Hungarian drummer Balázs Balogh leads a multinational group on his intelligent and charming debut Borderline Inspirations. For it he has also penned seven elegant, poetic and sometimes provocative originals. Balogh has been leading an award-winning quintet since 2014 that includes several of those who appear on this captivating album which also showcases Balogh's noteworthy compositional skills.
One of the highlights of this uniformly engaging release is the multilayered "Metamorphosis." Opening with a dark, expectant mood, Balogh's compatriot, pianist Lajos Toth, lets loose tense lines as the leader takes a thrillingly polyrhythmic solo. The second half of the track becomes warmer and more expansive yet no less dramatic as it features Hungarian guitarist Márton Fenyvesi's intriguing and intricate improvisation and Austrian saxophonist Tobias Pustelnik's muscular phrases.
Balogh drives the engrossing and effervescent "Daybreak" with his understated beats and lays down complex rhythms with Austrian bassist Thomas Wilding. Brazilian flutist and saxophonist Marcelo Valezi and Montegroan guitarist Pippo Corvino exchange mellifluous refrains that coalesce around Tóth's bright and chiming keys. The bluesy piano contrasts nicely with Corvino's blistering rock and roll influenced chords.
Elsewhere, on the mystical "Evening Song," Croatian bassist Ivar Roban Krizic matches with his lyrical eloquence Valezi's lilting and contemplative saxophone. A crepuscular ambience permeates the tune as Tóth mixes silent pauses and cascading notes into a stimulating extemporization.
Tóth opens the suave and melancholic "Things That Should Have Been Said" with haunting chimes. After Balogh and Brazilian bassist Gustavo Boni joins the trio and creates a crystalline and shimmering harmonic backdrop. Czech flutist Andrea Sulcová flitters over the kaleidoscopic piece in fluid lines.
With this delightfully unique work Balogh has proven himself a mature composer, an exciting performer and deft bandleader. As a recording that is both creative and accessible Borderline Inspirations should have a wide appeal. It sounds like the beginning of a brilliant career.
Intro; Evening Song; Remonkable; Daybreak; Passing Fancy; Metamorphosis; Things That Should Have Been Said.
Balázs Balogh: drums; Tobias Pustelnik: tenor saxophone; Andrea Slucová: flute; Marcelo Valezi: tenor saxophone,
flute; Lajos Tóth: piano; Márton Fenyvesi: guitar; Pippo Corvino: guitar; Ivar Krizic: bass; Gustavo Boni: bass;
Thomas Wilding: bass.
A young artist exhibits his work for the first time. An art critic is in attendance. The critic says, "would you like my opinion on your work?" "Yes," says the artist. "It's worthless," says the critic. The artist replies "I know, but tell me anyway."