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Lajos Dudas / Hubert Bergmann: What's Up Neighbor?

Jerry D'Souza By

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When clarinetist Lajos Dudas read about a workshop for new and improvised music in his town of Lake Constance, at the foot of the Alps, he was taken aback. Long a proponent of free jazz, Dudas was surprised that he was not aware of the event. A few days later, he was invited, by Hubert Bergmann, to a meeting where the pianist suggested that they record together. Dudas had his doubts about the project working—after all, he improvised freely, while Bergmann played contemporary music. As it turns out, Dudas need not have been apprehensive; their stylistic contrasts did not mar their adventures, which were improvised right through.

Bergmann and Dudas forge common ground through the tonality of their instruments. While Dudas has been an exponent of free jazz he does not forsake melody. For Bergmann, melody is the underlying factor. Together they use it to ignite invention.

They begin in tandem, on "Eastern Journey," with an early inclination to innovate. Bergmann is emphatic, while Dudas lets the wisps of his notes curl through. They gravitate in and out of the pulse, picking each other up and then riding out a wave or a calm interlude. Understanding is the key and they know just how to use it.

A haunting clarinet, deep in its register, marks "The Inner Space of Silent." Dudas is eloquent, as he draws from the inner resources of the reeds to make use of its range for a remarkable performance.

"Forgotten Blues is Like . . ." turns out to be a mélange of delightful ideas; New Orleans, blues, free idioms, and composition come together and create a seductive spell. The tempo prances on "Bop Bee," with Bergmann and Dudas enticing in a quicksilver conversation. The constant shift of pulse underlines their empathy decisively.

Together, Dudas and Bergmann represented an unexpected meeting of minds, but it sure was a successful one.

Track Listing: Eastern Journey; Rootendo; In Gyorgy Szabados; In a Good Neighborhood; Early Morning at Lake Side; European Study With One Half Hat; Forgotten Blues is Like . . .; Bop Bee; The Inner Space of Silent; Chromatic Bubble.

Personnel: Lajos Dudas: clarinet; Hubert Bergmann: piano.

Title: What's Up Neighbor? | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: JazzSick Records

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