Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ferenc Nemeth: Triumph

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

The cover of Ferenc Nemeth’s third album as a leader depicts Hungary’s leading jazz percussionist juggling 13 drumsticks, all suspended in midair, a fitting image for this vertiginous collection of polyrhythms and odd time signatures composed entirely by Nemeth. With a woodwind sextet playing backgrounds, Joshua Redman, Kenny Werner and Lionel Loueke come dressed for the party, which is certainly more classically influenced than they’re used to.

Nemeth comes from a classical background, having studied at Richter János Conservatory and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Hungary before building his jazz chops at Berklee, where he met Nicolas Sorin, who arranged the woodwind parts, and Loueke, with whom he later formed the multicultural trio Gilfema. (Closing track “Hope II” removes any doubt that the two share a psychic connection.) Nemeth went on to do graduate work at New England Conservatory, where he clearly absorbed Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream aesthetic; he deftly bridges the gap in the musical family tree between Hungarian giants Béla Bartók and Franz Liszt and Elvin Jones at his most free-floating.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published