Jeno Somlai | Let It Go

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United States - Wisconsin

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Latin: Latin Jazz Latin: Cuban Moods: Featuring Drums
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Let It Go

by Jeno Somlai

Latin/Jazz group heavily influnced by many styles in the Afro-Cuban/Latin genre.
Genre: Latin: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Golden Lady
8:06 $0.99
2. Se Le Ve
4:57 $0.99
3. Let It Go
6:56 $0.99
4. One By One
7:00 $0.99
5. Libby
9:34 $0.99
6. Go East
4:07 $0.99
7. Have You Met Miss Jones
5:35 $0.99
8. J.A.S.
11:18 $0.99
9. Dejalo Ir
3:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Jeno Somlai began playing drums at the age of 2 and started his professional music career at the age of 13. After nearly 15 years playing percussion, Jeno became interested in piano and has been studying with Mark Davis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ever since. His current project, Let It Go, is influenced heavily by many different styles in the Afro-Cuban genre. Let It Go is his debut CD, featuring Jeno on both percussion and piano and musicians from both the Midwest and East Coast.



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Jazz Review

I can think of no better preparation for a Jazz pianist than the study of Drums, after all piano is a percussion instrument. Drummer Jeno Somlai began seriously studying the piano 4 years ago and says, “ I do not consider myself a pianist, rather a percussionist who is studying an instrument that has opened my ears to an entirely new path.” He shares his discoveries with us in his first independent release. “Let it Go”

Everything about this CD is striking; from the tasteful cover art, to the arrangements which are sharp and on the money. It also brings us to another of Jeno Somlai’s artistic pillars- the study of Meditation, a gift of his Hungarian parents who became Buddhists at a young age and raised Jeno in a household where present moment and awareness were valued. What could be more important for an improviser than the ability to focus, to let go of thoughts and everything that interferes with the flow of creative passion?

Jeno received a drum set when he was 2 years old, which started the first leg of his journey. Later a hearing of Coltrane’s “ A Love Supreme” made him a devotee of a churchless sect, those who upon hearing the message of Ondaneruth realized there was a whole undiscovered world of meaning and mystery to be explored and understood. After receiving his first degree in percussion his next discovery was Latin Jazz and the complexities of African based rhythms. This door was opened by Puerto Rican Percussionist Luis Diaz and by Jeno’s other great influence- El Maestro Eddie Palmieri who plays the piano within a definite percussive matrix. And then came Somlai’s next enlightenment- that the harmonic and melodic possibilities of the piano could more fully express his true voice and thus he began 4 years ago to study piano and to create the vital and necessary music of “Let It Go”.

He attributes the title to being both about meditation and an experience with Luis Diaz, in which he was advised when soloing to “Let It Go”, to play from his heart without mental analysis. His working sextet includes Doug Ebert on bass, Robert Figueroa on congas, Dave Bayles on drums, Jamie Breiwick on trumpet and Scott Van Domelen on tenor sax all of which are playing at a very high level. Jeno performs on both piano and drums and includes many guest musicians all from the Milwaukee area. The material includes Jeno’s originals and creative arrangements of Stevie Wonder’s “ Golden Lady”, Wayne Shorter’s “ One by One”, the classic “Have You Met Miss Jones” and “ Se La Ve” by Angel Maldonado. The musical grooves range from burning Samba to Afro-Cuban to swinging Straight Ahead- East Coast Style. It is beautifully recorded and is a CD you can hang out with and groove with. How he managed this while being a stay at home Dad with three young children, continuing his Buddhist studies and going to University for yet another musical degree is a testament to the solid foundation he has based his life on. After all we can only play what we are. In the music of Jeno Somlai you hear a strong soul, a burgeoning talent and basic goodness and love of life. You also hear, skill, study, discipline and high standards. All from a guy who can “ Let it Go”.

This CD is available on CD Baby and is highly recommended for Jazz and Latin fans alike. Check out what’s cooking in Milwaukee, you will be surprised.

Artist's Website:

Reviewed by: Turiya Mareya

Dan McClenaghan

Let It Go
Jeno Somlai | Self Published

Jeno Somlai approaches the keyboard with a percussionist's sensibility—rhythm, rhythm, rhythm—here on his debut disc, Let It Go. That's not a surprise, given that the Milwaukee-based musician is primarily a drummer who took up the piano just four years ago. The disc opens with Stevie Wonder's ”Golden Lady,” sounding sort of like Art Blakey's arrangement for “A Night in Tunisia.” The song churns along for eight minutes of hard-driving Latin grooves, lots of percussion and a percussive piano—Somlai's—behind tenor sax and trumpet. At one point, about six minutes into the tune, the group goes into a percussion-only mode, a rolling, rollicking, rumbing knockabout, reminding me of Hugh Masekela's touring band, when everybody pushes their primary instrument aside and gets into the beat.

It's an infectious sound, and the opener sets the tone, though there are a couple of more mainstream tunes: “Libby,” apparently the first song Somlai wrote, after getting into keyboards—and it has a wonderful, lovely melody; and the title tune, with the leader working some darker tones on the Fender Rhodes.

“Se Le Ve” drives hard, congas and clave bubbling along on a rolling boil behind the bright horn work; and on “Have You Met Miss Jones” (Rodgers and Hart), Somlai's drums and Robert Figueroa's congas present a smooth, cool, burbling flow of rhythm. Wayne Shorter's “One By One” features congas, timbales, bongos, drums, and Somlai—very focused, not over-reaching, bringing a perussive shine to the sound with his relatively simple rhythmic piano mode.

Visit Jeno Somlai on the web at

~ Dan McClenaghan