Hungarian Folk Music with American Free-Jazz

Publicated on: July 4, 2013

World famous Hungarian jazz saxophonist Mihály Dresch and dulcimer artist Miklós Lukács played together in New York and Washington to merge elements of traditional Hungarian folk with the American free-jazz tradition.

Their concerts in New York and on the National Mall and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington on July 3, 2013 provided a truly unique experience for audience. The concerts provided a glimpse of today's exciting Hungarian music scene.

Where do you find all that jazz other than the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC? At the Budapest Jazz Club, the Columbus Jazz Club and the Jazz Garden in Hungary, for example.

Whether jazz, folk, rock, techno or classic – Hungary has all the tunes a demanding ear desires. Let us show you some places you can hear Magyar performers.

Everybody has heard about the Opera House in Budapest that shows all major European operas (including Hungarian ones of course), features grand classical concerts and shows beautiful ballets (www.opera.hu). Its building is a masterpiece as well. You cannot go wrong with the Palace of Arts either. Next to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art it is the home of the Bartók National Concert Hall, bringing the world's top artists to your ears (www.mupa.hu), whether it's classical, world music or jazz.

For those who like things electronic, Balaton Sound is the place to go - lie back in a comfy hammock at the lakeshore beach and enjoy the pumping music (www.sziget.hu/balatonsound)! A more underground contestant in the category of electronic music festivals is Ozora, a Goa festival www.ozorafestival.eu. Rock fans head to the Hegyalja Fesztival each year. It takes place in Tokaj, one of the wine-growing regions of Hungary (www.facebook.com/hegyaljafesztival)! You may enjoy Tokaj wine and cooling fröccs on the National Mall in the Tokaj Tavern this summer during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Called ‘one of the best drummers around' by Pat Metheny, Elemér Balázs is one to watch out for by all Jazz-lovers. NEO, Irie Maffia, Anima Sound System, Zagar – several Hungarian bands have made it to international recognition. They are frequent guests at the ship turned into a concert hall called A38, voted best club by Lonely Planet!

MIHÁLY DRESCH is a Hungarian saxophone player and one of the most interesting jazz and folk musicians on the current Budapest scene. He merges American free-jazz tradition with elements of traditional Hungarian folk. Dresch was studying to become an engineer when he turned to jazz. In his first quartet (Dresch Quartet founded in 1984) as leader, the legacy of John Coltrane's music can be recognized as one of the main sources of inspiration. The recent lineup (István Baló - drums, Ferenc Kovács - violin, Miklós Lukács - dulcimer, Mátyás Szandai - double bass) has existed since 1998. Over the years Dresch and his musicians have played and recorded with such artists as John Tchicai, Archie Shepp, Roscoe Mitchell, Chico Freeman, David Murray, Hamid Drake and Dewey Redman. Dresch has performed at jazz festivals worldwide and was named 'Hungarian Jazz Musician of the Year' in 2005.

MIKLÓS LUKÁCS is one of the most well-known and many-sided cimbalom players today. His unique style is inspired by contemporary classical music, roots music from his native Hungary as well as the Balkans and jazz. He has played together with world-famous jazz performers as Charles Lloyd, Archie Shepp, Chris Potter, Steve Coleman, Herbie Mann, Uri Caine and Chico Freeman. Presenting the works of Péter Eötvös composed for dulcimer Lukács has played solo in several renowned orchestras (Orhestre de la Suisse Romande, the BBC Symphony Orhestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra). Respectable stages around the world welcomed Lukács and he also performed at several jazz festivals. Apart from playing in various Hungarian ensembles, he set up a quintet of his own in 2006: the Lukács Miklós Quintet has featured as an exciting and unique voice in the world of jazz ever since.

The musical relationship of Mihály Dresch and Miklós Lukács started 9 years ago with the Dresch Quartet. Besides the Quartet they have regularly performed together as a duo for many years. They’ve been working together in unison, with mutual respect and appreciation, as well as attention to each other. Their performance highlights mostly the compositions of Dresch as well as folk music and jazz standards. Their unique and inspiring music can be listened to their new 2013 record of Labyrinth (Labirintus). They perform with Chris Potter in New York on July 1, 2013 while Dresch and Lukács perform in Washington, D.C. on July 3, 2013.

Time: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Venue: National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 1000 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530

Open to public, seating is on a first come, first served basis

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