Serbian violaist Szilárd Mezei has gained a reputation as a composer/musician that rarely fits into ordinary definitions and conventions. Throughout his career, he has systematically blurred the boundaries between modern chamber contemporary music, European folk-based themes and jazz and free improvisation. His second release with his Wind Quartet, following We Were Watching the Rain (Leo, 2009), is no exception.
With this unique quartet Mezei explores dark and deep-toned textures playing viola and composing for trombone, tuba and bass clarinet (also, at times, clarinet and alto sax). His writing patiently investigates the colorful sonic possibilities of this rare instrumentation. The interplay of this quartet is superb and it is clear that not only did Mezei find sympathetic musicians, but he selected players keen on exploring his expressive ideas; always ready to challenge themselves.
The title track is one of the set's most beautiful compositionsa hauntingly lyrical, folk-based theme that blossoms slowly, leaving enough room for every musician to explore it in their solo articulations. "Nagymacska (Big Cat)" unfolds from a dissonant motif and features different strategiesin its impressive solo segments and within the quartet's interplay to solve this dissonance, without losing a common thread throughout this 15-minutes composition.
Over the cours e of 26 minutes, "Hep 15 K" and " Hep 15 R" provide the four musicians a chance to expand on the rhythmic and timbral variations within Mezei's skeletal compositions, seeking nuanced and creative improvised parts. Both compositions feature the quartet's almost telepathic interplay and rich sound.
This unique recording concludes with the aptly named and beautiful "Régi Tánc (Old Dance)," a meditative and rather untimely composition that presents this quartet's wonderful aesthetic.
Track Listing: A megoldás lehetetlen változatai (The Impossible Variations of Solutions); Innen (From Here); Nagymacska (Big Cat); Trio Improvisation; Hep 15 K; Hep 15 R; Régi Tánc (Old Dance).
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.