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Lajos Dudas: Some Great Songs Vol. 2

Budd Kopman By

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The predecessor to clarinetist Lajos Dudas' Some Great Songs Vol. 2 appeared some twenty years ago, with his previous release being Radio Days from 2015. Dudas gives no hint of letting up; his playing and arrangements are full of life and also depth. Dudas is one of those players who fills every note with meaning allowing his joy of playing to infuse the listener.

The supporting players from the first disc return: guitarist Philipp van Endert and percussionists Kurt Billker and Jochen Büchner, all of whom appeared on Radio Days. Despite the thin forces every track is very engaging. Kudos must go the van Endert who manages to fill the musical space rhythmically, and with lines and melody/chord playing.

The eight tracks really are a collection of "great songs," some better known than others, including an original, "A Quiet Day" by Dudas. There is an incredible version of Charles Mingus' homage to Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." The entire first half of the four-minute track is introduction, including deep gongs and cymbals, with van Endert's guitar sounding like an organ, producing an elegiac mood. Dudas enters playing the tune (with electronic echo/reverb and delay) proper; Very Lester, completely distilled through Mingus and Dudas.

van Endert continues the low, organ sounds on the introduction to Bill Evans' delightful "Interplay." Dudas then takes off on the blues-based tune with van Endert playing a very interesting accompaniment which is much more than comping. There are some electronic effects that can be heard during van Endert's precise solo, which then returns to the recap, completing what is just about a perfect track.

"Take Five" by Paul Desmond is given a very slow, almost eerie treatment, full of echo and delay effects, which might lead some think that this is the way the tune is meant to be played! This is followed by Dudas and van Endert stretching out on Miles Davis' "Vierd Blues" (also known as "Trane's Blues").

Dudas' "A Quiet Day" is a very pretty, poignant tune that unrolls slowly, with Dudas delicately accompanied in a textbook-perfect fashion by van Endert. "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin and used in his move Modern Times provides a nice contrast with a virtuoso solo introduction by van Endert leading to Dudas' darting and floating treatment of the tune.

Dudas' art is displayed in the immense amount of musical and emotional information that is contained in every note he plays, without (somehow) calling attention to himself.

May Lajos Dudas continue to make deep, beautiful music for another twenty years.

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