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Tommy Vig | Welcome to Hungary!

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Jazz: Modern Big Band Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Welcome to Hungary!

by Tommy Vig

This piano-less/guitar-less '"real jazz" offering has the American Big Band Sound featuring David Murray on saxaphone, Tommy Vig on vibraphone, and two very Hungarian instruments: the tarogato and the cimbalom.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sahara
9:44 album only
2. Buddy and Solita
5:04 album only
3. Now Is The Time In Hungary!
6:31 album only
4. Rise and Shine
5:11 album only
5. In Memory of Dizzy
9:25 album only
6. In Memory of Monk
2:46 album only
7. Only You
3:52 album only
8. Vig Corn
3:21 album only


Album Notes

This "real jazz" offering is dedicated to the future of the Free World, our Western Civilization, and specifically to the friendship between Hungary and the United States of America. It has the American Big Band Sound, but also features two very Hungarian instruments: the tarogato and the cimbalom.

Lots of heart-felt thanks to the top-class Hungarian musicians who helped me with this CD project, first among them the great saxophonist and band leader Istvan Elek (of the Budapest Jazz Orchestra: the best big band in Hungary), and his (and my) right hand man in this project, Ferenc Schreck, whose trombone playing is absolutely world-class.

David Murray, who plays all the tenor sax solos on this CD was beautiful. He understood my music and gave me exactly what I had asked him for.

The tarogato playing of Balazs Csderta is clearly superb, (you hear him playing most of the lead melodies on ALL songs), and so is the cimbalom playing of Award Winning Rozsa Farkas (she too plays on virtually all numbers in this piano-less/guitar-less recording).

The rest of the excellent players include the internationally famous Bela Szaloky on trombone and flugel horn, Akos Tompa (lead) and Janos Hamori on trumpets, the exceptional tuba player Peter Kovacs, and Balazs Nagy and Arpad Dennert on saxes.

All arrangements, compositions, orchestrations, conducting, vibraphone playing and the entire rhythm section is by yours truly.

I am dedicating my drumming in this recording to Sam Ulano, my erstwhile teacher, New York 1957, to the late Jim Chapin, whose book I studied then, including its last page...to the best Hungarian jazz drummer of all time: the late Gyula Kovacs, and my friend, the late Shelly Manne, the musician with the greatest sense of humor I have ever known, and that is saying a lot...



to write a review

Jazz Podium Magazine, Germany, Oct 2011

Excellent arrangements and vibe playing by Vig !


Clear, modern, masterfully arranged futuristic music

Ron Spain, The Australian Jazz Scene

Excellent musicians, featured soloists, and compositional strength!
This is very modern music of a high standard that requires, even deserves, rapt attention over several plays.

Jerry D'Souza (All About Jazz)

A Gem of Big Band Swing
Vibraphonist Tommy Vig has had an interesting career. Born in Budapest, he played the drums when he was six and recorded his first album two years later. Music was his passion, but the political landscape in Hungary was to cast a shadow on his days as a jazz musician. Jazz was banned in 1949, and Vig could not play it again until 1956. With the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution, Vig decided that it was time to move on. Move he did, through the minefields of Russia and into Austria. He later went to New York and the Juilliard School of Music, but not before he had played with keyboardist Joe Zawinul. But his moving days were not over; he left New York for Hollywood, and then Las Vegas, and it was in those cities that he found the nail to his career as he established himself playing with Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass and Rod Stewart, among others.

Vig pursues the "Big Band American Sound" on Welcome to Hungary!, but goes for an interesting trajectory with the inclusion of saxophonist David Murray—whose free styles permutations energize the music—and two Hungarian instruments, the cimbalom and the tárogató. It all works well with the tasteful arrangements enriched by the musicians.

Murray and Vig state the theme of "Sahara" with tenor saxophone and vibraphone, respectively; both in melodic consonance. Murray angles out, changing the tempo and intensity of his notes in a virtuoso performance. The advent of the orchestra moves the composition into a swing time that Murray embraces with robust verve. The assimilation is seamless, and the soulful power absorbing.

"Vig Corn," based on a Hungarian folk melody, has an incipient beauty framed by Balazs Cserta on tárogató, accompanied by Rózsa Farkas on cimbalom. The mood explodes in a dazzling array of swirling melodic lines that quickly gravitate into swing. The concept makes for a lively outing and, with Cserta and Farkas adding intonations, this turns out to be most delectable of the set.

Another side of Vig's creativity comes through his solo on "Rise and Shine," where he probes the dynamics of his instrument with crystalline runs and an artful blend of harmony and melody. The orchestra dwells on the melody, and so does Murray, in what turns out to be another gem of big band swing.

The five bonus tracks feature a slimmer band that is spearheaded by the brass. This is a tight outfit, sure in its focus and approach that sees it melding composition and freedom with finesse. This trait is strong on "I Told You," where the melody's arc is pricked by the horns. Two ballads, expressively sung in Hungarian with feeling by Mia Kim, come in quite a different mode.

The accompanying booklet has information on the recording, and Vig's often acerbic views on music and politics make for entertaining reading.

Steve Voce of the Jazz Journal, England

The Tommy Vig arrangements are . . .
. . . very powerful !



Dustin Garlitz

Bags and Trane collaboration for the 21st century.
The Tommy Vig Orchestra 2012, featuring David Murray: Welcome to Hungary !

Tommy Vig and David Murray are the real deal! Welcome to Hungary ! is a Bags and Trane collaboration configured for the 21st century. Tommy Vig’s Orchestra is truly outstanding on all fronts, and his arrangements are, of course, nothing less than top-notch. The highlight of the album is the constant interaction and interplay of Tommy Vig’s vibes and David Murray’s halting tenor saxophone. David Murray is the true heir to the late John Coltrane’s avant-garde tenor saxophone technique and concept, and Tommy Vig is mindful of his playing up and down the horn throughout the entire album. He has composed and arranged precisely to suite his guest soloist’s ecstatic tenor saxophone playing. David Murray’s non-stop stretches up-and-down the tenor saxophone are completely synchronized with Tommy Vig’s Orchestra. Tommy Vig's arrangements are incredibly tight; you can feel the band’s pulse throughout each track of the album, with each instrumentalists being completely in-line with the other. David Murray’s extended technique provides a harmony-in-itself, and Tommy Vig realizes the full effects of this, hence the need for his Orchestra to provide a more focused energy that would give Murray the space to stretch out. Murray plays the tenor saxophone with Tommy Vig’s Orchestra in the same spirit as tenor-man John Gilmore did with the Sun Ra Arkestra during the golden age of jazz.

Dustin Garlitz - October 2011


Tommy Vig and David Murray know what they are doing
Those whose views of big-band jazz lean toward the more adventurous may wish to scrutinize the Vig / Murray alliance for themselves.

Dr. János Gregorits (JAZZMA.HU Magazine)



Not a single weak track!
The liner notes of Tommy Vig's Welcome to Hungary certainly create an interesting first impression. The booklet is essentially an extended rant by Vig that touches on everything from politics to aesthetics to metaphysics. If nothing else, the reader understands that Vig despises multinational corporations, rock music, fusion, and especially the Beatles.
The music is almost as enigmatic as the liner notes, but thankfully much more focused. Indeed, Tommy Vig has created an original, strangely intuitive, and ultimately satisfying big band. This music is avant garde, and dissonance is integral to their vision. That said, Vig's pieces are about as catchy as avant garde big bands could conceivably be. Fast unison parts are balanced with clear melodies, and rounded out with explorative soloing and inventive charts.
Tommy Vig and saxophonist David Murray work well together, and the sensitive interaction between the two players lends a sense of direction to the proceedings. Many songs feature extensive parts in which these two artists are featured without the rest of the band. Murray's solos retain their challenging nature but never sound grating in the context of Vig's more atmospheric vibraphone playing.
Given how adventurous this music is, the horn charts sometimes sound surprisingly old-fashioned. Many of the tunes are based off of a swinging riff, recalling the classic swing bands of Benny Goodman and Count Basie. But this is just a starting point, as Vig and Murray explore each song with thoroughly modern harmony. And this is not just limited to the solos—the developmental sections of each song are as difficult and demanding as 20th century classical music, while remaining firmly in a jazz aesthetic.
Highlights of the set include the lengthy and cerebral "Sahara" and the Thelonious Monk tribute "In Memory of Monk." The latter song seems particularly suited to this record, as Vig and Thelonious Monk each share an idiosyncratic, dissonant, and yet curiously catchy musical vision. Every song on this recording has something to offer, and there is not a single weak track.
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Despite its cranky eccentricities, this is worth seeking out. It is an original, swinging and well conceived and well executed effort.
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