212

Tommy Vig: Welcome to Hungary!

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Tommy Vig: Welcome to Hungary! Vibraphonist Tommy Vig has had an interesting career. Born in Budapest, he played the drums when he was six and recorded his first album two years later. Music was his passion, but the political landscape in Hungary was to cast a shadow on his days as a jazz musician. Jazz was banned in 1949, and Vig could not play it again until 1956. With the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution, Vig decided that it was time to move on. Move he did, through the minefields of Russia and into Austria. He later went to New York and the Julliard School of Music, but not before he had played with keyboardist Joe Zawinul. But his moving days were not over; he left New York for Hollywood, and then Las Vegas, and it was in those cities that he found the nail to his career as he established himself playing with Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass and Rod Stewart, among others.

Vig pursues the "Big Band American Sound" on Welcome to Hungary!, but goes for an interesting trajectory with the inclusion of saxophonist David Murray—whose free styles permutations energize the music—and two Hungarian instruments, the cimbalom and the tárogató. It all works well with the tasteful arrangements enriched by the musicians.

Murray and Vig state the theme of "Sahara" with tenor saxophone and vibraphone, respectively; both in melodic consonance. Murray angles out, changing the tempo and intensity of his notes in a virtuosic performance. The advent of the orchestra moves the composition into a swing time that Murray embraces with robust verve. The assimilation is seamless, and the soulful power absorbing.

"Vig Corn," based on a Hungarian folk melody, has an incipient beauty framed by Balazs Cserta on tárogató, accompanied by Rózsa Farkas on cimbalom. The mood explodes in a dazzling array of swirling melodic lines that quickly gravitate into swing. The concept makes for a lively outing and, with Cserta and Farkas adding intonations, this turns out to be most delectable of the set.

Another side of Vig's creativity comes through his solo on "Rise and Shine," where he probes the dynamics of his instrument with crystalline runs and an artful blend of harmony and melody. The orchestra dwells on the melody, and so does Murray, in what turns out to be another gem of big band swing.

The five bonus tracks feature a slimmer band that is spearheaded by the brass. This is a tight outfit, sure in its focus and approach that sees it melding composition and freedom with finesse. This trait is strong on "I Told You," where the melody's arc is pricked by the horns. Two ballads, expressively sung in Hungarian with feeling by Mia Kim, come in quite a different mode.

The accompanying booklet has information on the recording, and Vig's often acerbic views on music and politics make for entertaining reading.


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; Istvan Elek: saxophone; Ference Schreck: trombone; Bela Szaloky: trombone, flugelhorn; Akos Tompa: trumpet; Janos Hamori: trumpet; Peter Kovacs: saxophone; Balazs Nagy: saxophone; Arpad Dennert: saxophone; Mia Kim: vocals.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Klasszikus Jazz Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by James Nadal
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Montage" CD/LP/Track Review Montage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!