The Gábor Gadó Quartet CD entitled PSYCHE, released on the BMC label (www.bmcrecords.hu), is both a treat and a challenge. The music is very enjoyable but to get the most from it you have to listen with focused attention, otherwise the music can fade into the background and only during its most vigorous movements grab your attention.
Born in Hungary, Mr. Gadó began his musical career as a violinist before switching to the study of classical guitar. Now considered one of Europe’s premier contemporary jazz guitarists and composers, Gábor Gadó resides and frequently performs in Paris, France.
Gábor has with PSYCHE released his tenth album since 1990. His previous nine albums have all achieved much deserved critical acclaim in Europe. Gábor was awarded the Bobby Jaspar prize in 2003 by the French L’Academie du Jazz. The Bobby Jaspar prize is awarded to the European jazz musician of the year. Gabor has appeared on a total of 16 albums.
While the group on PSYCHE is a quartet made up of Gabor Gadó on guitar; Matthieu Donarier on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet; Sébastien Boisseau on double bass and Joe Quitzke on drums, the album includes seven additional musicians playing a large variety of supporting instruments on various tracks.
PSYCHE has a running time of 56’52" and is made up of seven original compositions by Mr. Gadó. The compositions have classical depth in orchestration with improvisational played by a group that is very tight. The music is atmospheric in a retro Eastern European way, which isn’t surprising considering the compositions, musicians and the facts that it was recorded at Tom-Tom Studio in Budapest Hungry, recorded and mixed by Attila Kölcsényi and produced by Lszló Göz.
Gábor begins PSYCHE with a composition entitled "Etad vai tat," which starts off very softly and has the feel of a suspense movie sound track. The music is very edgy. This is the primary mood of the album; it is almost "Noir" after the manner of Ran Blake, but the era and locale are different. PSYCHE seems to me to be set in Cold War Europe in the 1960s or 1970s, instead of California in the 1940s, but the setting really works for this soundscape. Mr. Gadó has a talent for using sounds that encourage visceral understanding of meaning; some of them can raise the hair on your neck and you will not be quite sure why. While the album maintains its ominous aura it does switch styles here and there. "Aléthia" has a feel that is very close to klezmer.
Instead of traditional liner notes, PSYCHE contains a booklet with a long free verse poem entitled "standing on the border on no-man’s land" by Barnabás Dukay. Standing on the border has been translated from the Hungarian into both English and French and all three versions are included for your enjoyment. The poem means - what? I haven’t a clue but it is fun to read while you listen to the music. After a focused listen this CD is great atmosphere music for reading John La Carre, Ken Follett or Robert Ludlow.