MUSICIANS are often instinctive travellers, globetrotters and border-hoppers, crossing continents in the search of new vibrations and reference points. You can bet that Hungarian pianist and producer Szabolcs Bognár sees himself as one of those itinerant troubadours.
Although his roots were established in the vibrant jazz culture of Budapest, he’s always journeyed further in his quest for inspiration and found himself pulled towards the tantalising expanse of Afro-Brazilian sounds.
Forming the collective Àbáse a couple of years ago, the results of Bognár musical explorations first turned heads of global beat scenesetters with the release of the Sir Gilles Peterson and Worldwide-FM approved Invocation EP. Now comes news of a follow-up: the album Laroye, due for November release on Oshu Records. Put together in Rio and Salvador, the record revolves around sessions and apartment jams with Brazilian musicians during a five-month expedition to Bahia and beyond.
If that doesn’t make you want to get involved with Àbáse’s new music then Laroye’s preview single “Agangatolou” should seal the deal. Built around a traditional Candomblé song and nourished with a jazz-swinging afrobeat groove-line, “Agangatolou” skips, trips and flows with a natural energy. There’s the smoothest, cascading vibes (courtesy of Antonio Loureiro), fine tight and loose snare work (take a bow Jorge Dubman/Dr Drumah), the raspy, weathered vocals of Jadson Xabla, Fanni Zahar’s slinky flute plus some heavy bass anchorage exactly when required. This is a collective with a clear sense of direction – Àbáse might just be going places …