How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Tamas Barany studied for eight years at the Bela Bartok Music Academy in his native Hungary and in 2004 was appointed a Knight in the Order of Saint George (Eastern Europe's oldest chivalric order, established in 1326), an appointment he accepted as a pianist, accompanied by an oath to protect the origins of traditional Hungarian music.
Barany relocated to Montreal as a composer, arranger and keyboardist for hire, session work that seemed to satisfy more professional needs than creative ones. "After scoring the music for 26 episodes of a TV series, I needed to get away from the computer and back to the basics, to free form, and record with great musicians," he says. "I polished up my trusted Fender Rhodes, and contacted my friend Alex Bellegarde
On Rhodes Trip, his debut under his performing name Tomisheep, the keyboardist and composer finally gets his chance to flip his lid and rock the house. Its liner notes say that "This album puts the fun back into the word jazz," a promise delivered by the music within. Led by fluttering flute and a bass line big and fat enough to choke an elephant, "NCRDBLS" cuts an enormous, smooth-flowing jazz funk groove that offers neither preview nor clue to its hard-hitting, culminating eruption of rock 'n' roll guitars and drums.
Rhodes Trip takes a Latin turn with "Jules Bond," where Tomisheep's keyboard cooly muses on the hot coals of burning timbales and other percussion; "Jules" segues into "Cubaq," an incredibly intense and lively companion Latin bonfire respectively stoked by Eduardo Sanchez's incandescent trumpet and Richard Lemoine's flamethrower electric guitar.
If I could write music instead of review it, a tune like Tomisheep's openertitled "Finally," as if its arrival took a lifetimewould be the first song I'd write: an abundant buffet sumptuous with itchy rhythm guitar, scratchy turntables, floating flute, and the beating pulse of slippery drums, which suggests the sounds of jazz-influenced hip-hop/funk artists such as Greyboy
"You have to label all the time, and that was my problem with this album because the music stores have to put it somewhere," Tomisheep says of his debut. "It's jazzy, definitely, but also groovy, with a little bit of Latin flavor and a little bit modern with DJs and scratching."