Musicians: Agi Szaloki
with: József Balázs - piano Dávid Lamm - guitar Kristóf Bacsó - tenor saxophone András Dés - percussion József Barcza Horváth - double bass, bass guitar
On the 21st January 2006 'Hallgato, Lament' won the 'Best Jazz Album Of The Year' award from the
Golden Fonogram – Hungarian Music Awards.
A mellow jazz sound from traditional folk songs.
Agi Szaloki has one of the most distinctive and beautiful voices to emerge from Hungary in recent times.
This album is of folk songs originating from Hungarian culture in Moldva
and Gyimes arranged by jazz and classical musicians who have close ties to Hungarian traditional music.
Their goal was to play these songs in their own way not tradition preserving and not following fashion.
They feel their music is ‘a round world that has soul, beat, and captivates the audience with its pure clearness’.
From record label:
"Ági Szalóki’s jazz line-up was formed for the recording of her second solo album ‘Lament’ in the spring of 2005, when she invited young jazz musicians to provide the accompaniment to some of her favourite folk songs. A particular harmony was rapidly established during the recording sessions and the result is an elegiac album on which the folk melodies are enriched with the subtle and colourful tint of jazz.
Ági’s beautiful voice and sensitive singing is perfectly complemented by the inventive instrumental playing and characteristic improvisations of the musicians, and whenever the band perform live, either in clubs or on festival stages, they always create an intimate atmosphere and elicit an emotional response from the audience.
The versatile young vocalist has already been discovered by many fellow artists. Her jazz credentials are well demonstrated by her work with world famous pianist Béla Szakcsi Lakatos in his Hungarian Gypsy Show, first performed in May 2005, and her contribution to the
Balázs Elemér Group’s 2005 release ‘Hungarian Folksongs’. On the other hand she has received world-wide exposure through her long association with
Ökrös Ensemble performing Hungarian traditional music, and her performances with world music band
Besh o droM. Other highlights of her career thus far include singing on
Makám’s ‘Anzix’ album and her performances with Nikola
Parov. Her invitation as vocalist to the February 2006 performance of “Stars, stars…” at the Palace of Arts, Budapest – a gala celebration of the life of Bartók featuring traditional, jazz and classical music stars – is an indication of her growing stature within Hungarian music. Ági’s debut CD ‘Winter-Summer Orache’ was released in 2004, primarily for the ears of children. On her latest album ‘Lament’
Ági reaches out to a more mature audience – two Sándor Kányádi poems set to traditional melodies and a Gypsy tune join folk songs from Transylvania, Gyimes and Moldavia, some of the most interesting and valuable repositories of ancient Hungarian culture. These are age-old tales of love and loss, joy and sorrow, happiness and grief, prime examples of the oral tradition that have been passed down from generation to generation. The arrangements, however, are modern collaborations between
Ági and the classically trained jazz musicians accompanying her – they are all open to contemporary influences and are not afraid to take chances. In their new environment these lyrics are revitalized, imbued with relevance for a world wide audience in the 21st century. The musicians play these songs in their own way, experimenting freely, and Ági sings from the heart, beautifully as always, with great dignity and sensitivity.
This ‘folk-jazz’ may be regarded as crossover, a fresh breeze blown by innovative young musicians, but it retains a simplicity and purity, the heartfelt purity of the Hungarian soul."
"Szalóki Ági is one of the most excellent talents of the younger generation of singers. She has really become ripe for an album where she can demonstrate her versatile personality to her audience. Not only is her voice beautiful but her style of performance is totally sovereign. Her scale ranges from intimacy to soul-fracturing passion. Besides, I don’t know any other singer on the Hungarian musical scene who sings both folk songs and improvised contemporary music with such familiarity.
It can be seen already from the list of the featured artists that the content of the CD is not an every-day delicacy for the fans of either jazz, folk or world music.
Gábor Juhász, Dávid Lamm, József Balázs and the others are all the best of the young jazz generation, who prepared with great effort to create this harmony and sound. Something has been born that has never been before. And this is the result of a bright conceptual collaboration. I highly recommend this record and with love, because it really deserves it. László Dés
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1. Napszállatja, napnyugta - Sunset Of Rust, It Is Dusk
2. Te merel e luma
3. Elrepült a vándormadár... - The Nigrant Bird Has Flown Away To The East
4. Mi lennék? - What Would I Be?
5. Kit a bánat elért... - Whoever’s Touched By Grief...
6. Végigmentem, végigmentem... - I made My Way, I Made My Way
7. Kinek van, kinek nincs... - Some Have None, But For Some C Courtyard Well Awaits
8. Diófának három ága... - Three Branches On The Walnut Tree
9. Kövecses út szélén... - Beside The Stony Road
10. Magyarózdi toronyalja - The Magyarózd Tower I See
11. Napszállatja, napnyugta - Sunset Of Rust, It Is dusk
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5 stars = Essential
It is difficult to think of any other word to describe this than "masterpiece". The vocals are
absolutely extraordinary and moving. A couple of complaints: the jazz solos don't always relate directly to the songs, and there are a couple of unnecessary tracks towards the end which makes the album slightly outstay its welcome. But these are small gripes in the context of a very moving album.