The first performer of Saturday will be the Elemér Balázs Group. The popular band was established by Elemér Balázs in 2000. Since then they performed in several Hungarian and international concerts with great success. They also won some prizes. Beside of the leader and drummer, Flóra Kiss, Milán Szakonyi, József Balázs, Áron Komjáti, Krisztián “Pecek” Lakatos and József Czibere will play for us on Gere Jazz Festival.
Elemér Balázs was born in Ózd in 16th August, 1967. He started his musical studies when he was 6, then in 1983 he passed in the jazz department of Béla Bartók Musical Arts University as exceptional talent. During his studies his talent was quickly discovered and even then the most famous Hungarian jazz musicians invited him to their concerts as drum player. Up till now he played almost all celebrities of the Hungarian jazz profession. He is a determining character of the Hungarian jazz life as drummer and song writer. His special drumming can be heard on almost 100 LP-s. After their first LP – Around the World – the band was loved by the audience immediately. They became regular performers of several Hungarian and foreign jazz and world music festivals. The band published 8 LPs so far.
Where did the love of music come from?
When I was little I listened George Benson and Chick Corea LP-s, from here my interest to jazz came from. If I should choose an idol, I would say Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny are the two most inspiring persons for me. That’s why our music style can be characterized as melodic jazz, in which improvisation is palpable all the time.
What is it mean to you to perform on Gere Jazz Festival?
I had the chance to perform on Gere Jazz Festival some times and it was very atmospheric every time. I love this beautiful environment and the festival is organized professionally, and excellent atmosphere which can not be compared to any other events. This summer we bring our new album – Sounds of Diversity. The introduction of it will be in April, in Budapest on the Spring Festival. Beside of the new songs we also plan to write up an Italian single too.
The Italian single is not a coincidence since Gere Jazz Festival has this thematic this year.
I love Italy! Especially Rome is my favourite, where I’ve been on holiday and performed many times.
And what about wines?
No doubt, I am a wine fan. My favourites are lighter white wines. In summer I like to drink spritzers in the heat. I often played on wine events and if I have the chance I relax with wine after the concerts. My favourite Gere wine is Frici. I am a Frici fan. It reminds me to the best Italian sparkling wines.