Gyorgy Szabados (Hungary):
György Szabados - p
Hungarian pianist and composer György Szabados (b. 1939 in Budapest) is often dubbed father of Hungarian free jazz. He started performing in 1962, but his rise to fame kicked off in 1972 when his quintet won Grand Prix in the free jazz category at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival (Spain).
His first album Wedding, recorded with a quartet in 1975, was well received in Hungary and abroad. The album was included in volume 2 of The Essential Jazz Records (USA).
Having established Kassák Workshop for Contemporary Music, Szabados made an imprint in Hungarian jazz history. The Workshop educated a new generation of jazz musicians with distinct Hungarian sound. In addition, Maestro formed MAKUTZ, an orchestra uniting excellent musicians – enthusiasts of improvised music.
Szabados collaborated with many a free jazz legend. In 1980, together with Anthony Braxton, the luminary of experimental jazz, he recorded Szabraxtondos. The Hungarian pianist also teamed up with Roscoe Mitchell, the giant of free jazz, in their album Jelenes (1998). In 2005, his discography of more than ten albums was enriched with a live recording of Triotone featuring Anthony Braxton and Vladimir Tarasov.
Szabados’ work and thinking is rooted in Hungarian culture. Large part of his music is influenced by Hungarian folk music, mainly from Transylvania. Apart from direct folk associations, Szabados’ music was to a great extent mediated through the work of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881-1945), who pioneered the reintegration of folk tradition in classical music.
Hungarian references are obvious in many of Szabados’ albums. His Adyton (1983) was inspired by Hungarian poet Endre Ady, whereas his 1989 album A szarvassá vált fiak (Sons That Became Deer) was prompted by the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In 2001, his Az ido múlása (Time Flies) was voted Record of the Year.
In Hungary, the pianist has earned Ferencz Liszt, Anna Neufeld and Artisjus awards.