Mihaly Borbely Quartet: Hungarian Jazz Rhapsody

Glenn Astarita By

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Hungarian jazz doesn't receive same the level of attention as Western Europe and Scandinavia. Other than acclaimed jazz guitar legends, Gabor Szabo and Attila Zoller, there haven't been many household names within this idiom. Yet the BMC Records label has been a catalyst by producing gifted progressive jazz artists, such as the Dresch Quartet, and here, saxophonist Mihaly Borbely who titles his album and performs Zoller's composition, Hungarian Rhapsody.

The quartet bridges the outside realm with modern jazz amid high marks for Borbely's imaginative arrangements and generous opportunities for the band to stretch. Moreover, the pristine audio processing offers a radiant luster to the program. Sprightly flurries and clarity of thought underscore the vibrancy of this outing via sojourns into indigenous folk and classical as the band seamlessly integrates the avant-garde element into choice spots.

" Szomoru Vasarnap/Gloomy Sunday" commences with Daniel Szabo's soul-searching piano cadenzas, transposing the climate into a curvy and roiling passage, leading to semi-classical movements and free-form improvisation. Here, Borbely's heavy sax lines add depth and expound upon the big bottom rendered by bassist Balazs Horvath, who also descends the proceedings with pensive ostinato phrasings. Otherwise, the quartet reenergizes and engages in flirtatious dialogues.

Many of these works are constructed upon swelling choruses, adding to the excitement factor. However on "Varj, Mig Felkel Majd A Nap/Wait Till The Sun Comes Up," Szabo's loose backbeat paves the way for a tune that signals Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek's frothy, anthem-like jazz rock compositions, where Borbely's forcefully tuneful notes and breakouts into the upper-register spawn a heightened sense of urgency.

Hungarian Jazz Rhapsody signals one of many first-rate albums presented by this premier Hungarian jazz and classical record label. Hence, there's a whole lot of undiscovered goodness taking place in Eastern Europe's hip jazz scene, spanning a fruitful and extensive array of genre-busting vernaculars.

Track Listing

Hungarian Jazz Rhapsody; Itelet; Polymodal Blues; Szomoru Vasarnap/Gloomy Sunday; Latod, Ez A Szerelem / You See, This Is Love, In Illo Tempore; Ringasd El Magad/Rock Yourself; Varj, Mig Felkel Majd A Nap/Wait Till The Sun Comes Up; Ezust Nyar/Silver Summer.


Mihaly Borbely: saxophones, tarogato; Daniel Szabo: piano; Balazs Horvath: bass; Istvan Balo: drums.

Album information

Title: Hungarian Jazz Rhapsody | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: BMC Records


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