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Roby Lakatos and Ensemble Ė Klezmer Karma
Ferenc JAVORI/Roby LAKATOS (b.1965)
Klezmer Suite No.1 [3:07]
Klezmer Suite No.2 [5:37]
Yiddishe Mame [7:23]
Leo FULD (1912-1997)
Glick [5:22]
Roby LAKATOS (b.1965)
A-10450 [4:16]
Empty Pictures [3:29]
Dizzy Fingers [3:50]
Klezmer Csardas [4:03]
Neshumele [4:39]
Budapest [2:38]
Ani Maamin [4:31]
Papirossen Suite [5:29]
Romania [5:10]
Yiddishe Hassene [6:41]
Hatikvah [5:10]
Roby Lakatos and Ensemble
Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
Myriam Fuks (vocals); Aldo Granato (accordion)
rec. Budapest Operetta Theatre, March 2006
AVANTICLASSIC 10242 [70:58]

Increasingly prolific Roby Lakatos here explores the affinities, cross-currents and musical symbioses of Gypsy and Jewish music. He joins with the singer and actress Myriam Fuks, to whom Lakatos pays fulsome tribute, and who was responsible for promoting the newly arrived violinist when he appeared in Brussels as a seventeen year old. Aldo Granato also plays a powerful part and his accordion playing exerts its own evocative spell. The Lakatos ensemble, now finely honed, naturally join them as does less predictably the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and its leader JŠnos Rolla.
There is a deal of variety here. Lakatos plays a poignant obbligato to Fuksís vocal on Yiddishe Mame alongside some tenser harmonic material before they edge toward an unbridled tango that suits the accordion perfectly. Tango and a certain Parisian feel warmly enclose Neshumele. And if anything demonstrates the coalescence of musics and traditions itís the Papirossen Suite, a supposedly Jewish song but one that all the gypsies and Hungarians know as their own. They play it thus as well, a kind of bipartite arrangement with Lakatos first laying on Jewish ardour, followed by a kind of bridge passage from the chamber orchestra and then a gypsy ferment to end.
One of Laktosís most impressive moments comes in his own Klezmer Suite No.2, a co-composition with Ferenc Javori and full of some burnished attaca playing. The violinistís own Empty Pictures is a wistful oasis, quiet and limpid. The jazziest track is Hatikvah, an intriguing playground for the guitarist Attila Ronto to stretch out. And Fuksís most vital vocal moments come in Budapest. Disappointment comes in the shape of funk guitar in Yiddishe Hassene, an aberration of some magnitude.
Throughout in fact I felt the chamber orchestral support merely added a tissue of refinement and not much else. And to be blunt this is not Lakatosís most inspiring moment on disc, nor that of his band, which sounds oddly subdued. The Gypsy-Jewish nexus might have proved rather more fruitful had an arranger really got to grips with the material and produced something viably alive. Treating songs episodically, gypsy-style then Jewish-style, is not really the most creative answer. Extending things to include Tango diffuses the focus still further and veers dangerously close to Piazzolla. The funk guitar is an embarrassment. No one wants to box Lakatos into a stylistic corner but here he is only variably convincing.
Jonathan Woolf


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