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Lajos Dudas: Return to the Future

C. Michael Bailey By

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German-Hungarian clarinetist Lajos Dudas shows little inclination in slowing things down as he turns 78 years young next birthday. He has stopped for the moment to program an informative retrospective of his lengthy career in Return to the Future, a collection of ten live performances bookended by two quartet performances in Cologne in 1979 and 2013. The music presented is all of Dudas' free variety, an intersection between Tony Scott and Jimmy Giuffre as if undated to the end of the twentieth century.

Of the ten selections presented, a single one, Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are," represents traditional jazz standards. Not that Dudas' treatment is all that traditional. Dudas' method of clarinet playing can be related to the deconstructive piano approach of Martial Solal. The two men like to tinker with musical atoms, and sometime, subatomic particles. Dudas' expanse includes a clarinet quartet performance of his "Miniaturen" bit of fun with alto saxophonist Sebastian Buchholz and vocalist Yildiz Ibrahiova on the quirky with hiccups "Real Bebop."

"Convergence" is a collective free improvisation shared with bassist Elmar Guantes and pianist Hubert Bergmann. It is the most contemporary of the performances captured at a Uberlingen/Lake Constanze Concert in 2013. It is the closest approximation of the 1960s Guiffre trios, save for the modern approach of Dudas to say more with less. Pithy and intelligent, Dudas has spent the last 30 years distilling a musical thought to its bare essence...with much success.

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