Gyorgy Szabados, father of Hungarian free jazz, dies at 71

2011.06.12. 11:43


The Hungarian composer and pianist Gyorgy Szabados, who has been called the father of Hungarian free jazz, died late Friday, aged 71, his family told MTI.

Szabados was born in Budapest on July 13, 1939. He showed musical talent and a desire to compose already as a small child. He later found in jazz the language with which to give form to his improvisational talents, although this is not to say he was clearly a jazz musician.

Szabados's music is extraordinarily dynamic, at once traditional and modern, European yet also specifically Hungarian. It is full of spontaneity, freshness and spirit. His work is based on a harmony of composition and free improvisation.

Szabados won the San Sebastian Jazz Festival Grand Prize in the free jazz category in 1972. He was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Prize in 1983, the For Hungarian Art Prize in 2000, the Szabo Gabor Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and the Hungarian Jazz Prize in 2008. Szabados was presented the Kossuth Prize, Hungary's highest official honour for artists, at a ceremony in Parliament on March 15 of this year.