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Hungarian born Serbia-Montenegro violist in an 8-piece jazz group of powerful music influenced by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sun Ra and Anthony Braxton.

Mezei, Szilard International Ensemble

Mezei, Szilard International Ensemble: Draught (Leo)
Label: Leo    
Released in: Great Britain    

"The sight of the violin in a jazz context immediately calls to mind players like Stephane Grappelli and Billy Bang, if only because it is so rarely heard in the idiom. Even rarer is the viola, the Serbian-born, ethnic Hungarian Szilard Mezei's choice. But Mezei is not about chops; he instead investigates how not only the viola, but also any instrument, fits into shifting improvisational contexts. His discoveries, at turns searing, swinging and graceful, are all present on the live document Draught, the debut recording of his International Ensemble.

The four pieces here show how the thirty-two year-old Mezei combines an ear for fetching themes - ones that roam between desolation, raunch, transcendence and romance - with a knack for ensemble arrangements that slip seamlessly from form to form, all the while throwing clever challenges at his eight-strong group. If all this sounds stiff, worry not, for Mezei is too steeped in Mingus, Ellington and Sun Ra to let that happen. The jaunt and strut of "In Step" is pure Mingus - collective rapture mashed with infectious swing and clothed in old-slipper familiarity. Jens Balder's trombone solo towards the close of "That Dance" reminds us just how close the vocal growls of Ellington's orchestra are to the more timbral gestures of the later avant-garde. The unified eruption that boils over at the close of "Female Boxing" channels all the discipline of Ra's astro-charged ecstasy. [...] Mezei's bold and brazen music never fails to stimulate, meaning Draught overflows with revelations."-Dusted Magazine

See all items in the Leo Records category

Related Categories of Interest:

Leo Records
Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
November 2007

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Product Information:

UPC: 5024792044726

Label: Leo
Catalog ID: CD LR 447
Squidco Product Code: 8863

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2006
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded live at the 10th "Jazz, improvised music..." Festival, Magyarkanizsa, Vojvodina, Serbia & Montenegro on September 10, 2004.


Bogdan Rankovic-bass, clarinet, soprano saxophone

Michael Hornstein-alto saxophone

Matthias Schubert-tenor saxophone

Jens Balder-trombone

Szilard Mezei-viola

Svetlana Maras-piano

Ervin Malina-double bass

István Csik-drums, percussion

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Track Listing:

1. Breezy Draught

2. Chariot of Sun-That Dance

3. In Step

4. Female Boxing