Jazz-World fusions abound, but in general, the musicians that create this music play instruments that have already been integrated into the jazz “sound.” What is less common is to find musicians who play what the Jazz Journalists Association’s Howard Mandel would dub “Instruments rare to jazz.”
L’ubomir Gašpar (Slovakia) plays the Cimbal, a kind of very large hammered dulcimer, and although I have heard other cimbal players working with jazz, I think he comes the closest to capturing the spirit, rhythms and tonalities of the idiom. The song presented here is called “Jewish Wedding” and one can hear from the head how it could easily be a part of a traditional klezmer repertoire, but the band takes full advantage of its syncopations and chromatic scales, and rips through them with obvious pleasure. This is pretty straight-ahead stuff and I’d like to see the players really take it out, but hey, that’s just my call.
L’ubomir Gašpar’s Cimbal Project is comprised of three other players, who have all studied jazz formally:
Jakub Tököly on Piano, Peter “Kozmo” Korman on double bass, and Kristián Kuruc on drums. Gašpar himself comes from a folk music dynasty, and has studied classically. The ensemble has been winning awards since its inception.
This video was shot at the Crossroads Festival, an event that precedes the mammoth Colours of Ostrava Festival in Ostrava Czech Republic. Both events take place on the extensive grounds of the Dolni Vitkovice, a combination steel mill and coal mine that has been refurbished into a public cultural space. The Crossroads Festival runs for two days of conferences and performances, and focuses on the music of Czech republic and its environs: Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, etc. and is a way for music professionals to get acquainted with the broad range of musical talent coming out of the area.
I would like to thank Ondřej Horsák and Jiří Tomášek for volunteering to man the second and third camcorders on a moment’s notice, and Petr Janoš for his quick board mixes of the show.
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