Grencsó Open Collective: Flat / Sikvidek

Glenn Astarita By

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Multi-reedman Istvan Grencso is not well-known in the US, but is a major, cutting-edge jazz artist in his native Hungary. Thus, Flat / Sikvidek duly stresses his elevated artistry and significant compositional acumen. Nonetheless, the quartet's synergy cannot be undermined, as it incorporates budding jazz stylizations of various flavors into a panorama that abides by construction / deconstruction paradigms in rather harmonious fashion.

The musicians often toy with, and reformulate a wide array of cadences, while launching into overdrive or spinning a surfeit of bracing contrasts into the big picture. For example on "Ivan's Childhood / Ivan Gyermekkora," Grencso's playful bass clarinet lines guide the ensemble into straight-ahead modern jazz fare amid rearrangements of various motifs into asymmetrical grooves, dappled with pianist Mate Pozsar's sprinkling notes over the top. Here, they weave around the primary theme with controlled turbulence, leading to a foreboding series of events. Highly emotive by design, the quartet cohesively fuses cheery etudes with systematic breakdowns into the free jazz realm, as the angular and at times, fiercely executed improv sectors pose another dimension to the band's makeup.

Grencso is a supreme melody maker, especially when he performs on flute. But his mammoth and fluent tenor sax faculties are a driving force, hued with an uncanny ability to generate a resonating, polytonal stereo sound. The quartet often shifts a primary theme into searing and spiritually exercised bridge sections, often uncovering a composition's hidden beauty. However, Grencso lightens the load a bit on the gorgeous flute driven ballad, "Indian A Hortobagyon. On "Winding Farewell / Kacskaringos Bucsu," Pozsar encircles the leader's perky flute notes above the punchy and idiosyncratic rhythmic undercurrent. The journey includes fractured thematic overtures with melancholic overtones, blustery breakouts and Grencso's anthem-like bass clarinet phrasings. Simply stated, this all-embracing gem of an album should not go unnoticed.

Track Listing: Branded / Megbel Yegezve; Ivan’s Childhood / Ivan Gyermekkora; Sugar Free / Cukormentes; Slow Street / Lassu Utca; Indian In Hortobagy / Indian A Hortobagyon; Dawn Caress / Hajnali Ciroka; In The Csinalosi Foerst / Csinalosi Edron; Winding Farewell / Kacskaringos Bucsu.

Personnel: Istvan Grencso: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Mate Pozsar: piano; Robert Benko: double bass; Szilveszter Miklos: drums, percussion.

Title: Flat / Sikvidek | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: BMC Records

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