Gabor Bolla Quartet: On The Move

Likeable bop, blues and swing set from Hungarian saxophonist accompanied by Robert Lakatos, Daniel Franck and Billy Drummond

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Bolla gets on the move through five of his own originals, one by Thelonious Monk and one each from Ellis Marsalis, Billy Strayhorn and J.J. Johnson. The tenor sax man is a Hungarian who has emigrated to Denmark. Here, he works with two Swedish rhythm section players, Franck and Lakatos, who have also relocated to Denmark. Billy Drummond from USA takes care of the drumming.

This is a pleasant enough post-bop set with the leader’s tenor sax warm and round and his ability to improvise through varied material prominent. Monkey Donkey is his own composition, and it kicks off the set and ends it too with an alternate version. I say “composition” but with the addition of two changed notes it is almost identical to It Ain’t Necessarily So.

Love Is Love is one of two uptempo pieces, the other being Marsalis’s Swinging At The Haven. Bolla sweeps through Monk’s We See quite comfortably with sympathetic support from Lakatos, a delicate, light-touch pianist with a Bill Evans approach.

Chelsea Bridge gets the full, warm ballad treatment and this sort of slow tempo really brings out the best in both Bolla’s sound and his tasty, improvised lines. Blues On The Move does just what it says in the title, swinging lightly but comfortably. Blue Tariff is played with spirit and shows all three rhythm section players to advantage.

Bassist Franck has a plump, ripe bass tone and Drummond is, as always, a tasteful drummer, driving everybody along neatly and having the odd explosive short solo on two tracks. As a straightahead bop and blues swing set, this CD offers variety of programming and inventive solo work from the leader and pianist. The rhythm section is solid throughout.

Discography
Monkey Donkey; Love Is Love; Chelsea Bridge; Blue Tariff; We See; Lament; Swingin’ At The Haven; Blues On The Move; Monkey Donkey (60.05)
Bolla (ts); Robert Lakatos (p); Daniel Franck (b); Billy Drummond (d). Copenhagen 13 & 14 July 2021.
Stunt 21092