THE BEST FROM BUDAPEST…Trio Kontraszt: From Dyonisian Sound Sparks to the Silence of Passing, Balint Gyemant: True Listener, Andras Des Trio: The Worst Singer in the World, Szakcsi/Monniot/Horvath/Balazs: Density of Standards, Pulcinella: ¾ D’Once

Are you Hungary for some new sounds? Budapest Music Center Records delivers sounds of jazz from Easter Europe. Give them a listen, they’re fresh and exciting!

Trio Kontraszt consists of Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer/p-key, Istavan Grencso/ts-ss-bcl-fl and Szilveszter Miklos/dr for eleven intriguing originals. Moods range with Grencso’s’ sedgy tenor hovering over the kintetic  pulses on the scattering “Hesitated” to the ominous “De Ira” with growing reed and hovering organ. Tickmayer’s piano gallops on the frantic “Passamezzo Ongaro Per Trio” with his prepared piano creating the effects of a Japanese garden for Greencso’s Bodhi Tree of a flute on the pastoral “Zeno’s Aporia.” Sepia tones and shadows.

Guitarist Balint Gyemant goes both electric and acoustic on this lovely impressionistic album with Tibor Fonay/b, Laszlo Csizi/dr and guest Shai Maestro/p. On the acoustic side, “Meet Me On The Other Side” is a glowing delight, while the lovely strums of “Indigo” and intimate pickings of the folksy “White Lies” and title track create a sonic tonic. The electric moods have him teaming with Fonay on a luminous “Pathway” and creating sleek sounds to Csizi’s nimble drum work on “Tricky Knee” while the team canters with Maestro’s sublime ivories on the clean sounding “The Last 100 Meters.” A real gem!

The two guitars of Fenyvesi/steel-pedals and Istvan Toth Jr/nylon join with the creative  percussion of Andras Des to produce a wide variety of moods. Des’ use of African percussion creates a rich ambience to “Intro” and the mystical “Sea At Second Sight.” More European folk sounds are created by the patient guitars on “Holding Your Hand…” and the fingersnapping “Lullaby Under the Sea” while even some C&W twang drops in on the graceful “Interplay 1. Outside.” Ethereal strings.

The quartet of Bela Szakcs Ladatos/p, Christophe Monniot/as, Jozsef Barcza Horvath/b and Elemer Balazs/dr deconstruct a collection of standards on this collective. Monniot’s alto is razor sharp and brittle on the loose read of “Someday My Prince Will Come” and gasps for air over Lakatos’ pretty piano on “Body and Soul.” Balazs supplies a bluesy  pulse for the astringent alto on “Summetime” while Horvath bows and snaps for the buzzing reed on “Ove the Rainbow,” with the team getting the most inside on a mellow read of a brooding “Days of Wine and Roses.” A stumper on “Name that Tune.”

Old World atmospheres are produced by the Pulcinella quartet of Ferninand Doumerc/sax-fl, Florian Demonsant/acc, Jean-Marc Serpin/b and Pierre Pollet/dr. Nuevo tango grooves by the rhythm allow the accordion and sax to hover over “3/5 d’Once” while a bohemian “La Fille De L’Ombre” makes you feel like you’re strolling in the Latin Quarter. Some exciting moments lead to a dramatic rush to the finish line as Pollet rides the whip on “Melchizedec” and the team gets kinetic for Doumerc’s rich tenor on “Les Paris Sont Ouverts.” Many rewarding moments.

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