Regős István

Hungarian Jazz-Reeedplayer, Componist, and Teacher

born 1947 in Budapest † 23. März 2012

ISTVÁN REGOS is an important exponent of Hungarian ethno jazz. As a teacher of orchestral practice at the department of jazz of the Budapest Conservatory for over 30 years, he has assisted in raising a new generation of musicians. He started as a pianist in 1972 with the usual standard repertory but soon turned his attention towards folk music. In 1978 he had an opportunity to jam with leading figures of the then still nascent folk school – Mihály Dresch, György Szabados, György Baló, László Becze, Róbert Benko, László Kimmel – and this encounter had an indelible impact on his musical career. Regos is a great fan of John Coltrane, the emblematic figure of black free jazz. Under Coltrane’s influence he traded the piano for the saxophone. ‘The sax is somehow closer to my heart than, for example, the piano. There’s no mechanics involved here that would come between soul and music. The saxophone is to me a vocal experience, and more – on the sax I try to express what I cannot sing, from shouting through crying to laughter.’
Among his more important works is an orchestral rearrangement of Coltrane’s Love Supreme for his own ensemble, the In Memoriam John Coltrane Big Band (1977-78). This was followed, while he was still a pianist, by several Hungarian-flavoured free-jazz arrangements and compositions for a wide range of formations (big band, string quartet, trio, duo and solo).
In his longest-lasting formation (1990-98), the Regos Quartet, he already played the tenor and soprano saxophones as his chief instrument. His only album released to date, Verbunkos (Recruiting Music), was also recorded with the Quartet (Gábor Cselik – piano, Tibor Csuhaj-Barna – upright bass, and György Jeszenszky – drums). The record is one of the most conscious, most beautifully crafted and arranged works of ethno jazz.
   The folk tradition in Regos’s compositions, apart from the straightforward adaptation of certain motifs, is present in the atmosphere and structure reminiscent of Hungarian folk songs and ballads. The tone of his sax, bitter one moment and wailing the next, takes its inspiration from folk songs which collectors have marked with parlando and rubato performance notes. If his saxophone sounds sad, it never conveys a sense of dejection or weakness. Instead, we feel the same masculine power that characterises folk laments and blues songs. Regos’s well-rounded, unpretentious but very much to-the-point and determined music is like the persistent but not too strong autumn wind on the Great Hungarian Plain.

(written by Zoltán Szerdahelyi)

Involved in György Szabados "Body of Work":

Member of

1984, 18 August: Concert in Kisörspuszta with Szabados György Sextet:

György Szabados (piano)
Mihály Dresch (reeds)
Benkő Róbert (double bass)
Baló István (perc.)
Regős István (reeds)
Tüzkő Csaba ( reeds)


Participate on concert from 1985, 14 March, at Kassák Klub, Budapest
Concert was dedicated to the memory of László Fejes
other Musicians who contribute as known:

Szabados György – piano
Bontovics Kati – vocal
Benkő Róbert – double bass
Dresch Mihály – reeds
Baló István – percussion
Gonda János – piano
Kimmel László – reeds
Lőrinszky Attila – double bass
Friedrich Károly – trombone
and unknown others
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