Miklós Lukács Cimbiosis Trio

Music from the Solitude of Timeless Minutes
BMC CD 289

Expressing the cornucopia of sounds that can be coaxed from the traditional Hungarian cimbalom or trapezoid struck zither has long been the aim of Miklós Lukács. Here his eight compositions and the sympathetic textural embellishments provided by bassist György Orbán and drummer István Baló put these attributes in their finest form. Lukács, whose background includes notated and folkloric sessions as well as discs with improvisers like Mihály Dresch is comfortable in situations like this, while Orbán who has recorded with Viktor Tóth and Baló, who has worked with Mihály Borbély are more Jazz inflected.

Because of Lukács’ canny adaptations of the chordophone’s two sets of grouped strings there are points at which it appears as if he’s playing a vibraphone and others times during which the resemblance is to piano strategies. Besides both instruments’ timbres the cimbalom can create bell tree shakes, wooden idiophone echoes, guitar frails, concert harp glissandi or electronic oscillations in the same track. Dramatically some potent compositions like “Metamorphosis” and “The Long Life of Ephemera” are taken robustly, pitched allegro and vivace, providing full-frontal display of each member’s prowess. On “Metamorphosis for instance, upfront cimbalom plucks and chording are as pianistic as they are percussive, with constant tremolo plops from Orbán maintaining the rhythmic pace. A rare example of focused drum ruffs and rebounds cementing the foot-tapping beat elaborated by a walking bass line, the latter tune is proudly extroverted. Somehow the interaction manages to suggest both a Jazz piano trio and a string-pulsating harp continuum without losing solemnly-paced individualism. Other tracks are more restrained and balladic however, with fragile gestures from all echoing chromatically, creating variations through melodic counterpoint. Complex, “Memento” is the most diverse. Including pounding drum ruffs, ratcheting flanges from Lukács, Christmas bell-like shakes, and accented instrumental vamps doesn’t preclude a gloss of Magyar sweetness from permeating the performance.

Music from the Solitude of Timeless Minutes not only affirms the cimbalom’s identity as a source for profound improvisations, but it’s also a top-flight Jazz trio session by any standard.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Part 1: 1. Introduction to a Dream 2. Metamorphosis 3. Nymphaea 4. Memento Part 2: 5. Ode to a Death Knell 6. The Long Life of Ephemera 7. Realistic Visions 8. .Refracted Silence in a Heartbeat

Personnel: Miklós Lukács (cimbalom); György Orbán (bass) and István Baló (drums)