September 2006

György Szabados & Vladimir Tarasov
at the Guelph Jazz Festival
September 9, 2006River Run Centre Guelph
Astounding Pre-eminence
by Paul J. Youngman with photos by Roger Humbert
Gyorgy Szabados, who is considered the founding father of free jazz in Hungary, accompanied by Vladimir Tarasov, a master percussionist, brought their combined and magnificent talent to bear down on the free thinkers of Guelph in a North American première performance.

Tonight for approximately two hours, Szabados would prove to be the perfect accompanist to Tarasov in an ever-evolving exploration of non-stop percussive prodding. The two masters would create a symphony of sound, simulating strings, horns and a truly outstanding percussion section.

There was never a doubt that Szabados could lead and propel the orchestra of two in another direction if desired. The sound score that developed was one of the pianist adding wondrous effect, melody and precipitous rhythms that were all just to the rear of the mix. Szabados played off the amazing tones and colours that Tarasov created. Flashes of an amazing dexterity saw him run the keyboard from high to low with right hand crossing left hand followed by massive chords and dynamic effects. Then, a sudden silence, augmented by Szabados reaching into the piano and strumming the strings as if playing a harp.

Tarasov created a fascinating, multi-textured percussive tapestry. Tuning his drums to specific notes, he would play polyrythmically. He incorporated a kettledrum into his basic kit; he would play it to wonderful effect. The drums sustain was allowed to carry on and set up a cymbal roll that was very bright and lively, or a Chinese cymbal attack would add another dimension to his cymbal performance.

György Szabados

Vladimir Tarasov
All manner of percussive effects were employed — bells, ball bearings vibrating on drumheads, a gourd that he would strike to create an oscillating metal and water vibrato. He would add masterful rim shots and solo on tuned wood blocks to fantastic dynamic accent. Throughout the performance a combination of mallet and stick, stick and brush, brushes, sticks and bare hands were utilized to create a prodigious percussive environ.

The blending of the various sounds Tarasov created was exhilarating for anyone who has ever attempted to apply stick to skin. A free-spirited, intense percussion clinic. What a delight! I was in drummer’s paradise.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report
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