Lajos Dudas

Urban Blues

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Euro clarinetist Lajos Dudas has been somewhat of a legend on the underground scene in the East and West as well as an accomplished mainstream studio musician; few people enjoy distinctions in both territories. This set issued by Konnex is a reissue of two separate EPs issued in German in 1981 and 1983, respectively. The first four tracks showcase Dudas with vibist Tom Van Der Geld and bassist Ali Haurand; drummer Kurt Bilker is present on both sessions. The second set of tracks features Transylvanian guitar god Attila Zoller and bassist Bert Thompson. Both programs are comprised of Dudas' tunes, except for "Rumplestiltskin" by Zoller. What both reveal is the fact that Dudas is an intense melodist in form, whose modal surroundings, quick rhythmic changes, and angular arpeggiatic runs in and out of blues phrasing are paramount. On "Detour," he trades fours with both Van Der Geld and Haurand in the off intervals, usually ninths. On "Nightfall" and "Soft Waves," he evokes the harmonics of Monk and the melodic principles of Dolphy by creating a kind of directly balanced impressionism around modal and ostinato figures. On the later tunes with Zoller and company, Dudas employs the guitar as a foil. On the title track, he sets the tune with a sharp arpeggio and lets Zoller establish the funky, choppy vamp. He plays all around it, completely outside jazz in fact, using tonal variance, breathing tricks, and striated accents to counterpoint the riffs. Bilker is brilliant here as he rides his own accents right into Zoller's chomping chords. The set closes with "Mistral," a gorgeous ballad on which Dudas lets the spaces speak instead of his usual legato note display, and Zoller underscores him with large, open chords evoking a serenely swinging tempo. While these examples are not the finest Dudas has to offer, they are certainly welcome and provide a fine introduction to non-European listeners.

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