Recent Listening: Dániel Szabó, Chris Potter

Dániel Szabó Trio Meets Chris Potter, Contribution (BMC). Szabó is a 34-year-old pianist and composer with impressive academicSzabo Contribution.jpg and performance credentials and awards in Hungary and the US. One of his professors at the New England Conservatory was Bob Brookmeyer, who sent a copy of Szabó’s CD with a note strongly suggesting that his former student deserves close attention.
This album commands close attention.
Szabó’s compositions have lines with binding energy that urges forward motion, and chord structures of challenging densities, prompting Brookmeyer to refer to it as “highly evolved music.” Throughout, currents and undercurrents of Eastern European rhythms and minor harmonies inform both writing and improvisation. Szabó, bassist Mátyás Szandai and drummer Ferenc Németh previously recorded with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel in an album I have yet to hear. It seems clear that it takes musicians of Rosenwinkel’s and Potter’s virtuosity and openness to ideas to navigate in Szabó’s deep, sometimes stormy waters. Daniel Szabo.jpgConversely, it requires musicians of these three Hungarians’ advanced techniques and jazz sensibilties to hold their own with Potter, a soloist of daunting power, swing and imagination. His work is riveting on tenor and soprano saxophones, and bass clarinet in the nostalgic piece called “Melodic.” Szabós piano playing, founded in post-Bill Evans harmony and dynamics, is of a piece with the advanced concepts of his writing. His exchanges and counterpoint with Potter are natural, unforced.
This album was recorded in Budapest. Potter’s domestic ties to Hungary seem to take him there frequently. If that means we may expect further collaboration between him and the Szabó trio, so much the better. This is, indeed, highly evolved–and highly satisfying–music. Here are Szabó, Szandai, Németh and Potter at their CD release party in an extended version of “Attack of the Intervals,” the first piece on the album.

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  1. Gary Chapman says

    Boy, there’s an eight minute whiff of nice, fresh air. Advanced harmonic terrain, no-nonsense delivery, expertly played.

  2. says

    Wow! Thanks for posting this clip.
    I had heard that Chris bought a new-old horn last year, an early Mark Six. I wondered how he would sound on it, compared to the silver SBA tenor we have heard him play for so long.
    It seems to be working for him just fine!

  3. says

    You’ve done it again, introduced me to another exciting new name (to me anyway) with the plus of a YouTube film with good sound. An album to get I think.
    After seeing this I found a fine Trio album “At the moment” by Szabo on which he plays standards plus originals by Corea, Henderson, Monk and Miles. Nice.
    Thanks again.

  4. David Bőhm says

    Thanks for paying attention to Dan Szabo and to the Hungarian jazz. well deserved!