(Not Two)

Strongly identified by the emotionally intense voice of the leader’s sister, actress Kinga Mezei, these five compositions were recorded live at CNESA (Serbia) in 2011. For the occasion, Szilàrd Mezei gathered a tentet that also included saxophones and clarinets (Bogdan Ranković, Péter Bede, Béla Burányi), trombone and tuba (Branislav Aksin, Kornél Pápista), piano (Milan Aleksić), double bass (Ervin Malina) and drums (István Csík).

In recent years, we’ve been exposed to a wealth of first-class music by the Serb-Magyar violist, but there’s no question that this particular album stands out as one of the absolute tops. The amalgamation of ancient remembrance, the artless rendition of the scores and the concerted vibration push the performance at very high levels, each orchestral nuance well in sight in a tightly organized articulation. When the group departs from the written material, the ponderousness of the collective outcry links the mind with some sort of heartfelt protest, as if the musicians were telling us “we’re not just able to execute a program, we can also destroy it”.

The inherent fascination given by an East European language set inside a composite sonic texture is the veritable highlight of this record. Kinga Mezei sings words whose acoustic scent comes from her own geographic roots, including cleverly rearranged traditional tunes (as in the final “Rëza”, pure pleasure for the ears). The interest in intricate forms of instrumental action is best exemplified by a great track named “Fehéren Kél A Tél”, the group’s dynamics shifting through stylish big-band jazz, improvisational explosions occasionally characterized by a twisted sense of humor à la Zappa, and a finale with mysteriously crawling vocals appearing as a prelude to further stages that, on the contrary, remain in our imagination as the piece stops right then and there.

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