The death of legendary clarinettist and bandleader Sándor Benkó in 2015 cast doubt on the fate of the Benkó Dixieland Band, the still extraordinarily popular ensemble that he had founded in 1957. The musicians stayed together and soon enough recast themselves as the Dixie Kings of Hungary. Their arranger and the key to their style is trombonist/vocalist Iván Nagy, who travelled the world with Benkó's ensemble for four decades - making him the last active musician from the old generation. S...ince June of this year, the band has again been performing concerts under their original name.
The ensemble's repertoire has been expanding dramatically recently. Here in Hungary - precisely because of the extreme popularity of the Benkó Dixieland Band - many people have come to believe over the decades that Dixieland is the core genre of traditional jazz, a sort of umbrella term. In actual fact, Dixieland is a popular form of entertaining music that in the United States is chiefly played by amateur musicians, which was introduced to Europe by way of Britain. At least as important are swing, the hot jazz of the '20s and '30s, and the manouche swing developed by Western European Sinti Romani musicians. Nagy has long been fond of the jazz dance music of the '50s and '60s, which he has arranged to adapt it to the swing style. This means that the band's repertoire today extends from the genre's roots in the New Orleans of the early 1900s all the way to the 1960s. After performing weekly club concerts at the Pince Theatre and making a few appearances around Hungary, the renewed Benkó Dixieland Band are now returning to Müpa Budapest as part of its Winter Open Air Advent programme.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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