Béla Szakcsi Lakatos - from Bach to the blues
As a child, he dreamed of becoming a famous composer and a noted performer of classical music, but during his years at the conservatory, he was seduced by jazz. Following the example of his role model, Leonard Bernstein, however, he has always endeavoured in the course of his career to feel comfortable in every musical genre, which meant that he never completely moved away from classical music. In 2002, he performed Mozart's "Coronation” Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major with the Hungarian National Philharmonic, playing his own jazz improvisations in the cadenzas. He is also fond of making forays into pop and folk music. For this concert, he's putting together a programme spanning the most diverse imaginable range of genres, with improvisation taking on an important role in both parts. He'll start off by playing Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Two Pianos in C minor together with his son Róbert Szakcsi Lakatos, who shares his father's versatility as a musician. Next, the Kelemen Quartet will perform Béla Bartók's String Quartet No. 2, with Szakcsi joining in with his improvisations between the movements. The second half will bring to the stage Szakcsi Lakatos's guest Gábor Presser, who will join the pianist for some joint improvisation before they perform some of Presser's songs together, these embellished further with the vocals of Mariann Falusi.
Sons of Kemet
Founded in 2011, Sons of Kemet is one of Britain's most exciting jazz formations. They ingeniously combine Caribbean, West African and Middle Eastern music with the energy of rock, and won the Best Jazz Act award with their debut album at the MOBO Awards (Music Of Black Origin), while both of their albums to date (Burn, 2013; Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do, 2015) made it onto Gilles Peterson's Album of the Year lists. The band members of Barbadian origin are led by the saxophonist, clarinettist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, who was born in London in 1984 and previously played with the Sun Ra Arkestra, Courtney Pine, and Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics. Shabaka got his name from a Nubian pharoah, and his band is named after an ancient word for Egypt, Kemet, which means "the black land”. Sons of Kemet is nonetheless a modern band to the core and reflects the latest topics and impulses, in which the fiery saxophone themes are accompanied by the bombastic tuba of Theon Cross and a pair of drummers: Tom Skinner, a founding member of the rhythm section, and Eddie Hick, who replaced Seb Rochford earlier this year while working with a host of other line-ups, sharing the stage with - along with jazz and Afrobeat acts - singer/pianist Alicia Keys and the singer, songwriter and producer Mark Ronson. In the Festival Theatre, Shabaka Hutchings and his bandmates will also play tracks from their long-awaited third album, due for release in early 2018.
Jazzation: Christmas Limited Edition
Jazzation means both vocal world music and virtuoso jazz: exploring the boundaries of the capabilities of the human voice The possibilities are endless, also at Christmas. Now ten years old, Jazzation is Hungary's premier a cappella jazz ensemble, with five international awards, concerts both in Hungary and abroad and a continuously expanding repertoire to its name. Since forming in 2015, the group has made it their mission, in addition to cultivating a cappella singing in professional circles, to popularise the genre as widely as possible. One recent proof of their success is the audience award they won from America's Independent Music Awards for their song Beautiful Love, from their album Twisted, in 2016. Their Christmas programme will feature five-part arrangements of familiar melodies like Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride and Little Drummer Boy, as well as favourite songs from Jazzation's Christmas album: Zöld az erdő ("The Forest is Green”), Cherry Tree Carol and Hóla, inspired by the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market. The ensemble's line-up for the autumn and winter of 2017 is also a ‘limited edition' with Gina Kanizsa - a discovery at this year's Hungarian qualifiers for the Eurovision Song Contest - and Katus Várallyay, Attila Fábián and Máté Homor being joined in the quintet by the brilliant singer Cintia Horváth, who is filling in for Sára Bolyki while she studies on a scholarship at Tbilisi's music academy.