It might surprise that Hungarian-born drummer Ferenc Nemeth makes his debut as a leader with Night Songs. The sophistication and self-assurance of his composing and arranging have the earmarks of a seasoned veteran. Nemeth has assembled a group of musicians with whom he has worked before and who have worked at various times with each other; this all-around familiarity is what gives this disc its verve.
In spite of its title, the tune "War isn't really violent. Nemeth's driving, inspired drum solo is as close to a martial flavor or aura as the song gets. The surprisingly up-tempo tune begins things here, with Mark Turner's driving tenor contrasting nicely with Chris Cheek's weary alto. The dynamic Lionel Loueke adds his rich, subtle guitar and sensual vocalizing to "A Night, a lush yet calm piece that defines reflection.
Bassist John Patitucci's excellent Middle Eastern-flavored pizzicato sets the stage for the wonderful "Vera. Turner and Cheek weave and soar amidst Nemeth's percussion, with Loueke's almost subliminal vocals providing a sensual backdrop. Nemeth's arrangement of Wayne Shorter's "E.S.P. puts a mischievous bounce in its step. Turner and Cheek again play a nice tandem on "New Song, with the spare, strong voices of their horns blending soulfully. "Ballad for the Stars is another showcase for Patitucci, and Loueke leads the way on the Weather Report-inflected "L.L..
The Middle Eastern/African-influenced "Lullaby features Aaron Parks' outstanding piano and more of Nemeth's shimmering percussion. Night Songs is an eye-opening debut, one where style and substance walk in perfect balance.
Track Listing: War...;
Intro To Vera;
Intro To E.S.P.;
Ballad For the Stars;
Theme To L.L.;
Personnel: Ferenc Nemeth: drums; Lionel Loueke: guitar; Chris Cheek: saxophones; Mark Turner: saxophones; Aaron Parks: piano; John Patitucci: bass guitar.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.