I was about three years old when my father played an unknown music on the tape recorder for me. It was a congregation of the American black people – one part of it was speech, followed by a rhythmic song with a few instrumental accompaniment. My feet were moving rhythmically, and He told me: "Listen, my son, this is jazz!" I have become initiated this way, but it was the same with the other genres, too, from the folk to Bartók. (How strange that while I am writing these lines I am just travelling through the desert of Arizona towards New Orleans with Kálmán Balogh and the others.) My career was predestined from this day. Nursery school of music and ballet. Miss Irma Bors, Kodály’s kindest student in the primary school. It happened two times that I was the one to sing the solo on the old Master's birthday in his house at the Körönd. I started to play the piano at the age of 6, then – because of the too strict teaching methods (tearing my hair, pulling my ear, slapping, blockhead, silly ass) – I exchanged it for the violin with Miss Izabella Vinkovits (Miss Bella). I loved her but she could not teach me to play the violin because of my own obstinacy. Later the same thing happened to me in the case of my trumpet teachers. I brought down every possible people’s wrath on me. I was a secondary school student when we slipped in the Erkel Theatre with a ticket we had drawn for ourselves to hear Dizzie Gillespi. I enrolled at once to play the trumpet at Mr. Tivadar Sztán in the 5th district. An abbreviated course in the Béla Bartók Conservatory, and then the Ferenc Liszt Music Teacher Training Institute followed. I put myself down for every existing course (from singing to English), and hardly but I finished in the end. Popular Theatre Dance Ensemble, Postás Symphonic Orchestra (Matáv), and then the military service followed. Two years and two months, but in a good place, at the Honvéd Symphonic Orchestra. Of course, after the military training and the three months punishment. This meant that I was attached with some gipsies coming from prisons, who I made very good friends after a little introductory fight. I had experiences in church, theatrical, beat, chamber, experimenting, and studio music, as it is common with musicians at this age. Anyway, the free-improvisational workshops had the greatest instructional effect on me. Besides my own experiments the 15-20 years I spent with György Szabados piano artist, among others in the MAKÚZ ensemble (Hungarian Royal Court Orchestra), are important. Practice in repetitive music in Group No180. I enjoyed the production of Steve Reich’s "Tehillim" at the Academy of Music (I performed the composition on the vibraphone as a member of the Amadinda Percussions Ensemble.) It was not a less interesting adventure when on another occasion I played the cimbalom in Terry Riley's composition titled "In C".

In 1980 we founded the Budapest Ragtime Band and I became a very important member of it. I instrumented more than 80 compositions for the ensemble, we invented a lot of ideas and jokes, and we made tours in many countries. The composition of the band was always changing and after 15 years I also was dropped out, by now only the clarinettist remained of the old members as a memorial. Mihály Dresch invited me into his Quartet, and I had to take playing the violin seriously again. He is the most outstanding composer of the Hungarian jazz, and by his consistent, unshakable work over 20 years he achieved that he is the leader of the strongest band thinking and playing in a Hungarian way. The Gipsy Cimbalom Band was set up by my friend Kálmán Balogh and me for an audience for just one occasion in '93, and we have been travelling all over the world since then. We play the Hungarian, gipsy, and other neighbouring folks’ music, in a special mixture, because we take delight in it. We play compositions which need an extremely high level of knowledge of the instrument very easily, and we always achieve success with our informality (anyway this is a wandering life). Playing alone on the stage is not only the hardest but also the most wonderful thing. Accompanying Gerzson Péter Kovács's Tranz Danz dance ensemble I had the possibility several times to do so, and I determined to try some thrilling. In the meanwhile my own style, my own ideas about the instruments and music were taking shape, and then by my mother's seventieth birthday I made my solo album titled "Magony". I first met my friend Attila Égerházi guitarist, playing word music, in the mid '90s. We tried different formations, and then the first Djabe CD was made, which was followed by several successful CDs (although I did not play on them). After a serious transformation we formed the orchestra of present day which is devoted to do great things both in its musical quality and its theatrical appearance. You can play music with your friends and you can make friends in connection with music. So I play with Kriszta Nagy painter (Tereskova), ef Zámbó Öcsi (Happy Dead Band), Pocsolyás form the VW service and so on.



There are many wonderful moments and funny experiences in the life of a musician over the years. We gave the first jazz concert in Tibet with the Dresch Quartet in Lhasa, which is now under Chinese domain. We had a performance in a Californian city (Old City) and in the break we went wash gold in the creek nearby. A black fisherman was staring at us strangely, and we started to feel ashamed when he explained that there is more gold after storms. In the capital of Ujguria, Ürümcsi, in the Opera House we performed a street theatrical version of Sándor Petőfi's "The Hammer of the Village" with a great success. In Peking I made a Hungarian fish soup, besides playing music, in Miss Jin Xing, a dancer's restaurant, who had been a man some years before. I played in palaces and in dusty streets to both ministers and criminals. I ate cherry from the same bowl with Pharoah Sanders on the jazz festival in Paris. I could made records with my earlier idols (Roscoe Mitchell, Archie Shepp saxophonists). Recently I forced a CD to the main district attorney of the USA, in the Paprika Restaurant in Chicago. Some years ago there was much ado in Louisiana in the Hilton Hotel, because Muhammad Ali had announced his return in jest. We go with the gipsy boys into the bar at night, and there is great exclamation, waving, so I thought we were mistaken for the old guy (our guitarist is a quite stout fellow), but we were not! They had listened to the concert we held in the synagogue. In Germany I made the tour instead of lying with a limb in a plaster of Paris. In San Rafael, while we were playing a Macedonian "belly dance", I jumped off from the stage to a table to play a Hungarian folk song. That single strophe would have been worth for the wage of 12 hours work at home. In Brussels we were playing on some prince's wedding, and one of favourites, the pickled herring was offered, which made our double baser to vomit. He cannot stand seafood. Anyway I do like it! Although I have not eaten so many lobsters even in Japan, as on a ship in Budapest when were playing with the Latin Combo Band for a Hungarian mafia leader. I have also been to Corleone, as the last stage of our Sicilian tour, where the "headquarters staff" had listened to us before - I think - they gave their agreement to it. We have made a successful forced landing with Mesan Waszlawik bass guitarist’s helicopter near Dunaújváros. In Kazahsztán the hygiene was so bad that the first evening we drank four litres of brandy, for disinfecting. On the Canary Islands we were surfing the waves for a whole month, when the owner of the lending shop came into the bar and we got acquainted. Next day we got a surf from him for free. We gave it back to him after a half hour. - Well, it is easy, you cannot play, just sit on the board and it takes you to the shore! - We have given the strongest free musical concert with the MAKÚZ in the Art Gallery in Szombathely, its title was "Watching into the well". It lasted from A.M. 10 to P.M. 9. It was a really fantastic experience. We made rehearsals regularly over several years in the then Kassák Club, and many times we made recordings, too. These were the greatest musical pieces, although they were not published anywhere. You know that the clear sounds and the authentic resonations do not cease to exist but they can still be heard somewhere in the ethereal universe.