Marton Juhasz’s “Discovery” brings sound to big ideas


Drummer and composer Marton Juhasz communicates the concepts behind his latest album, “Discovery” with unique arrangements. The unexpected turns work well with the idea behind the album. “Discovery” encourages introspection and consideration of Juhasz’s larger theme, which considers how people can try to make sense of the dissonance of everyday existence.

“Discovery” is the work of Juhasz along with seven other musicians. Their training and diligence have paid off in the form of a crisp, bold sounds coupled (sometimes) with soft, breezy vocals that wrap around the instrumentation. The result is music that is both thought-provoking and breathtaking. The sounds created here evoke wide open, desolate-looking places that are as beautiful as they are potentially frightening. Perhaps that is the nature of the dissonance of human existence. It is likely that each listener will create his or her own images to match the sound of the album.

About Marton Juhasz

Juhasz’s career began in 2005. Still a student, he won the national first prize for solo percussion. The following year, Juhasz studied at Drumtech in London and won the top prize for overall student. In 2007, Juhasz earned admission to Berklee School of Music in Boston. He graduated summa cum laude in 2011.

While still a student, Juhasz earned the yearly award from the Foundation for Hungarian Percussion Culture in 2010. He returned to Europe from the US in 2012 and began to work with a cadre of talented and veteran musicians there. Twice, in 2014 and 2015, Juhasz won Drummer of the Year from the JazzMa readers’ poll. In 2017, Juhasz became the first person to hold the prestigious Focusyear Ensemble directed by Wolfgang Muthspiel.

“Discovery” by Marton Juhasz: sound and concept

The ensemble that Juhasz put together grew out of his work with the Focusyear group. For a year, the musicians in Juhasz’s ensemble studied in Switzerland under the tutelage of Wolfgang Mutshpiel, Jeff Ballard, Dave Holland and others.

The result of that diligence is “Discovery,” a beautiful, daring album of originals that attests to the power of 21st century jazz. A track that stands out from the recording is “The Curve.”

“The Curve” opens with heavy drumming that quickly gives way to more lush sounds, including vocals that sound and move more like woodwind instruments than a human voice.

While it seems as though the drums recede to the background, they are present. The horns, particularly a trumpet that sounds as though it sits atop the rest of the soundscape and pushes through notes until they break. In the next passage, everything quiets down and a particularly soothing piano line begins, which is in stark contrast to the angry horn. The drums crush gently- -shimmering and cracking like errant thoughts. Then, the lilting vocals return. The bass thunders clear and with a nice amount of groove, and just when listeners think they have properly mapped out where the song will go next, it ends. The logical thing to do is play it again.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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