Biography

 

bbJazz drummer, composer, music educator and producer Balázs Bágyi was born in Hungary in 1973, graduated with honour from the Jazz Department of The Ferenc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest in 1998. Through the past decade playing all over Europe, The United States and China, he became well respected artist of the international jazz scene.

From 1998 - 2003 he was the drummer of the Whiteful Band, after which he founded his own project the Balázs Bágyi Quartet in 2004 using the finest Hungarian folk and jazz musicians. The quartet has released two albums featuring Hungarian ethno – jazz, mostly composed by Balázs.

In 2005 - 2006 he worked with singer-songwriter Veronika Harcsa. Their album „Speak Low” was released with great success in Japan.

During the same years he took part in the International Improvised Music Workshops at the Mediawave Festivals in Győr, Hungary. During these events which included several Hungarian artists (István Grencsó, Ferenc Kovács, Viktor Tóth, Mátyás Szandai…) he collaborated with American bassist and composer William Parker, master percussionist Hamid Drake and alto saxophone player Rob Brown. Later on he has also played with various American and European artists such as Eldad Tarmu, Chuck Jennings, Arthur Kell, Eric Essix, Pedro Negrescu, Geoff Warren, Marcello Sebastiani, just to name a few.

Balazs’ important international breakthrough was in 2007 when their Eastern Boundary Quartet was founded in association with saxophonist Mihály Borbély, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens and bassist Joe Fonda. This quartet continues to tour both the United States and Europe playing at well known venues. Untill now they have three albums, the most recent CD "Live at De Werf" was released by the Artists Recording Collective in the USA.

That same year the duo with cimbalom player Daniel P. Szabó was formed as a unique colour on the world music scene. After coming out with their debut album called „Duola” they toured Romania several times and played at the International Bookfest in Bucharest representing Hungary by the invitation of the Hungarian Cultural Institute. During their tour over three countries (Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria) they had a successful concert in Chishinau organized by the Hungarian Embassy in 2012.

In 2008 Balazs toured Romania with the Eldad Tarmu/Chuck Jennings Jazz Ensemble, Hungary and Slovakia with Eastern Boundary Trio, and Transylvania with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet. His own band featuring Beata Salamon on violin also performed in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in the Palace of Arts in Budapest and on the „Fete De La Musique” in the Pfefferberg in Berlin.

The Collaboration Trio featuring guitarist Attila Rieger, bassist Zoltán Oláh and Balázs was formed in 2009. Since then they have worked with Alabama based guitar player Eric Essix several times in Hungary and also performed at the Preserve Jazz Festival in the USA in 2010.

In 2009 Balázs joined the Budapest Bossanova Quintet and took Albert Mohácsy’s invitation to join his unique world music project the Magyarvista Social Club, a Hungarian world music all star orchestra featuring 31 musicians on their debut album released in 2010.

He has formed the Balázs Bágyi New Quartet in 2013 with János Ávéd on saxophones, Dezső Oláh on piano and his long time rhythm section partner Péter Oláh on bass. Since releasing the band's first album "Easy Landing" they played at many international festivals and venues all across Europe. The music of the New Quartet based on Balazs's originals featuring his skills as a composer. 

In addition to working with numerous groups and leading his own projects Balázs continues to perform with the Kolibri Theater in Budapest collaborating with director János Novák since 1996.

Balázs is a respected drum clinician and music educator, his activities as an organizer and producer are also remarkable in the Hungarian jazz. In 2007-2011 he was the director of the Dr. Lauschmann Jazz School, now he is employed as the head of the art department by the Sándor Reményik Reformed Primary and Art School and also teaches at the Hang-Szín-Tér School of Arts. In 2012 he got the prize of the Artisjus Music Foundation for his excellent work as a music educator. He has been the member of the board of the Hungarian Jazz Federation since 2007 and he became the president of the organization in 2013.

As a professional drummer he has several endorsements related to different companies such as premium quality Ayotte Drums from Canada, hand crafted Turkish Agean Cymbals and Cympad cymbal washers from Switzerland.

Most important international tours, concerts and festival appearances:

2001

  • Swedish Tour with Api Farkas on piano and Janos Simon on electric bass

2005

  • Mediawave Festival, Győr, Hungary with the International Improvised Music Workshop
  • 34th Debrecen International Jazz Festival with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet

2006

  • Central Eastern European Creative Orch. Tour including the Porgy&Bess Jazz Club, Wien
  • Mosciano Jazz Festival, Italy with Geoff Warren and Marcello Sebastiani
  • Sziget Festival, Budapest with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet and Beáta Salamon
  • MOL Jazz Festival, Budapest with the Veronika Harcsa Quartet

2007

  • Istanbul, Turkey with the Jazz Steps Band
  • „JazzNica” Festival, Slovakia with Nothing But Swing Trio feat. Eldad Tarmu
  • Bratislava Cultural Summer Festival, Slovakia with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet

2008

  • Romanian Tour with the Eldad Tarmu/Chuck Jennings Jazz Ensemble
  • Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, with the Balázs Bágyi Q. and Beáta Salamon
  • „Fete De La Musique” Pfefferberg, Berlin with the Balázs Bágyi Q. and Beáta Salamon
  • Slovakian/Hungarian Tour with the Eastern Boundary Trio
  • Romanian Tour with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet

2009

  • USA East Coast Tour with the Eastern Boundary Quartet
  • Contemporary Arts Festival, Székesfehérvár with the Collaboration Trio feat. Eric Essix

2010

  • Preserve Jazz Festival, Hoover, Alabama USA with the Collaboration Trio
  • Sziget Festival, Budapest with the Balázs Bágyi Quartet

2011

  • Romanian Tour including the Art Jazz Club in Bucharest with Duola
  • International Bookfest Bucharest, Romania with Duola representing Hungary
  • Contemporary Arts Festival, Székesfehérvár with the Collaboration Trio feat. Eric Essix
  • European Tour (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands) with the Eastern Boundary Quartet

2012

Contemporary Arts Festival, Székesfehérvár with Gyula Csepregi and Peter Olah

Hungarian Jazz Day at the Buda Castle with the Budapest Bossanova Quintet

Tour with Duola in Romania, Moldavia, Bulgaria

2013

European tour with the Eastern Boundary Quartet including concert on the UNESCO International Jazz Day at the Budapest Jazz Club, the Mediawave Festival in Komarom, and German venues.

2014

USA tour with Easetrn Boundary Quartet playing and giving workshops in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee states.

Touring with the New Quartet in Bulgaria including the Haskovo Jazz Festival.

2015

Tours with his New Quartet in Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Serbia including the Bansko and Nisville International Jazz Festivals.

Playing at JZ Club Shanghai, China.