Artist: Szilard Mezei

Date of Release: 04/11/2011

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 532

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing









Szilárd MEZEI – viola
Ervin MALINA – double bass
István CSÍK – drums, percussion

This is Mezei’s second CD on SLAM, following SLAMCD 521 “T?NK/STUMP” by his Octet. The inclusion of 2 Hungarian folk songs from Vojvodina is significant; Vojvodina, formerly an Autonomous Province of Yugoslavia and now part of Serbia, is home to a strong Hungarian community. The river Tisza sources in Ukraine and joins the Danube in Vojvodina.




12/04/2012 Massimo Ricci

Without posing as last-hour mutineers, Szilárd Mezei (viola), Ervin Malina (double bass) and István Czík (drums) pronounce the death of marginality in the jazz trio format. It is even reductive to use the word “jazz” in this case, for Mezei’s researching inventiveness is upgraded by a moving timbre that reflects East European ancestries more than anything else, travelling around quarter-tone trenchancy and melodic pathos with coordinate symmetry. Moreover, the Serbian’s playing is always sustained by an essential modesty that prevents his patent virtuosity from appearing as a protective cover for hypothetical lacks of substantial matter. In this environment, the compositions – all penned by the leader – consent the comrades’ active participation in the formulation of an argot that sounds both complex and indispensable for acquiring new perspectives on the score/improvisation kinship. Malina’s work benefits from its aggregation of architectural exactness and sinewy musculature, empiric elegance and sober propulsion well equalized throughout. Czík’s percussive solutions are blameless in a music that execrates anarchy while remaining “free” even when entirely written and orchestrated. Difficult scales in fractured tempos, evocative songs bathed in scarce tonal steadiness. There are chunks of pure excellency for everybody here, except lovers of “creative” orthodoxy.
Massimo Ricci http://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/szilard-mezei-trio-tisza/


18/11/2011 Bruce Lee Gallanter

SZILARD MEZEI TRIO - Tisza (Slam 532; UK) Szilard Mezei on viola &
compositions; Ervin Malina on double bass and Istvan Csik on drums &
percussion. This is Mezei's second CD on SLAM, following Slam 521
"Tank/Stump" by his Octet. Mr. Mezei is one of the most prolific
musicians/composers to emerge from Eastern Europe in recent years
with more that two dozens discs on numerous labels (Leo, Red Toucan,
Not Two, Creative Sources, etc.) Although Mezei is a gifted
improviser, it is his ability to draw from Hungarian folk influences,
that makes his music distinctive. Viola led trios are pretty rare but
this one is extra special. "Along the Coast" opens and reminds me of
Billy Bang's fire music intensity and freedom. Each song has a
different structure, providing a variety of challenges each member of
the trio. "Rovas/Natch" has a sort of rather tribal beat with
pounding drums and devilishly difficult viola lines. Although all of
this music is adventurous, none of it is completely free. It is
consistently exciting and has that edge-of-your-seat type of
fascination. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery.Nov 2011


01/11/2011 jazzalchemist

Only recently I appreciated Mezei's Wind Quartet release "Innen" on Ayler Records and here's another chance to get acquainted with his music. His long-time working trio is probably the most accessible musical context he works in and is a great point of introduction to Mezei's fusion of jazz and folk (with much less stress on his modern and classical interests shown clearly in the material composed for larger ensembles).

"Tisza" brings a selection of composed tunes heavily tinged with folk sense of melody, jazz sense of pulse and improvisation-derived passion. Earthy yet gracefull sound of viola corresponds to the potent sense of swing. The strong connection between the musicians, forged by the years of playing together, fuels the compositions with instant fire.
Whether it's the dynamic dance (like "Along the Coast" that starts the cd) or nostalgic ballad (like "Outlaw drinks from Tap" that follows) the trio's music is direct, almost straight-forward, filled with a plenty of strong sparking solos by all three players. Mezei's viola can be sharp like a sting, or gentle and subtle, his fierce playing is filled with virtuosic sense dramaturgy. Ervin Malina keeps the harmonic base and holds the music together with strong walking figures, his solos (like the gritty bowed notes on "Prisoner's Song") show considerable skills, sensibility and sense of adventure. Istvan Csik plays light, filling the air with swinging accents on plates and completes that with some classy solo statements, power and grace. In short: Szilard makes the notes sing while the other two keep the rhythms dancing.

This is a fantastic set of folk tunes (although, apart from two Hungarian folk songs, those are contemporary compositions by Szilard). I can easily imagine those being accompanied by a set of stories, folk fairy tales, telling events and adventures of joy, drama, magic, passion, broken hearts and outlaws.
While modern improvised music often creates the feeling of emotional distance and fills thus created gap between the performer and the listener with intellectual challenges, the music of this trio is down to earth and straight to the body. The sound may be raw but the playing is spirited, vivid, vigorous, vital and filled with gusto. Intense but accessible. Highly recommended.


01/11/2011  http://blog.monsieurdelire.com/2011/10/2011-10-17-szilard-mezei-trio-martin.html

SZILÁRD MEZEI TRIO / Tisza (Slam Productions)
Aprčs un nouveau disque de son Wind Quartet et deux projets d’improvisation, voici que l’altiste serbe Szilárd Mezei publie un nouvel opus en trio (avec Ervin Malina ŕ la contrebasse et István Csík ŕ la batterie). Des compositions qui touchent au jazz, avec un clin d’śil ŕ Mat Maneri, abordent la musique traditionnelle hongroise et, surtout, élaborent un univers plus mélodique qu’ŕ l’habitude. En fait, avec Mezei, plus l’ensemble est petit, plus la musique tend ŕ ętre mélodique. Cela ne fait pas de Tisza une écoute facile – les microtonalités de l’alto requičrent une certaine habitude.
After a new record with his Wind Quartet and two free improvisation projects, Sebian viola player Szilárd Mezei now delivers a new trio pous (with Ervin Malina on bass and István Csík on drums). Compositions touching base with jazz – and a nod to fellow violist Mat Maneri – and drawing inspiration from Hungarian folk musik. And developing in manners more melodious than usual. Actually, it seems that with Mezei, the smaller the ensemble, the more melodic the material. However, that doesn’t make Tisza an easy listen – the viola’s microtonalities require some getting used to. François Couture


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