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Szilárd Mezei Quintet - As You

Andrew Choate, Signal To Noise

The quintet on As You keeps Mezei’s working trio intact and replaces the piano and reeds from Cerkno with Albert Márkos’ cello and the tuba of Kornél Pápista.

There are three long improvisations on this disc, compared with the eleven cuts on Cerkno, and indeed the band stretches into freer jazz territory here. Individual contributions are given more weight, while the density of three strings of Mezei fire off at each other in a similar vein to the Revolutionary Ensemble’s ESP recordings.

One of the real treats on this album comes from the contributions by Pápista. The bassy brass makes the band sound huge when played against the stormy, circling attacks of all the bowed strings on “Rain, Rain, Rain.” As You presents the band more informally than the Leo disc, which is somewhat surprising since it’s a studio recording. But over the course of those two days in March of 2007, in a studio in Novi Sad, Serbia, each instrumentalist was superbly honed in on setting the others’ improvisations alight, all the while considering and bolstering the themes and forms of each song. Mezei’s instrumental and compositional voice is so distinctive that even though these discs marks just his second and third major releases, you can already hear the beginnings of a principal jazz talent beginning to blend the musics of his Hungary into the world of jazz.