Blending instrumental world music with elements of jazz, pop, ambient and traditional Indian music, Azur Blue Band is a unique musical project launched by Gábor Veress (guitars, composer) and Ákos Kertész (percussion, keyboards and arranger) in Budapest, Hungary in 2008. Their debut album, Blue Diver showcases a host of original compositions and features internationally renowned world music instrumentalists like Nikola Parov (Riverdance) and Edina Szirtes (Fabula Rasa).
The band’s name was inspired by Luc Besson’s film Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) and the 1971 recording Azure Blue by Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó who reached world-famous status in the United States. Guitarist Gábor Veress who penned Azur Blue Band’s tracks played in a number of Hungarian jazz-rock, latin and world music groups (Latin Combo, Imago Mundi). Besides “Western” genres, he also studied Indian music at the Dharani School in South India. Gábor describes the music on their debut album as follows: “I used to be attracted to instrumental music, still later I wrote mainly vocal compositions. Probably this is the reason that I tried to make each composition on Blue Diver “talk” and the solo instruments “sing” so that they express more powerfully the thoughts and feelings behind the sounds. I chose the song titles very carefully as each title is meant to a spiritual and emotional imprint of what the music attempts to capture.”
All these influences are blended into a pure, consistent style and sound on Blue Diver. Musical arrangement and production were taken care of by the other protagonist of the band, Ákos Kertész. Besides playing in several Hungarian acts (Fabula Rasa, Fianna, Matthew Mitchell Group) as drummer or percussionist, Ákos is also an in-demand pianist, musical arranger and composer. This way, Azur Blue Band provides an ideal environment for him to pursue his artistic endeavors. As Ákos explains “it was a truly great experience to work on the Blue Diver album. The material is extensively relies on visual imagination and attempts to capture the indescribable … and finally the music rises above everyday reality and takes the listener to a wonderful “superior” world. This is one of the few albums that I can also enjoy as an independent listener while I extensively contributed to its making (as arranger, producer and instrumentalist). When listening to the music, I feel like a traveler who lives in symbiosis with this diverse, mystical musical world. To me, Blue Diver is a message.”
The unique sound of the album is also the merit of the duo’s long-time fellow musician Gábor Földes (Fabula Rasa, Imago Mundi) who held a double role as bass player and sound engineer this time. The recording features a host of excellent guest musicians including Nikola Parov (kaval), István Jeszenszky (vocals), Edina Szirtes (violin), Balázs Cserta (saxophone), Tibor Mótyan (tabla) and Zoltán Czirják (French horn). The sensible, intelligent mixing and mastering by Zsolt Gyulai (Gramy Studio) provide a deep and spiritual listening experience.
|2.||Mirage - Káprázat (5:01)|
|3.||May Day - Tavasz (4:09)|
|4.||Storm Signal - Viharjelzés (4:57)|
|5.||Oriental Journey - Indiai utazás (5:28)|
|6.||Raindrops - Esőcseppek (3:34)|
|7.||Caravan Road - Karavánút (4:53)|
|8.||Deep Blue - Hullámzás (6:10)|
|9.||Rise of Day - Hajnal (5:56)|
|10.||Stream - Patak (5:01)|
|11.||Over the Hills - A hegyeken (3:46)|