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Cohesion, fire, tenderness, fine soloists and excellent charts - The Jazz Record Digest
Intriguing musical statements... of compelling interest - Playboy Magazine
Tommy Vig's talents as a composer, arranger, percussionist and vibe soloist are quite admirable- Jazz And Pop
Big Band with a bite... Brilliant. - Army Times
Superlative playing - Jazz Monthly, England
Swings with a vengeance - Los Angeles Times
Tremendously exciting band - Daily Variety
High standard of performance - Saturday Review of Literature
Excellent - Variety
Milestones along the jazz road - The Las Vegas Sun
-- REVIEWS FOR WELCOME TO HUNGARY ! --
The liner notes of Tommy Vig's Welcome to Hungary certainly create
an interesting first impression. The booklet is essentially an extended
rant by Vig that touches on everything from politics to aesthetics to
metaphysics. If nothing else, the reader understands that Vig despises
multinational corporations, rock music, fusion, and especially the
The music is almost as enigmatic as the liner notes, but thankfully much more focused. Indeed, Tommy Vig has created an original, strangely intuitive, and ultimately satisfying big band. This music is avant garde, and dissonance is integral to their vision. That said, Vig's pieces are about as catchy as avant garde big bands could conceivably be. Fast unison parts are balanced with clear melodies, and rounded out with explorative soloing and inventive charts.
Tommy Vig and saxophonist David Murray work well together, and the sensitive interaction between the two players lends a sense of direction to the proceedings. Many songs feature extensive parts in which these two artists are featured without the rest of the band. Murray's solos retain their challenging nature but never sound grating in the context of Vig's more atmospheric vibraphone playing.
Given how adventurous this music is, the horn charts sometimes sound surprisingly old-fashioned. Many of the tunes are based off of a swinging riff, recalling the classic swing bands of Benny Goodman and Count Basie. But this is just a starting point, as Vig and Murray explore each song with thoroughly modern harmony. And this is not just limited to the solos—the developmental sections of each song are as difficult and demanding as 20th century classical music, while remaining firmly in a jazz aesthetic.
Highlights of the set include the lengthy and cerebral Sahara and the Thelonious Monk tribute In Memory of Monk. The latter song seems particularly suited to this record, as Vig and Thelonious Monk each share an idiosyncratic, dissonant, and yet curiously catchy musical vision. Every song on this recording has something to offer, and there is not a single weak track.
. . .
Despite its cranky eccentricities, this is worth seeking out. It is an original, swinging and well conceived and well executed effort. - Eric Prinzing, JAZZREVIEW.COM
Tommy Vig and David Murray are the real deal! Welcome to Hungary ! is a Bags and Trane collaboration configured for the 21st century. Tommy Vig’s Orchestra is truly outstanding on all fronts, and his arrangements are, of course, nothing less than top-notch. The highlight of the album is the constant interaction and interplay of Tommy Vig’s vibes and David Murray’s halting tenor saxophone. David Murray is the true heir to the late John Coltrane’s avant-garde tenor saxophone technique and concept, and Tommy Vig is mindful of his playing up and down the horn throughout the entire album. He has composed and arranged precisely to suite his guest soloist’s ecstatic tenor saxophone playing. David Murray’s non-stop stretches up-and-down the tenor saxophone are completely synchronized with Tommy Vig’s Orchestra. Tommy Vig's arrangements are incredibly tight; you can feel the band’s pulse throughout each track of the album, with each instrumentalists being completely in-line with the other. David Murray’s extended technique provides a harmony-in-itself, and Tommy Vig realizes the full effects of this, hence the need for his Orchestra to provide a more focused energy that would give Murray the space to stretch out. Murray plays the tenor saxophone with Tommy Vig’s Orchestra in the same spirit as tenor-man John Gilmore did with the Sun Ra Arkestra during the golden age of jazz. - Dustin Garlitz, October 2011, JazzTalent.com
TOMMY VIG’S ARRANGEMENTS, VIBES WORK AND THE USE OF DAVID MURRAY ON WELCOME TO HUNGARY!” ARE EXCELLENT ! - ROBERT RUSCH of CADENCE MAGAZINE
HIGH CALIBER BAND ! Excellent arrangements and vibe playing by Vig ! - Jazz Podium Magazine, Germany, Oct 2011
Beautiful ! Enjoyed WELCOME TO HUNGARY ! very much, especially the vibe solos ! - Mate Hollos, President, Hungarian Composers Association
The Tommy Vig arrangements are very powerful - Steve Voce of the Jazz Journal, England
A Gem of Big Band Swing!
Vibraphonist Tommy Vig has had an interesting career. Born in Budapest, he played the drums when he was six and recorded his first album two years later. Music was his passion, but the political landscape in Hungary was to cast a shadow on his days as a jazz musician. Jazz was banned in 1949, and Vig could not play it again until 1956. With the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution, Vig decided that it was time to move on. Move he did, through the minefields of Russia and into Austria. He later went to New York and the Juilliard School of Music, but not before he had played with keyboardist Joe Zawinul. But his moving days were not over; he left New York for Hollywood, and then Las Vegas, and it was in those cities that he found the nail to his career as he established himself playing with Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass and Rod Stewart, among others.
Vig pursues the Big Band American Sound on Welcome to Hungary!, but goes for an interesting trajectory with the inclusion of saxophonist David Murray whose free styles permutations energize the music and two Hungarian instruments, the cimbalom and the tárogató. It all works well with the tasteful arrangements enriched by the musicians.
Murray and Vig state the theme of Sahara with tenor saxophone and vibraphone, respectively; both in melodic consonance. Murray angles out, changing the tempo and intensity of his notes in a virtuoso performance. The advent of the orchestra moves the composition into a swing time that Murray embraces with robust verve. The assimilation is seamless, and the soulful power absorbing.
Vig Corn, based on a Hungarian folk melody, has an incipient beauty framed by Balazs Cserta on tárogató, accompanied by Rózsa Farkas on cimbalom. The mood explodes in a dazzling array of swirling melodic lines that quickly gravitate into swing. The concept makes for a lively outing and, with Cserta and Farkas adding intonations, this turns out to be most delectable of the set.
Another side of Vig's creativity comes through his solo on Rise and Shine, where he probes the dynamics of his instrument with crystalline runs and an artful blend of harmony and melody. The orchestra dwells on the melody, and so does Murray, in what turns out to be another gem of big band swing.
The five bonus tracks feature a slimmer band that is spearheaded by the brass. This is a tight outfit, sure in its focus and approach that sees it melding composition and freedom with finesse. This trait is strong on I Told You, where the melody's arc is pricked by the horns. Two ballads, expressively sung in Hungarian with feeling by Mia Kim, come in quite a different mode.
The accompanying booklet has information on the recording, and Vig's often acerbic views on music and politics make for entertaining reading. - Jerry D'Souza (All About Jazz)
Stan Kenton 2011 ! Intelligent charts, beautiful, futuristic orchestration - Peter Pallai, Director, Hungarian Cultural Center (London)
HOMECOMING, VERY EXCITING MUSIC ! Dr. János Gregorits (JAZZMA.HU Magazine)
Tommy Vig is a vibes player who's Hungarian orchestra is a cross between the Vienna Art Orchestra & Loose Tubes, & very good - Martin Bright (UK Jazz Radio)
Modern ! I liked Welcome to Hungary!” It is ahead of the times! - Robert Maloschik (JazzToday, Budapest)
Music for Free Thinkers ! When you’re 73 and you’ve left
Hollywood and capitalism behind, you’re pretty much free to
do things as you see fit. Free jazz big band that certainly has
its roots in church basement jazz, recording from Hungary
notwithstanding. The liner book comes with a lengthy hippy
diatribe against selling out and this cat can have his opinion
since he’s been on both sides of the fence. If music from
labels with names like BYG, Actual or Celluloid means
anything to you, this left leaning big band date will resonate
with you in a big way. Certainly music for free thinkers. -
Chris Spector (Midwest Record)
Leonard Feather and Stan Kenton both called me one of the future leaders in American music.
In the official HUNGARIAN JAZZ HISTORY, I am named as only one of four musicians who ever became successful jazz artists in America, the others being the three great guitarists: Gabor Szabo, Elek Bacsik, and Attila Zoller.
My just released big band CD featuring David Murray has accumulated good reviews, some of which are posted at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tommyvig1
You can learn more about this CD at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_Hungary!_The_Tom my_Vig_Orchestra_2012_Featuring_David_Murray
More information about me may be had at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Vig
Wife, vocalist/dancer Mia, (who sings a couple of songs on our most recent CD, WELCOME TO HUNGARY !”) is a former KIM SISTER, who starred at the Stardust and Desert Inn Hotels, and who was featured on the Ed Sullivan Show 24 times. She also appeared on the Dinah Shore, Operation Entertainment, Hollywood Palace and Dean Martin television shows. You can read about her career at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kim_Sisters and view her recent performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=KYi9gg3xkUo