The Jon Hemmersam / Szilárd Mezei Quartet

Review

Featuring Jon Hemmersam on acoustic guitar, Szilard Mezei on viola, Ervin Malina on double bass and Istvan Csik on drums. Serbian violist Szilard Mezei is usually prolific with more than a dozen discs on different labels (Leo, Not Two, Red Toucan & Slam) of different sized ensembles. This disc features a collaboration with Denmark-based acoustic guitarist Jon Hemmersam and Mr. Mezei’s trio, whose disc on Not Two (‘Barkimor’) was a gem from 2006. This all acoustic quartet is quite extraordinary. Although Mr. Hammersam and Mr. Mezei come from different musical and geographical backgrounds, they work extremely well together. On the opening piece, “Reception” Hemmersam tosses off flourishes of super- fast lines, recalling an early John McLaughlin on ‘ My Goal’s Beyond’. Mezei also spins furious lines of intricate interaction. Instead of continuing along the same lines, the quartet slow down to more restrained but no less interesting interplay. The rhythm team is also splendid and does a great job of providing support and navigating the various rapids which the guitar and viola sail and soar away upon. Hemmersam and Mezei often sound like kindred spirits or old friends as they seem to anticipate each other’s lines and complete each other’s sentences mid-stream. There are moments when you can hear Hemmersam’s background in jazz as he makes references to a few standards with the rest of the quartet swinging along side. From another perspective, Mezei occasionally dips into a few eastern European folks melodies, using them only a fragmentary fashion. Much of the time I was left sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for which surprises the quartet had up their sleeves. Great to hear some mind-blowing acoustic music for a change. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery



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