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Mihaly Dresch Quartet with Chris Potter: Zea

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Togo"

Hungarian reedman Mihaly Dresch is one of the more prominent jazz artists in Eastern Europe and generally sets high standards for his work. On this beautifully crafted live outing with American sax great Chris Potter, the ensemble melds tuneful melodies with Hungarian folk, dirge-like balladry, hyper-mode bop and progressive jazz via an uplifting mode of operations amid high-flying motifs and buoyant storylines.

Potter contributes 2 tracks, but the opener "Togo," is a composition by famed drummer Ed Blackwell, and is a gold standard type piece that sets the stage for the ensuing fireworks. Miklos Lukacs alters most notions of a standard jazz group configuration by playing the cimbalom which is a concert hammered dulcimer, where striking beaters against the strings emit a sound that falls somewhere between a piano and a harp. On this piece, he keenly contrasts Potter's powerful presence as Dresch uses the flute-like fuhun as a means of introducing an indigenous folk element into the big picture. Here, the musicians' bubbly theme building exercises serve as an undulating mechanism for the soloists ascending subplots, executed with chutzpah and memorable licks. But Lukacs' amazing extended solo is a harmonically resplendent jaunt, filled with detailed construction mechanisms and dazzling flurries along with some nifty reverse-engineering processes.

Towards the coda, Dresch and Potter trade exhilarating fours and slowly reframe the primary theme as the rhythm section peppers and prods the frontline throughout. They bring it all back home as some might say. Hence "Togo" is not only a teaser, but just the beginning of a technically astute work of art, instilled with various tangents atop the prevailing jazz vernacular.

Track Listing: Togo; Zea; Legenyes / Lad’s Dance; Amott legel / Grazing Yonder, Six Bay Horses; Free; Hazafele / Homeward Bound; Ereszkedo / Falling Gently; Futas Miska / Get Your Skates on, Mick!

Personnel: Mihaly Dresch: tenor and soprano saxophone, fuhun; Miklos Lukacs: cimbalom; Hock Erno: double bass; Istvan Balo: drums. Chris Potter: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet.

Title: Zea | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: BMC Music


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