Thursday 16 September 2004 - 7.30 pm
The Spitz, 109 Commercial St. Old Spitalfields Market. London E1 - [www]
A NIGHT OF KLEZMER JAZZ WITH NIGUN AND GUEST STAR LEILA MENDEZ
András Párniczky, guitar - Kristóf Bacsó, alto and soprano saxes - Péter Nagy, bass - Csaba Gavallér, drums & darbuka - Leila Mendez, vocals
"An Impressive klezmer-inflected jazz set from a Hungarian band with some serious chops. Great rhythm section work and inventive approach to oft-recorded pieces like Shnirele Perele", wrote George Robinson in The Jewish Week of an earlier concert by Nigun. The name itself means "melody without words", which in Nigun's case is a mixture of traditional Jewish music (klezmer, sephardic, folk,-sacred) and jazz with free-improvisation elements – a completely new and unique sound.
András Párniczky graduated from the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy and in 2001 he received a scholarship to the Jazz Department of The Royal Conservatory in Holland. He wrote several arrangements for Hungarian big bands and scored music for the Hungarian films Portugal and Chacho Rom. Párniczky’s initial influence was John Coltrane, but later he immersed himself in the music of John Zorn's Masada, Satlah and the traditional Jewish Hasid tunes. In 2001 he finally committed himself to this particular brand of Jewish jazz and founded Nigun.
The incredibly versatile Kristóf Bacsó is one of the rising stars on the Hungarian jazz-scene. Another graduate of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, he also studied at the Conservatoire de Paris and, finally, at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1999 he won the contest for the most promising young saxophonists, organised by Bartók Rádió, Hungary's answer to Radio Three. For several years he played abroad, in the States, Europe and Japan. He has had gigs with Eddie Henderson, John Pattitucci, Jeff Denson and the Eichinger Band. He has now returned to Hungary, where he is in great demand.
Since the group's formation bassist Péter Nagy and drummer Csaba Gavallér have provided the rock-solid foundation that makes the far from simple music of Nigun eminently palatable.
Singer Leila Mendez was born in France of a Jewish mother and an Arab father. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne but later switched to drama. During her studies she supported herself by singing a unique blend of French-Arabic-Jewish rock'n'roll on the streets of Paris and in the South of France. At the age of 24 her music interest drove her to Budapest where she was initiated into the art of jazz singing. While in Hungary she acquired a fascinating repertoire of Ladino and Yiddish songs, Hebrew prayers, Armenian folk music, modern tango and Latin jazz. When she was introduced to the members of Nigun, there was an immediate spark.
Spitz Box office: 020 7392 9032. Online booking: [www]
Free entry for students, nurses and OAPs
Friday 24 September 2004 - 7.30 pm
Bloomsbury Theatre 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1
CREATIVE ART TRIO AND GUEST STAR GERARD PRESENCER
György Vukán, piano - Balázs Berkes, bass - Elemér Balázs, drums - Gerard Presencer, trumpet
György Vukán met British trumpet star, Gerard Presencer at a highly charged three-day mini-festival featuring some of the best jazz talent from Britain and Hungary at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club. It has been their mutual wish ever since to do a gig together.
Gerard Presencer is universally recognised as one of the best trumpet and flugelhorn players in his field. His most celebrated recorded performance, which has lead to him being described as "possibly the most famous trumpeter in the world" is his solo work on Hand on the Torch (1993) the album by US3 on Blue Note. Born in London, became a member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at the age of 11 and made his recording debut just four years later, with the alto-sax star, Peter King. He has since performed with many more famous jazz musicians, including John Dankworth, Roy Hargrove, Ronnie Scott, Cleo Laine, Red Rodney, Johnny Griffin, Phil Woods and has recorded with Herbie Hancock,
Chick Corea, Geoff Keezer and vibraphonist Joe Locke as well as the late Bob Berg.
Gerard Presencer is a four-time winner of the Hamlet British Jazz Awards, and at only 32, he is Professor of Trumpet in the Jazz and Popular Music Department at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin and is also Director of the Jazz Department at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Leader of the Creative Art Trio, pianist György Vukán is a spellbinding virtuoso who is one of the most prolific musicians in Hungary. He graduated from the Ferenc Liszt Academy as a classical pianist, and also holds a degree in dentistry, a profession he still practices. Taking time off from his surgery, he soon became a concert pianist – first performing classical music, but then jazz started to dominate his output. He has also scored some 140 film soundtracks, composed music for three ballets, written operas, symphonic works, chamber music, church music and music for TV and radio.
As a jazz pianist he has toured Europe, the USA and Japan and has played with the likes of Philly Joe Jones, Clifford Jordan, Linda Hopkins, Anette Lowman, Frank Foster, Clark Terry and Kenny Wheeler. In 1992 he led and conducted the European Broadcasting Union Big Band Workshop with musicians from 17 European countries playing mainly his own compositions.
Balázs Berkes has played with Vukán for over four decades. In a country teeming with talented double bass players, he is definitely one of the giants of the instrument. He is also professor at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music.
Arguably one of the best drummers in Hungary, Elemér Balázs also leads his own group, which last year made a highly successful appearance in London's Union Chapel Hall.
Box Office: 020 7388 8822
Tickets: Ł10, Ł8, Ł5
Free entry for students, nurses and OAPs
Friday 8 October 2004 - 7.30 pm
Union Chapel Studio, Compton Avenue, London N1
THE BABOS ROMANI PROJECT
Gyula Babos, guitar - Gergő Borlai, drums - Emil Jelinek, vocals, percussion - Katinka Kunovits, vocals - Lajos Nagy, keyboards - Viktor Hárs, bass guitar - István Fekete, trumpet
A passionate, fiery and totally unique fusion of the Romani Gypsy musical heritage with jazz-rock, funk and soul. The addition of Roma vocals gives their performance a very special flavour.
Guitar maestro Gyula Babos has been one of the great stars of the Hungarian jazz scene ever since the seventies, when he came to prominence with the great wave of phenomenally talented Gypsy musicians. At the age of 17 he was accepted by the Berklee College of Music in the United States, but the then Communist government of Hungary refused him permission to attend. Despite this he rose to the top in a country that had produced guitarists like Gábor Szabó and Attila Zoller. He has taught the guitar at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music since 1980.
After the collapse of the Communist regime, with political liberty and free travel also came the inner freedom to rediscover his own Roma Gypsy musical heritage. Babos put together a team of brilliant young musicians and in 1997 the Babos Romani Project was born. Since then he has recorded with Victor Bailey and Teri Lyne Carrington, played with James Moody and Tony Scott and has just finished an album with Trilok Gurtu.
Babos' virtuoso guitar playing is further enhanced by the authentic Gypsy vocals of Katinka Kunovics and by the Romani-tinged scat-singing of Emil Jelinek who also happens to be a terrific percussionist.
Lajos Nagy, on keyboards, creates some spellbinding harmonies that weave around this magical mix.
Viktor Hárs bass-guitarist (and also a brilliant double bass player) is considered one of the best in Hungary, a country where virtuoso Gypsy bassists abound.
Drummer Gergő Borlai has been aptly described as the "Hungarian UFO" - the critics believed no human being could possibly create such magic on those skins.
Online bookings: [www]
Reservations: 020 7240 6162. Tickets can also be purchased on the door.
Free entry for students, nurses and OAPs