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East Gipsy Band

Introducing the East Gipsy Band

EAST GIPSY BAND represents an exciting fusion format for creating unique and captivating music. Its members are highly respected representatives of jazz and roma world music. Accordingly, theirs is an adventure with the traditions of Roma music filtered through the sensibilities of jazz. The band, formed by József Balázs, consists of the founder on piano, Lajos Sárközi on violin, György Orbán on double-bass, Vilmos Oláh on cymbalum, and Elemér Balázs on drums, with Guszti Balogh contributing vocals. Their debut album Ageless Message was released in May 2011, featuring the great saxophone player Tim Ries, who invited the band to tour with him the East Coast of the United States and Canada.
The second American-Canadian tour in January 2014 is a prime opportunity for these exceptional musicians to bring their unique mix of tradition and innovation and their interpretations of the treasures of Hungarian and Central European Roma culture to a broader international audience, as they are given the chance to perform in front of the world’s leading promoters and booking agents during the APAP convention (, as well as to release their music online via iTunes and Amazon. Fittingly, during this "breakthrough moment" for East Gypsy Band, they will perform with Tim Ries a series of well over a dozen shows at 8 venues reaching both old and new audiences and revisiting sanctuaries of jazz like the Deer Head Inn where a young Keith Jarrett was a regular and New York's great Jazz Standard in the course of their adventure.
2014 January tour of the United States and Canada
11th- En la Alegrias Nacional, Manhattan, New York, NY
12th-The Deerhead Inn- Delaware Water Gap, PA
14th- Consulate General of Hungary, New York
15th-The Regatta Bar- Boston, MA
17th-Philadelphia Art Museum-Philadelphia, PA 
18th-The Rex Hotel, Toronto Canada 
21st- Hugh's Room-Toronto Canada 
22nd-The Jazz Standard, Mahattan, New York, NY
Band Members participating in the January 2014 US-Canadian Tour
Tim Ries, saxophonist, composer and arranger extraordinaire, has had a long, unique and colorful career in music, which began in 1983 with the great Maynard Ferguson. Since that time, his performing and recording credits include a who’s who of jazz, rock and pop icons: The Rolling Stones (touring, from 1999 to the present), Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Donald Fagen, Michael Jackson, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Lyle Lovette, and jazz greats Red Garland, Donald Byrd, Hank Jones, Phil Woods, Tom Harrell, Chico Hamilton, Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, Tony Bennett, Dave Liebman, Al Foster, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez and Maria Schneider. He has also released multiple highly acclaimed CDs as a band leader and has toured the world repeatedly with his Rolling Stones Project featuring interpreations of classic Stones numbers. Since 2011, he has played repeatedly with the East Gypsy Band, both in Hungary and in the United States. Tim Ries plays Francois Louis mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures and The Virtuoso tenor and alto saxophones by RS Berkely.
Elemér Balázs has been a central figure of Hungarian jazz for fifteen years as drummer and composer. His work as band leader, musician and also as mentor to a new generation of percussionists has a standout quality that has made him one of the best-known Hungarian jazz musicians at home and abroad. He has performed at major festivals and worked with Anette Lowman, Stepko Gutt, Zbigniew Namyslowsky, Jukka Perko, Paolo Fresu, Stéphane Belmondo, Steve Houben, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, Pat Metheny, Rick Maritsa, Charlie Mariano, Randy Brecker, Al Jarreau and Tim Ries. He has twice won the award for Jazz Album of the Year, and is engaged in several projects while leading the Balázs Elemér Group.
József Balázs is one of the most talented piano players of the young generation. He has played with Erik Truffaz, Stéphane Belmondo, Bobbie Watson, Charlie Mariano, Robin Eubanks, and Steve Houben, among others. He has placed second at the Füsti Balogh Gábor Jazz Piano Competition, while also earning the prize for Best Soloist at the Krakow Jazz Juniors festival. In 2007, he founded the Balázs József Quintet, releasing their first album in 2008. His latest formation, East Gipsy Band was launched in May 2010. The band’s first album was released in May 2011, featuring Tim Ries.
Guszti Balogh is a self-taught singer. He founded his own band Nomada in 2003 and has acted as its song writer and lyricist since. In 2004, he became the founding member of Fabula Rasa, a formation playing contemporary world music. Since 2005, he has been a permanent contributing artist to Balogh Kálmán Gipsy Cimbalom BandIn 2010, he founded the band Vojasa, fusing authentic gypsy music. Currently, he writes lyrics and music for many performers, while he is also continuously on tour home and abroad. So far, he has been a contributing or lead artist on 15 albums.
Vilmos Oláh took up playing the cymbal at the age of seven. During his first years he received a training focused exclusively on classical music. Later, he was a  cymbal major at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, where, he earned a degree in chamber music and teaching. He earned first prize at several music competitions and participated in the Rácz Aladár Cymbal Competition, achieving an exemplary position in the junior category. In 2000, he was invited to collaborate on György Vukán’s album IBERIA, playing with the members of Creative Art Trio (György Vukán, Balázs Berkes, Elemér Balázs) and the CA Symphony Orchestra. He is interested in all genres that can be played on the cymbal, from classical pieces through folk music to jazz.
György Orbán started playing classical guitar at the age of six. When he was eighteen, he switched to the double bass for good, fulfilling his childhood dream. Finding his true calling with this instrument, he has since played and recorded with many renowned jazz musicians, such as Béla Lakatos Szakcsi, Tony Lakatos, Jimmy Wormworth, Imre Kőszegi, Ferenc Snétberger.
Lajos Sárközi was taught to play the violin at the age of five by his father. In 2004, he was admitted to the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, studying under Eszter Perényi. In 2003 and 2008, he placed first at the Zathureczky Ede National Violin Competition. In 2005, he won the International Telemann Violin Competition in Poland. A further 2006 competition triumph granted him the opportunity to record his first album. The young violinist continues to woo audiences at various concerts, including festivals as the San Jose Gypsy Airs music event where he performed with great success in 2010.


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