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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Viktor Toth - Climbing With Mountains (BMC records, 2007) ***½

Viktor Toth is a young Hungarian alto saxophonist, playing here with Hamid Drake on drums, Matyas Szandai on bass and Ferenc Kovacs on trumpet, for a free bop record which has its merits. Some of the tracks are absolutely excellent, like "Autumn In Sicily", or "Snake" with its long-spun melody full of balkan influences, or the more uptempo "Train To Sarajevo", but then at times the band falls back into some more gentle, less adventurous mainstream pieces, such as "Mese" or "R's Day". Even if the compositions leave somewhat lacking, the playing is good : Toth, Kovacs and Szandai are excellent musicians, as is of course Hamid Drake, who is as recognizable as ever, precise as clockwork, creative, supple and supportive, and especially shining in the faster pieces. Nice music, but a little too nice for my taste.

But then again, who am I, if William Parker writes these wonderful words in the liner notes : "Please drop all pretensions and let these sounds dance in your souls, stirring things up to take you to the top of the mountain".

Listen to
Message For Fishes
Ornette's Smile