Dig Aladar Pege

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Marc Decho, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Good Morning, any of you folks dig on any Aladar Pege ? this guy's phenomenal, Hungarian contrabassist, 1/3 traditional gypsy folk virtuoso, 1/3 classical virtuoso, 1/3 jazz head (influences Oscar Pettiford etc...) check out a disc called Virtuoso Solo Bass vol 3 if you can track it down it's out of print last I checked, punch in his name under google to learn more....here's a short 20 minute interview with the man....enjoy http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=925756
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Here's the bio excerpt I have:

    He took up double bass at the age of 15, and studied classical music at the Béla Bartók Musical Training College. He worked in dance orchestras, then in 1963 formed a jazz quartet, which performed in Yugoslavia at the Bled Jazz Festival. While attending the Franz Liszt Academy he worked in commercial recording studios, and after his graduation (1969) remained to teach double bass. He then re-formed his jazz quartet, which appeared at the Montreux International Jazz Festival (1970). Pege's prodigious technique greatly impressed audiences there. From 1975 to 1978 he lived in Berlin, where he found greater opportunities to play bop and free jazz, but he later returned to his teaching post and commercial work in Budapest. His talents became more widely known through recordings with Walter Norris (1978, 1980) and concerts with Mingus Dynasty. The latter included a performance at the Jazzyatra in Bombay (1980), which moved Mingus's widow to give Pege one of her husband's instruments. In 1982 Pege played at the Kool Jazz Festival in New York with Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. He often includes arrangements of Hungarian folksongs in his performances.
  3. infact......Amazon.com will give you a small taste of Pege's Virtuoso Solo Bass Vol 3,....he's absolutely brilliant.....I read something somewhere that says apparantely he has alot of difficulty being able to tour outside Hungary.......bummer
  4. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for that link, Marc,

    I have been an Aladar Pege fan for quite a while, but have found little substantial info on him on the web.

    My first exposure to his playing was listening to a recording of him playing in a trio with Bireli Lagrene and Al Di Miola...just a wonderful interplay of two virtuoso guitars and his astounding bass work. While he shows off his virtuosity, he never gets away from an ensemble feel that benefits the whole trio.

    I downloaded the tracks in theose early, balmy days of file-sharing, but have not been able to track down a CD copy to buy. I think it may well have been a bootleg, judging from the recording quality, but it's such a great performance that I still listen to it regularly.

    The Album is named:

    Bireli Lagrene, Larry Coryell & Aladar Pege: Live Subway Cologne 1994

    Tracks are:
    1) All the Things You Are
    2) On Green Dolphin Street
    3) Opus One
    4) Blue Monk
    5) What Is This Thing Called Love
    6) Manha De Carnival
    7) Oleo

    If anyone knows more about this or knows where I can get a full quality copy then I'd love to find one.
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I've only heard him on the Mingus Dynasty '80 Montreux album. On that album, he just seems to be trying to set records for fastest playing in thumb position (through a farty underwood) - annoyed the hell out of me. i would like to hear what else he has done though......
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I have to agree with Alexi ...sorry. I do recognize that he gets around the bass exceptionally well....better than I ever will. But that's the sound, that kind of hyperactive guitarish approach, that just isn't my cup o' tea. The first track on the virtuoso cd is a perfect example. I'd certainly like to hear some other recordings that prove that I'm fulla s**t.
  7. I've always wondered about this guy, but haven't heard him.
  8. oh yeah, he definately has done his fair share of fromagesque stuff., there's even an album he does which is all rock and pop songs..... bottom line...the good is great and the bad is real bad!
  9. Marcus, i'd like to prove that you're fulla **** too, unfortunately, for both of us, not this time...I checked out the available clips at Amazon. What's this guy in such a hurry about? Everything just sounds like he can't wait to get outta the studio.
    Not for me.
  10. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's tough to tell from those clips on Amazon, but from what I hear that CD is definitely not to my taste. A clever player he might be, but i just can't connect with that kind of stuff.

    The recording I have is very different, just a 2 guitar and bass trio, quite mellow, with a lot of melodic interplay. Sort of like the Joe Pass/NHOP stuff only, much as enjoy listening to Joe Pass, I prefer the Bireli Lagrene, Larry Coryell & Aladar Pege recording.
  11. Wilson Gunn

    Wilson Gunn

    Jul 24, 2006
    Just a nice story with Aladar Pege. In my other life I was invited to speak at a State Department celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution (Oct 23, 1956). I related that I had come to know Hungary's soul first before I knew any Hungarians through its music (growing up with such). And as a Bassist pointed out the national treasure Aladar Pege is for Hungary (along with Bartok, Listz, the usuals).

    A journalist wrote up my speech and put it in a newspaper in Hungary, Pege read it and sent me the nicest note and several of his CD's. Not only is he a fine bassist, he is a fine human being. I'm talking with the Hungarian embassy about possibily bringing him over on a good will tour. If he comes over I'll invite you all over for some fun and shared music.
  12. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx
    I have a few of his lps, Sometimes he is fast and wanky sometimes he is amazing. There is a great quartet with 'cello, winds, and percussion by the Friedhelom Schonfeld (tenor saxophone, alto clarinet, flute) quartet that is just burning East German free jazz. It is on the East German state label Amiga from 1978.
    It is really amazing worth tracking down.
    I have kind of a complation of Pege's work on a Hungarian label that is spotty but inculdes a great duo with Albert Manglesdorf.
    I also have a very nice duo lp with Walter Norris on Enja.
  13. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx
  14. spdrswb


    May 26, 2005

    I've seen him a couple of times here in HU.
    I would say I agree with both kinds of opinions. Half of his works is magic, the other half: I'd rather forget.
    I guess there were times when he could not be accepted and respected for his sweet tone and melodic approach. He had to invent and push this grinder technique. Additionally, local gipsy people are judged by virtuosity by non-expert public, even if it's completely non-musical. It's a habit among musicians too. Also, if you listen carefully, note selection in the majority of those fast runs is not melodic, but mechanical ("fingerboard map" based). Going up and down in tritones and so on.
    He is still an etalon for me, but only after selecting the records...