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Master of the Gypsy Cimbalom

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Album Review

From cimbalom player (and former Muszikás member) Kálmán Balogh, this aptly named album shows off an instrument popular in Hungarian Gypsy music but little heard otherwise. Balogh takes on Hungarian, Romanian, and Moldavian Gypsy music (both modern and traditional); sad ballads; and uptempo dances. The range is remarkable, matched only by the stunning speed of Balogh's mallets on his dulcimer. For listeners coming to Balogh by way of his work with larger ensembles, the excitement may be somewhat muted, with less accompaniment and fewer full band numbers heard here. The cimbalom certainly doesn't have a sparse sound, but may seem sparse in relation to the well-known Eastern European Gypsy ensembles. The album opens with a slightly Turkish-sounding number before moving into a trio of more traditional stylings. A short Gypsy jazz interlude provides inflections of American swing, and a short bit of solfège in combination with Balogh's cimbalom hints at the musical connections with India's santoor. After a piece originally written for violin, the music takes a turn into Romanian pieces for the rest of the main album's course. Tacked onto the end, however, are two items from Kálmán Balogh "and friends," larger ensemble pieces that make use of the full ARC Records stable — Hossam Ramzy on percussion, Pablo Carcamo on bass, and Enrique Ugarte on accordion, among others. The sound is less coherent but more groove-centric, and reignites what had become a slower spell of the album. Give the ensembles (Muszikás, Taraf de Haïdouks, etc.) a shot first, but then come back to Balogh as an excellent example of a solo player.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

The musical traditions of Central and Eastern Europe are brought up to date by jazz-influenced cimbalom player Kálmán Balogh. Accompanied by his band Gypsy Jazz -- featuring trumpet player Ferenc Kovács, violinists Sandor Budai and Laszlo Major, and double bass player Csaba Novak -- Balogh creates a musical tapestry of improvisation and virtuosity. According to Songlines, Balogh "has a fantastic technique which sends his hands skating lightly across the strings or beating out relentless rhythms."...
Full bio
Master of the Gypsy Cimbalom, Kalman Balogh
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  • 95,00 kr
  • Genres: World, Music, Europe, Jazz
  • Released: 07 July 2008

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