89

Tommy Vig: Welcome to Hungary

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Tommy Vig: Welcome to Hungary
Although not as well-known in the US as his compatriots Attila Zoller and Gabor Szabo, percussionist Tommy Vig is every bit as talented as the two guitarists with a unique vision and unrelenting quest for perfection.

Born in Budapest, Vig was a child prodigy, having recorded on drums at the tender age of eight. Political climate forced him into a self-imposed exile to the US where he made a living playing behind other jazz musicians, vocalists and on film soundtracks while simultaneously furthering his calling of modern composition.

Awestruck by Albert Ayler (whom he saw during the latter's tenure at The Village Vanguard in the mid-1950s), he never abandoned a healthy respect for free jazz and progressive musical explorations. Two of his pieces became part of Stan Kenton's repertoire, but unlike the latter's work Vig's own big band forays have a loose and gritty feel to them, infused with a cinematic and edgy expansiveness like that of Gerald Wilson.

This is clearly heard on Welcome to Hungary!. On "Sahara," the orchestra builds its sound around David Murray's edgy tenor, replete with honks and screeches. This echoes the vibraphone and saxophone duet that opens the tune, with Vig's angular and sparse mallet strikes building an ambience around Murray's complex and satisfying free blowing. A similar vibes/tenor improvisation opens the celebratory "Now is the Time in Hungary," a Vig original that explodes with the bright colors and brassy sound of the horn heavy ensemble.

Intros of this sort appear on almost every track, featuring either a Murray/Vig ad lib dialogue or the vibraphonist a capella. These surface similarities lead to a thematic unity and not to repetitious monotony. One of the highpoints of the recording is "Vig Corn," a ballet like melody built upon a Hungarian folk song that features Rozsa Farkas, on cimbalom (a Magyar hammered dulcimer), and Balazs Cserta on the bass clarinet-like tarogato. These ethnic instruments are also heard on the "Body and Soul"-inspired "Buddy and Solita," that features Vig's percussive drumming and Murray's edgy saxophone mixing avant-garde explorations with quotes from the original ballad.

The CD also contains bonus material featuring a slimmed-down version of the group playing two traditional airs featuring Vig's life partner, evocative singer Mia Kim; a percussion-heavy and wonderfully harmonic "I Told You"; the cimbalom based waltz "Only You"; and a whimsical parody of The Beatles' "Michelle" that sounds like a Mozart Divertimento.

The accompanying booklet contains copious liner notes by Vig that is part introduction to the disc, part memoir and part witty and acerbic observation on music and politics. The album as a whole is a well-rounded and delightful introduction to an artist who deserves long overdue recognition as a composer, improviser and instrumentalist.

Track Listing

Sahara; Buddy and Solita; Now is the Time in Hungary!; Rise and Shine; In Memory of Dizzy; In Memory of Monk; Only You; Vig Corn; Bonus tracks: I Told You; Only You; Me Shall; Veled Vagyok Meg Gondolatban; Fustbe Ment Terv.

Personnel

Tommy Vig: vibraphone, drums; David Murray: tenor saxophone; Rozsa Farkas: cimbalom; Balazs Cserta: tarogato, saxophone; Istvan Elek: saxophone; Ference Schreck: trombone; Bela Szaloky: trombone, flugelhorn; Akos Tompa: trumpet; Janos Hamori: trumpet; Peter Kovacs: tuba; Balazs Nagy: saxophone; Arpad Dennert: saxophone; Mia Kim: vocals.

Album information

Title: Welcome to Hungary | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Klasszikus Jazz Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read All Figured Out
All Figured Out
Derek Brown and The Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra
Read Supersense
Supersense
Steph Richards
Read Alex Moxon Quartet
Alex Moxon Quartet
Alex Moxon Quartet
Read I Went This Way
I Went This Way
Rachel Musson
Read HH
HH
Lionel Loueke
Read Dominos
Dominos
Chuck Anderson

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.