Article: Győző Nagy
Translation: Nóra Fehér
Mihály Gotthard and Dani Szebényi are old “collaborators”. Ever since they met behind the scenes of a jazz competition – more than a decade ago -, they have been an almost inseparable duo. It’s not just the fact that they went to the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music at the same time that binds them together, but also the fact that they can’t make music without each other.
Fortunately, we don’t really need to, we might add – but let’s think about what makes the joint productions of Mike, regularly extolled not only by writers but also by the best virtuosos of the guitar in Hungary, and Dani, the Artisjus and Petőfi Music Prize-winning keyboardist, songwriter and singer, so special. Anyone who can pinpoint the genre in which the two young (well, early thirties) titans are working should be Derrick, as their music, which defies established forms, has a massive sound but is not without psychedelia, mixes (always in varying proportions) elements of blues, rock, funk and jazz. In addition, both have made forays into live, festival
-ready pop music (with Ocho Macho and Kowalsky and Vega), and have also recorded together as the soundtrack to the popular TV series Squid Game.
Born into a family of musicians, Gotthard, who showed an interest in the drums as early as kindergarten, has been under the spell of the six strings since the age of seven, initially developing his talent in a self-taught way, and then honing it under the tutelage of Tamás Mohai, Gyula Babos, Sándor Horányi and Attila László, among others. His intellectual, improvisational guitar playing is characterised by both emotionality and an extremely strong, explosive energy, which is perhaps the reason why he finds his place so easily in any musical medium. Dani Szebényi, known to a wider audience, including Random Trip, started playing the piano at the age of five, but a Keith Emerson baclelit led him to the much more exciting world of synths and organs, and he stuck to the borderlands of rock, jazz and various fusion music.
The first band of two of the most talented (and occupied) musicians on the Hungarian jazz scene was Mooters, with bassist Dávid Kovács and drummer Ákos Szumper, and after its demise, the Blues MD carried the banner, which says it all. In addition to their current production and various occasional collaborations, they also play together in Electric Shock, and of course their solo productions are also unthinkable without each other’s vibrant, energy-releasing playing. (Gotthard – after his first solo album Intellectual Brutality in 2016 – is currently preparing to release a second self-titled album, but Szebényi’s debut album is also scheduled to hit the shelves soon.) They have played together several times with the founder of Tribal Tech, bassist Gary Willis, who was a permanent “hit list leader” in their shared album, but Károly Binder and Gergő Borlai are also among their regular friends.
In addition to the usual musicians (Martin Gudics – bass, István Tóth – guitar, Miki Kovács – drums, Kornél Mogyoró – percussion), this evening will also be a special guest appearance: the duo known from Ivan & The Parazol (guitarist Máté Balla and singer Iván Vitáris) and the recently godfather of our heroes. Tibusz Tátrai, the uncrowned king of Hungarian guitarists, who recently formed a band together with our heroes under the name of godfater, will give an empathetic answer to the question of whether good musicians are really dying out in Hungary.