Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Szilard Mezei and his Szabad Quartet, "Februari Fadontes"

Szilard Mezei, Hungarian violist-composer-bandleader has been as prolific as he has been interestingly progressive. A look on his website reveals quite a few albums released under his leadership. I've only heard and reviewed a few for Cadence, but what I heard on those convinced me he was someone to watch.

The new one, a limited-edition LP release, features his Szabad Quartet and is titled Februari Fadontes (No Business NBLP 28). The several previous albums I have reviewed tended to have a dark palette, with the lower register holding a very active place in the mix. In contrast Szilard's Szabad Quartet has a bit more of the full range, thanks in part to the instrumentation of viola plus the tenor sax and clarinet of Peter Bede, the bass of Erno Hock, and the somewhat bright drumming of Hunor G. Szabado.

This is a free-form date with plenty of room for four-way interplay between the band members. Mezei has his own way with the viola, and Bede plays a tenor and clarinet in ways that aren't typical--free-form but mostly pure-toned. Hock and Szabado (bass and drums) have an important presence and give depth to the floating suspensions and brooding meditations of Mezei's music.

This is music that does not wear influences on its sleeve, so to say. It's quite out of the norm and holds a musical interest that only increases with increasing familiarity. Mezei is fast-proving himself to be one of Europe's unique avant jazz voices. This is a good one to check out to find out why. I'll leave it to you. With only 300 copies pressed in this limited vinyl offering, you may want to grab it quickly.

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