome between a solitary couple in a vast, empty ballroom) is the only non-Dresch track, and most of the melodies mingle boppish lines with gracefully weaving Hungarian folk themes. Shepp sounds unusually engaged in the whole enterprise, and though there's a melancholy flavour to it, it's a very distinctive mix. John Fordham The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2002/nov/08/jazz.artsfeatures2

This summit meeting between the Hungarian saxophonist and composer Milhaly Dresch and avant-jazz elder statesman Archie Shepp is an interesting and frequently beautiful experiment that demonstrates both how gracefully Shepp is aging and how fully developed the jazz scene is in that former Soviet satellite country. The mostly pianoless arrangements (which feature violin and, in one case, a cimbalom) recall the harmolodic excursions of Shepp's old boss, Ornette Coleman, but without Coleman's willful harmonic chaos. On the contrary, these are well-crafted compositions, all but one written by Dresch, and they give the players plenty of structural support on which to base their sometimes wide-ranging improvisations. Highlights include "Buzai Song" (which is based on a Hungarian folk tune and features some stunning duo improvisation between the two saxophonists) and the playful "Hungarian Bebop," which is only vaguely bop-flavored but shares bebop's flavor of complex but high-spirited fun. Recommended.
Review by Rick Anderson http://www.allmusic.com/album/hungarian-bebop-r600058

Editor's Info:
Dresch's music touches on both areas using Afro and Euro-American idioms, also incorporating their own folk traditions. Within the area of instrumental music it's rather like what the Beatles were able to do using Negro-blues to create a new form. What we did was combine Hungarian folk and European academic music with afro-jazz elements in a way that really swings. The overall feeling of the recording is nice and fresh.



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