If you search for the name of Janos Varga on the progVisions website you will be directed to albums of Art Reaktor and the Janos Varga Project. Seventeen years ago I wrote a review for the wonderful “The Wings Of Revelation I” album. Otherwise you will know Janos as a member and composer of the Hungarian band East. Last year I watched a wonderful DVD of a recent gig of this band. And of course one of the special guests was Janos Varga. Thanks to Janos himself we can now review the new double Live CD “With Heart And Soul” on progVisions. The album was recorded at MOM cultural centre during a special gig for the celebration of his 60th birthday. As special guests the Janos Varga Project invited Luca Kezdy and the wonderful Sturcz Quartet. On the first CD you can find an acoustic session with Janos as fifth member on acoustic guitars.
Janos Varga - guitars; Luca Kezdy - violin; István Király - drums; Zsolt Nagy - keyboards; Gergely Banos - bass; Hristos Tsoukalas - percussion; Kalman Mady - percussion
Andras Sturcz - cello; Gyula Benkõ - viola; Gergely Kuklis - violin; András Csonka - violin
This double CD gives a perfect overview of the world of music of Janos Varga. You can find a selection from the past 17 years. The violin of Luca Kezdy brings the music to the next level. You can enjoy beautiful interactions and duals between the electric guitar and the violin. The music has no geographical boundaries. It is a melting pot of Jazz, Art Rock, Blues, Progressive Rock and World Music. The music is accessible and full of melody.
The special acoustic session with the Sturcz Quartet is one of the highlights of this double album. The acoustic guitar of Janos and the strings of the Quartet are an golden combination. You can hear that the audience responses in a positive way to these special acoustic versions. In the electric sections the violin of Luca Kezdy has an important role. Just listen to songs like “Eldorado” and “East-West Express”. In the later the two percussionists are a nice extension of the rhythm section. In this song all kinds of atmospheres of different parts of the world pass by. The violin solo is one of the highlights of this beautiful composition.
We stay in Middle Eastern atmospheres with the songs “Gallop in the Desert” and “Taj Mahal”. Then we return to Hungary with the song “Springtime in Hungary”. It is an song with nice melodies and an uplifting spirit. You can hear that the musicians are having fun together. Janos has his moments and solo’s on this album but in overall he plays for the compositions. It is all about the music. “Respect for the Master” is a wonderful composition that you can find on his latest studio album “Elixer” (2014). The up tempo track “Dancing Fingers” has influences from Indian music and includes a fine guitar solo. This fits very well with the last song of this double album ... “India”.
On this double Live CD you can find a melting pot of atmospheres. Especially influences from Indian and Middle Eastern worlds. Next to the guitars of Janos Varga the violin of Luca Kezdy plays an important role. You can enjoy lovely interactions between these two instruments. The acoustic session with the classical strings of the Sturcz Quartet is also an highlight. With Heart and Soul is the perfect title for this fine live album.