THINGS featuring TONY LAKATOS - Blues for the last punk - CD jp 1026

Tony Lakatos Saxophone
Attila László Guitar
Zoltán Csanyi Keyboards
Béla Lattmann Bass
János Solti Drums
Kornél Horváth Percussion

Titles: My Village, Samblator, Decameron, Chistmas under the Palms, Brand new Wave, Martin and the Kangaroo, Green Stones, A Man and his Soul, Blues for the last Punk, Serenade, Donald Duck’s Party

Eastern Europe is moving towards the West - also musically. The International of jazz musicians has long transcended the boundaries of individual countries or systems.
It is impossible to imagine West Germany’s music scene without them, the jazzman from East Germany, Czechoslavakia, Poland, Yugoslavia - and from Hungary. Names like Attila Zoller (guitar) or Aladar Pege (bass) have the best swinging sound the world over. The established newcomer TONY LAKATOS has also made a name for himself in the past few years, especially in Toto Blanke’s and Jasper van’t Hof’s groups. Whether in clubs or at festivals, he has proved himself again and again to be a reliable partner and an exciting improviser.
Jazzpoint now presents a recording of this saxophonist playing in the Hungarian capital with five of his compatriots. Budapest is, from the point of view of style, quite close to New York (and its European offshoots): harsh rhythms, sophisticated sound, compact arrangements. At first, the sound pattern is dominated by electronics - associations with the contemporary musical ideal of Miles Davis are inevitable. But before the music declines into mechanical sterility TONY LAKATOS’  expressive saxophone comes through to set a masterly counterpoint. It is this tension between rock-rhythmic precision and musical liberty in the improvisations that makes this record so intriguing.
All the musicians know their craft. This is, of course, no wonder, considering that Hungary is the model of (early) music education in schools. Nor do they abandon their feeling for their own temperamental folk music. Incorporation, further development, fusion: this is good old blues to convince even the very last punk ...
But don’t let the title scare you, fans. BLUES FOR THE LAST PUNK is, of course, not blues but solid rock, not without an element of thoughtfulness, sometimes coming close to melancholia; sustained synthesizer notes provide a fitting contrast in mood.
Rock is the dominant factor on this record; but not the dull, monotonous thudding of steamhammers. The sextet from the Puszta are masters of the art of variety.


Thngs & Tony Lakatos - Mother Nature - CD jp 1028

Tony Lakatos Saxophone and Yamaha-WX 7
Attila László Guitar
Kalman Olah Keyboards
Béla Lattmann Bass
János Solti Drums
Kornél Horváth Percussion
Torita Quick Vocal (on ‘When you came ...’ and ‘Mother Nature’

Titles: Turn to East,  When you came ...    , Dancing Dolls, Basking Tiger, Mother Nature, .Kid Song. Good Luck, Osteria, Ballet on the Moon, Slow River

They have been making themselves scares in Germany, the jazzers and rockers from Hungary. Of course, a man like guitarist Attila Zoller is a household name on the swinging scene. But apart from him, for Germany Hungary is practically synonymous with sad gipsy tunes.
But the country striding the Danube certainly has more to offer than just puszta and paprika. There’s also a fresh wind blowing from the East where fusion music is concerned. Till now the rock-jazz sounds most often heard came from Poland. We need only to mention the excellent formation ‘Laboratorium’ as reprensentatives. Three years ago, however, Hungary appeared on the international fusion scene. BLUES FOR THE LAST PUNK CD jp 1026 was the title of a production, with which THINGS attracted some attention, and not only on account of the (deliberately) misleading title. Under the lead of TONY LAKATOS, a sextet of hitherto virtual nobodies mixed a both cheeky and original cocktail whose fizz appeared hardly surpassable.
But appearance can be deceiving, and this was no exception. With their latest recording MOTHER NATURE the Hungarians surpassed themselves. While TONY LAKATOS & CO. included unobtrusive reminiscenses of their native folklore in their first work, the current sequel is marked completely by Western influence. THINGS’ music draws its strength mainly from TONY LAKATOS’ dynamic sax lines. The bearded saxophone-player, who lives mainly in Munich and performs chiefly with local stars such as Toto Blanke, Kenny Wheeler, Michael Sagmeister; is also responsible for the compositions, together with guitarist ATTILA LÁSZLÓ, the second leader of the band.
It is easy to hear that THINGS have been working together for years. Too captivating is the filigreed transparency of the many-facetted arrangements. Their only new player is KÁLMAN OLAH (keyboard) - and with his spectacular thumping of the keys, he follows wholeheartedly in his prodecessor’s Zoltan Csanyi’s footsteps.
The brilliant rhythm group with BÉLA LATTMANN (bass), JÁNOS SOLTI (drums) and KORNÉL HORVÁTH (percussion) provides a soft, fluffy carpet, on which the three soloists can romp about to their hearts’ content. Yeah, and then there’s this lady called TORITA QUICK. THINGS are bridging the herring pond by including this American singer. In both her short takes the vocalist, still an art student in Munich, adds a light and sparkling flavor with her acrid, crystal-clear voice. But nevertheless, the Hungarian sounds do not at any time slide into the shallows. The black beauty from the States also makes visually clear how hot the sound recorded by THINGS are. While she’s prudishly wrapped in a fur coat on the front cover, TORITA QUICK presents herself on the back cover with nothing but TONY LAKATOS’ saxophone.
That’s to say: The Hungarians are puffing that stuff their dreams are made of into the West with such force that it might not only blow the people hereabouts out of their socks. Whoever claims that rock-jazzers have run out of ideas should just turn to MOTHER NATURE. In Hungary, as THINGS, TONY LAKATOS and TORITA QUICK demonstrate so impressively, all’s well in the world of music.                       (Wolfgang Blum)