The Hungarian Republic celebrates its Independence Day on the 23rd of October and Kodaly Spicy Jazz shared its positive mood and its amazing music, jazz arrangements of old Hungarian songs with Baku listeners at their national holiday. The Jazz band is named after Zoltan Kodaly, a well-known composer, teacher and musical theorist.

Kodaly developed a popular technique of music teaching, which from childhood in easy and spontaneous way paves the path to the great world of music. And arranged plenty of national songs on musical staff, while immortalizing a layer of Hungarian cultural heritage. Prior to the concert we spoke with musicians about interest to folk music, jazz and Hungarian spirit.


Welcome to Baku! What do you think of our city?

Mark: We had just time for terrace view, however, even from here one may descry the beauty of the city. We look forward to learning more about it.

Your group is named after Zoltan Kodaly, what does it mean for you?

Daniel: Kodaly is the main part of our music. We embodied those compositions, collected by him at the territory of Hungary, into the jazz form. Indeed, he isn’t only a composer, he is a well-known collector of old Hungarian songs. We also transform them into jazz format.


Do you work with heritage of Kodaly or are you engaged in arrangements?

Zoltan: Kodaly-composer’s heritage is absolutely individual repertoire and to process his works wouldn’t be easy. Besides, there is a question of copyright. We used only national songs. We work with his collection of folklore and thus we are named after him.

Tell us, how the band was created. How long has it been existing?

Gyorgy: It has been established since 2016. We participated in different groups and about three-four years ago we thought it would be good to create any joint project. Shortly before that Kodaly’s double anniversary, 50 years of his death and 120th anniversary of his birth, was celebrated, and it impressed us. We are jazz musicians, young generation, and we wished to do something in honour of such great musician, once more to underline his importance and to reveal our potential. The project was basically successful. Two months ago we produced out our first album and we continue acquainting the international public both with jazz and with Kodaly.


Mark: Previously there was so-called Jazzmobil, small car which drove on Budapest streets. It was our first joint project, Dani is our ideological inspirer, he gathered all of us there.

Tell us about your repertoire.

Mark: We perform the compositions from the new album, these are 10-12 songs, depending on point where and in what format the concert is presented. We always try presenting our own music in way appropriate for public. There is very progressive music and there are compositions which are close to smooth jazz. We constantly add something, we change, because it is very important to keep our eyes on the ball and to work hard every day.


And what piece of repertoire did you bring to Baku?

Daniel: We have prepared less words and more music for the Baku public. We wish demonstrating our full repertoire, because we knew in advance, that music is much appreciated here.


Zoltan Kodaly is also known for that he established a special training program. Did you train under this program?

Mark: Indeed, Kodaly did much, as a teacher too, and his music training system in Hungary is very popular. All of us met this pedagogical form at four years. It was very important for Kodaly, that children would be fond of music. That was the beginning of our training. For many Hungarian children the life is disclosed via music.

Bela Bartok, Kodaly’s contemporary, had said, that Zoltan Kodaly’s music expressed the Hungarian spirit. What kind of spirit is that?

Zoltan: In general it is very interesting to compare Kodaly with Bartok, I could speak by hours about that. For me namely, Kodaly’s choral songs open the Hungarian spirit very well. Bartok is person of a modern style, he wrote according to rules, worked as a chemist creating work on the highest level of mastership. However, Kodaly did not write contrived works, his music, as if, passes through a human, forcing to disclose and to enjoy. Bela Bartok is very important for music history, without him the jazz would not be like it is now, however this is modern style. And Kodaly is such level of dynamics. On the one hand, music sometimes should make thinking, as for serious music, then this is Bartok. And on the other hand, music should be charged with positive energy - and this, of course, is represented by Kodaly.


Thanks! There is such important name in our music too, it is impossible for us to think about jazz without Vagif Mustafazade...

Mark: Is Aziza Mustafazade his daughter?

Yes, did you listen to them?

Mark: Yes, it is some internal explosion and it is very strong! When he was at the piano, it looked like his feet grew into the Azerbaijan soil and from there he pulled all these emotions and sounds by means of roots.