"There are halls in Heaven that open their gates only to the voice of song."
“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.”
- John Coltrane
Nigun was founded by Andras Parniczky guitarist and composer in 2001. Uniquely in the European jazz scene, the formation originates its music from the Eastern European Jewish traditions. Although Nigun’s music can be best labelled as "Klez-jazz”, the creativity and spontaneous spirit of its musicians are also very significant, as well as their attempt to combine different genres. Which we can enjoy on their newly released album titled Lebedik at the Budapest Jazz Club.
Nigun often works together with guest musicians, as their third album Bale Kulturnik (2006), featuring the Israeli saxophonist Daniel Zamir (Satlah). In the same year, members of the group participated in John Zorn's Cobra performance in the Palace Of Arts (Budapest, Hungary) under the direction of Zorn himself. Since 2007 multi-reedist Matt Darriau (Klezmatics, Paradox Trio) has been a recurring guest of Nigun just like Miklos Lukacs, cimbalom (Hungarian folk dulcimer) artist. They also shared the stage with Don Byron, Frank London, Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), Mihaly 'Dudas' Dresch and Daniel Szabo.
- Andras Parniczky – guitar
- Peter Bede – saxophone
- Peter Ajtai – double bass
- Istvan Balo – drums
In August 2001 Andras Parniczky founded the group Nigun, since than they are giving concerts in Europe and in the US as well. He was born in Geneva, Switzerland, 1972. He began studying music at Ferenc Erkel Music School in Budapest. He continued his studies at the American Institute of Music in Vienna then he relocated to Budapest where he graduated at Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy as a jazz-guitar performer and teacher. In 2001 he received a scholarship to the Jazz Department of The Royal Conservatory, The Hague, the Netherlands. Since 1990 he has been playing at many festivals and events. Besides he has lead groups like Parniczky Quartet, Quintet and Stereo.
He performed John Zorn's Cobra under the prompting of Zorn himself. He has played and/or recorded with Don Byron, Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), Frank London and Matt Darriau (Klezmatics), Aaron Alexander (Hasidic New Wave), Arthur Kell, Daniel Zamir, Fritz Landenberger, Klemens Marktl, Kristof Bacso, Istvan Balo, Robert Benko, Janos Egri, Mihaly Dresch, Jozsef Barcza Horvath, Miklos Lukacs, Andras Monori, Matyas Szandai, Daniel Szabo, Bea Palya and classical piano artist Adam Fellegi. He's a member of the Hungarian Soundpainting Orchesra led by Samuel Gryllus. Also performed with a big band conducted by Graham Collier. Besides playing the guitar and composing music he also wrote several arrangements that are played by Hungarian big bands. In 2001, he scored music for the strings of the Residentie Orkest, which was performed at the Anton Phillips Zaal in The Hague. He took part in movie Portugal (dir.: Andor Lukacs) and Chacho Rom (dir.: Ildiko Szabo) as a musician and in dance films Door Quatrologie and Barbakan (dir.: Mariann Gaal) as a music director. He took place as a composer and a guitar player in dance pieces like Ko-Papir-..., Ott and Chance Operation.
He gave lessons at the Bela Bartok (former Ferenc Erkel) Conservatory's Jazz Department between 2003 and 2008. He was the guitar and combo teacher at the Lauder Javne Music School. Currently he teaches at the Etud Conservatory. He is publishing reviews at the Gramofon Classical and Jazz magazine since 2004 and writings at Fidelio Magazin online regularly.
As for the members, reed player Peter Bede is one of the very few musicians who decided to study folk music for his masters after getting his bachelors degree at the Jazz Department of Franz Liszt Music Academy. For a band like Nigun, it would be hard to find a better match than he is! He was in Budapest, 1981. He started playing the saxophone at age 17 after playing clarinet for 7 years. Mihaly Dresch played a major role in his interest turning to the jazz and folk genre, although he started his studies in classical music. He got his degree in 2007 at the jazz department of the Franz Liszt University of Music.
He has played at numerous Hungarian and international festivals, in clubs, radio and Tv shows over the years. His musical style can be defined by both jazz and classical styles, although folk music has the greatest impact on his music. He has been attending folk music camps in Gyimes and Moldova since 2002, where he was able to learn from authentic sources. Bands he's been working with over the years include Besh O Drom, Fanfara Complexa, Kalman Balogh Gypsy Cimbalom Band, Szilvia Bognar Band. He is a frequent guest of the Buda Folk Band and also Szeret led by Balazs Vizeli. He likes to play experimental improvisational music, a good example is his vinyl record with viola player Szilard Mezei from Vojvodina.
Peter Ajtai is one from the young and radical jazz generation, who besides breaking with old conventions are also able to play his instrument to the highest standards. Despite his young age he already explored a wide variety of genres such as free jazz, mainstream and folk music. He started his double-bass studies at age 16. His first teachers during his high school years were Gabor Busshy and Horvath. After graduating from high school he was studying with József Barcza Horváth at the Egressy Jazz Conservatory. Since 2008 he is a student at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he pursued a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Double-Bass. He also studied classical double-bass techniques with Zsolt Fehérvári and Gergely Jardanyi.
He is currently the member of various bands including Geroly Trio, A.M.P., Trio Fold, KAMP and Jazz Byzantium, formations of Bela Agoston and has been playing in groups lead by great musicians like Frank London, Mihaly Dresch, Gabor Gado and Istvan Grencso. He performs regularly both in Hungary and in foreign countries on concerts collaborating with the greatest new generation of free improvisation like Johannes Bauer, Lewis Jordan.
Istvan Balo, is a prominent figure of the jazz life in Hungary. He also became important part of the European jazz history through his work in the bands of Mihaly Dresch and Gyorgy Szabados. He finished his studies at the Bela Bartok Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department in 1978. Since then, he’s recorded albums and played concerts with great artist such as Chris Potter, John Tchicai, David Murray, Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Chico Freeman, John Zorn, Matt Darriau, Istvan Regos, Laszlo Des, Janos Masik, Karoly Binder, Gabor Gado, Gyula Babos, Bela Szakcsi Lakatos, Kristof Bacso and more. As a member of Gyorgy Szabados’s band, MAKUZ, he was part of the birth of Hungarian “free music”. Currently, he is part of Dresch Quartet, Borbely Muhely. He occasionally plays with bands of Istvan Grencso, Robert Benko, Erno Hock, Janos Egri, Miklos Birta and Marton Fenyvesi. Besides being an active musician, he also developed a personal method for teaching, which he has been doing for thirty years. Since 2008 he is teaching at the Arts Department of the Janos Kodolanyi College.