Lakatos, Live from Budapest

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: DG
PERFORMER: Roby Lakatos, László Bóni (vn), Ernest Bangó (g), Kálmán Cséki (p), Oszkár Németh (b)
CATALOGUE NO: 459 642-2

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In the Thirties, Django Reinhardt showed just how close the camp fire extemporisations of a Manouche gypsy guitarist were to jazz improvisation within the context of the Quintette du Hot Club de France.

The group stood out because its jazz was so quintessentially European at a time when everyone else’s was so quintessentially American, suggesting that jazz could have a strong European component without sacrificing the elements that made it compelling and subversive.

While Lakatos inhabits the twilight zone between European folk music, classical and jazz, it succeeds in showing the close interrelationship between all three, suggesting a continuation of the gypsy tradition that looks back to both Reinhardt and the flavours that coloured the music of a Haydn, a Liszt or a Ravel through the playing of virtuoso Roby Lakatos, whose improvising impulses were greatly admired by the late Stéphane Grappelli.

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The Dresch Quartet represents just a small touch on the tiller to bring these elements more directly into the forum of jazz. Kovács connects with the tradition established by Grappelli, and the unequivocal emotional directness of the leader reveals that what the Quintette du Hot Club began is by no means finished. Stuart Nicholson