I’ll say it straight-off. Szilard Mezei is one of the most interesting jazz composer-instrumentalist-bandleaders active in Europe today. If you don’t know of him much, it’s because his releases do not shout out their existence, exactly. They are mostly small quantity albums on important but hardly mass-marketed avant jazz boutique labels, which I often favor–as of course regular readers know. A near-perfect example of the sort of release I speak of is his new one on No Business, a fine label out of Lithuania. This one is an LP pressed in only 300 copies, Szilard Mezei Tubass Quartet’s Canons – Second Hosting (No Business NBLP 56). This one may not jump out at you right away. That’s probably in part due to the very unusual instrumentation: Szilard and three others on contrabass and a tuba player!
The sound is dark and burnished. The improvisation out front, the compositional motives typical Mezei in that they bear his autographic stamp–the way of irregular phrasing, repositioning tonal commonplaces so that they become unusual. This may not be one to start with if you want to know about his music. My blogs cover a good number of those so search here and on the Gapplegate Guitar blog and you’ll find others. But there nonetheless is the characteristic daring presence on this one that makes Szilard an artist to listen to closely. —Grego Applegate Edwards Continue reading