Artist: Grencsó Open Collective
Date of Release: 29/01/2016
Catalogue no: SLAMCD 565
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Compositions of György Szabados played by The Grencsó Open Collective.
István Grencsó reeds, Máté Pozsár piano, Róbert Benkö bass, Szilveszter Miklós pcn.
With Guests Szilárd Mezei, Ádám Meggtes, Ábel Fazekas and Gergö Kovás.
Sleeve notes by ANTHONY BRAXTON.
Throughout the 1980’s I played extensively in Hungary for the National Radio and many jazz festivals; one of my outstanding memories is the excitement of hearing the groups of György Szabados live in concert and at festivals. Like Bartok before him, but following a different strain, Szabados’ work is much influenced by Hungarian folk music and has found its own recognised place in the culture of that country.
When the Hungarian label ‘Hunnia’ told me of this double CD project and invited SLAM in a joint production I had no hesitation in accepting and I could not be more pleased with the result.
István Grencsó Sop. ten. saxes Bs Clt, Pipe
Máté Pozsár Piano
Róbert Benkö Dbl Bs
Szilveszter Miklós Dms. Pcn
Szilárd Mezei Viola Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6.
Ádám Meggtes Tpt, Pipe. Tracks 3, 6.
Ábel Fazekas Clt., Pipe Tracks 6.
Gergö Kovás Bari sax, Pipe. Tracks 6.
1 Azesküvö/The Wedding
4 Ajánlás Asszonyainknak/Commendation to our Women
5 Halott-Táncoltatás/Dance of Reanimation
All compositions by György Szabados.
Recorde 11 April 2015 by Dexter.
Poduced by Róbert Zoltán Hunka
02/01/2017 Bruce Lee Gallanter
GYORGY SZABADOS // GRENCSO OPEN COLLECTIVE / SZILARD MEZEI- Derengé/Dawn [2
CD Set](Slam 565) “These are the compositions of György Szabados played by
The Grencsó Open Collective: István Grencsó reeds, Máté Pozsár piano,
Róbert Benkö bass, Szilveszter Miklós drums, with guests Szilárd Mezei,
Ádám Meggtes, Ábel Fazekas and Gergö Kovás. I wasn’t familiar with the
Hungarian composer Gyorgy Szabados before this disc arrived here earlier
this week (Feb 2016). I did recall Mr. Szabados as a pianist who
collaborated with Anthony Braxton and Vladimir Tarasov in a trio with a
fine disc on Leo Records. And lo & behold, Mr. Braxton wrote the liner
notes for this marvelous 2 CD set. The music here is performed by the
Grensco Open Collective, a strong quartet (personnel listed above) with
another four guests. The only name I recognize here is their guest,
Hungarian violist Szilard Mezei. Mr. Mezei is an underground hero to
adventurous listeners everywhere with dozens of great releases and but is
still sadly under-recognized. Disc One begins with a churning acoustic bass
intro before the majestic piano comes in. The frontline of soprano sax,
viola and piano spin magically together in exquisite waves, the currents
building and expanding. Eventually the soprano and viola erupt together as
the piano breaks into tight, difficult written section for the entire
quintet. As the group speeds up to a furious tempo, Mr. Grencso takes an
astonishing soprano solo with Mezei’s viola weaving tightly around him. On
“Supplication”, the collective starts with slow and hypnotically. At the
heart of these pieces, are what sounds like timeless folk melodies which
hover between several flights of fancy with the collective erupts into more
intense freer sections. On “Adyton”, a more spiritual sounding melody is at
the center played by an incredible trumpeter (Adam Meggyes) and Grensco’s
powerful tenor sax followed another great solo from Mezei’s viola. The
second disc is equally impressive as the ancient melodies make way for more
inspired solos for all members of the collective. There are two more
impressive guests on the last piece, clarinet and bari sax, both excellent
players. In a more fair world, all members & guests of this collective and
the compositions of Gyorgy Szabados would get the strong recognition they
rightly deserve. Either way, it is up to you the demanding listener to give
this great disc a serious spin. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG January 2017.
29/09/2016 Jason Bivins.
Prior to digging into this twofer for review, I wasn’t familiar with Grensco or any of his fellow musicians (much less the work of Szabados) other than violist Mezei, who guests on a few tracks here. Hopefully this release will bring him a wider audience, for the music here is creative and frequently impressive. Opening with a lengthy bass solo that foretells the music’s balance between space and density, individual and collective improvising, the release spotlights musicians and compositions that are unpredictable and intense, regardless of their mood. As “The Wedding” unfolds, there’s an emotionalism to the playing that, no matter how far-reaching or expressive, keeps things impressively focused. There’s plenty of energy, and some nice mixups for multiple improvisers. Horns and strings find equal amounts to relish in tunes that range from Free Jazz to gnarly Bop to European Folk. While the tunes move quickly from feel to feel, the compositions feel balanced and never rushed. Part of the credit for this goes to how well Benko and Miklos are able to steer the ship, the latter especially impressive in his use of polyrhythms and tonal range. And on performances like “Supplication,” the band shows it’s happy to linger in textural atmospheres as well.When all the elements are balanced and things are humming, as with the racing “Adyton,” things are quite compelling (here not least in the interplay between Meggyes’ intense trumpet, Mezei’s grainy lines, and Miklos’ blocky momentum). The tunes boiled down to Grensco’s main quartet exemplify different virtues than the heady brew elsewhere. “Commendation to Our Women” is an understated lyrical piece for tenor and piano, while “Dance of Reanimation” demonstrates the band’s exuberance for straightforward, pulse-driven materials. And while I wasn’t quite as sold by the ensemble “pipe” piece “Minstrelsy,” it’s hard not to give this release a hearty recommendation overall. Jason Bivins. http://www.cadencejazzmagazine.com/membersonly/admin/assets/CadenceOct2016(2).pdf
25/06/2016 Ken Waxman
Gresnscó Open CollectiveDerengé/DawnSLAM CD 565/Hunnia Records HR CD 1508By Ken WaxmanAlthough he recorded with master improvisers like Roscoe Mitchell, Joëlle Léandre and Anthony Braxton, pianist/composer György Szabados, who died at 71 this month in 2011, was little known outside of Hungary. Yet his influence loomed over that country’s post-war music as much as the spectre of communism, described in The Communist Manifesto haunted Europe. Like the AACM’s Muhal Richard Abrams, Szabados organized workshops where musicians absorbed his mixture of improvisation, jazz and notated music, spiced paprika-like with a dash of ethnic sounds.Unlike Abrams though, Szabados’ opportunities were limited by his government’s Stalinesque distrust of free music. That’s one reason why Derengé/Dawn is so valuable. Almost the equivalent of a samizdat novel given mass publication, the two CDs provide expanded performances of six Szabados compositions. Budapest-based reedist István Grencsó, a member of the composer’s ensembles from 1984-2007 galvanizes the project, while Serbian-Hungarian violist Szilárd Mezei, who played with Szabados from 2003-2009 adds his distinctive string bending to four tracks.Grencsó emphasizes the jazz/improv qualities of Szabados’ work by building on the textures from his group’s rhythm section of pianist Máté Pozsár, bassist Róbert Benkö and percussionist Szilveszter Miklós. Playing as a quartet the Open Collective performs an act comparable to cleaning a painting to highlight new vibrancy. Touched with strands of Magyar romanticism, Pozsár glides along the keys when not relying on the pedals to judder percussively alongside Benkö’s unvarying pace. Grencsó’s nasal soprano saxophone split tones, sardonic alto saxophone digs or bass clarinet growls mock overwrought Arcadian sentiments, while adding requisite (free) jazz affiliations on a track like “Adyton”. In quintet formation on “Azesküvö/The Wedding” and “Fohsáz/Supplication”, the sharp pulse is maintained. Yet frequently Miklós’ cymbals toll as if emanating from the belfry of Budapest’s St. Stephen's Basilica to appropriately balance the Roma-like flightiness expressed in Mezei’s viola glissandi. Szabados’ tension between sonic light and darkness is without humor. The faux-vaudeville overlay of the concluding “Regölés/Minstrelsy” could accompany clown’s pratfalls after the performance is joined by three additional horn players.Enhancing certain colors in his compositions as if they’re an art restoration team these players honor Szabados’ work by giving it a contemporary sheen as well as daubing individual brush strokes onto his canvas.
—For The New York City Jazz Record July 2016 http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=129089
01/05/2016 Ken Waxman
Arguably Hungary’s most unique composer of the post-war era, pianist György Szabados (1939-2011) had difficulty performing his admixture of free jazz-new music and folkloric sounds in communist times. Even after liberalization, during his sole Canadian appearance at 2006’s Guelph Jazz Festival, his duo with percussionist Vladimir Tarasov was the equivalent of reading a Reader’s Digest version of a novel – textures were lacking. Budapest-based reedist István Grenscó, who was a frequent member of the composer’s ensembles from 1984 to 2007, rectifies the situation with this two-CD set of six Szabados compositions. Grenscó, who plays soprano and alto saxophones and bass clarinet here, creates the equivalent of a Technicolor film from the scores by adapting them to the varied tones produced by his own band – pianist Máté Pozsár, bassist Róbert Benkö and percussionist Szilveszter Miklós – plus, on three tracks, the viola of Szilárd Mezei, who may be Szabados’ heir as a composer; trumpeter Ádám Meggtes on two; as well as two additional woodwind voices to give a breezy vaudeville-like strut to the concluding Regölés/Minstrelsky.
Meggtes’ atonal blasts add the requisite free jazz tinctures to Adyton. But otherwise that tune, like Azesküvö/The Wedding and Fohsáz/Supplication is chiefly animated by carefree currents of Roma-like dances via Mezei’s fiddle, stacked up against the alternately dark ecclesiastical (deepened by bell-like resounds from the cymbals) or evocatively romantic, melody-making from Pozsár. Torquing the pace via nasal soprano bites or mocking the profundity of the slower faux-rustic tunes with sardonic alto saxophone cries, Grenscó still shepherds the ensemble back to the head at each composition’s completion. Halott-Táncoltatás/Dance of Reanimation is the multiphonic masterstroke here. The original quartet members precisely figure out the exact percentage of light and dark tones and fast and slow rhythms needed to animate the composition, with the skill of medics gauging the proper amount of vaccine in a hypodermic needle. Pozsár uses pedal pressure to dig notes from the instrument’s nether regions in tandem with thumping string bass slaps as a way to bolster the theme propelled on unruffled saxophone cries and then bass clarinet reverb. Meanwhile these instances of solo reed elation constantly trade places with successive theme motifs that encompass rustic dance-like cadences and a final military-like crescendo. The aura emanating from this CD demonstrates both the quality of Szabados’ compositions and the pliant talents of his devoted interpreters.
Author: Ken Waxman, The WholeNote http://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/jazzaimprovised/25997-derenges-dawn-grensco-open-collective
11/02/2016 Ken Cheetham
Throughout this double album there are resonances of the essence of the music of Bartók and Kodaly, and that too of Coltrane and Shepp, Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor. The music will move you, too, as it sweeps between moments of unobtrusive tautness and passages of outrageous pandemonium, often linked via diffident, melodic flotsam and jetsam, evocative of burgeoning uncertainty.
Hear too striking harmonies and gorgeous arrangements especially of piano sections and all transported with dramatic tenor, suggestive of fervour of entreaty. There is occasional gloominess too, but all is recovered when the dazzling trumpet and virtuoso viola ease onto the scene and equilibrium is restored, the balance unadulterated and the music free.
Free music? Free jazz? This is a great collaboration by SLAM.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham http://www.jazzviews.net/grencsoacute-open-collective---derengeacutesdawn---compositions-of-gyoumlrgy-szabados.html
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