Nobody examines the prehistory of blues in Hungary until now. This matter still needs elaboration. This paper cannot undertake the fully revelation, it just takes the first
timid steps towards research. Following I'll attempt to introduce those outward forms of
blues in Hungary which have the questionable glory of primacy. I kindly appreciate any
additions and/or corrections.
The appearance of the phrase "blues" in the music leterature in Hungary is
dated to 1928 when Antal Molnár's work in title "Jazzband" was issued by
publishing firm Dante. I think it would be interesting to quote word by word all parts
concerning to the subject.
Page 29. "Subtypes of foxtrott: shimmy, chicago and camel-walk, origin of the
blues is the same but it is more swinging, more sentimental, and in its music the melody
plays a greater part (therefore it is sung together with it)+...In the footnote: +Blues =
"Kékek" / Colors Blue-s, i.e. sentimental dance songs in "blue" mood.
(That's the reason why Gershwin's Rahpsody in Blues is known in Hungary under the
title Kék rapszódia = Blue rhapsody - Author's note)
Page 29 again: "even more sentimental is the tango originated before World War I.,
this Mexican dance with variegated choreography..."
Page 112, Notes: Escellent dance music composeres like Billy Arnold, Zez Confrey or Handy,
creator of the blues, don't know to make arrangements."
Blus People (Negro Music in White America) by LeRoi Jones was published by company Europa
in 1970 in its series "Modern Könyvtár" (Modern Library). Translated by
Balázs László, the poems were translated by Péter Dávidházi. This book was printed
in 15900 copies according to its colophone.
The first study on blues by a Hungarian author in title "Music of the Devil"
(In the track of the blues) is waiting for the pecuniary assistance needed to publishing.
(Author of this work is the undersigned).
Blues music appeared in Hungarian record in 1942 for the first time.
Gábor Radics's Jazz Band played Limehouse Blues by British composer Philip Braham. This
32 bar binary measure (2/4) composition is not a real blues.
It was recorded in the Hungarian Radio, and the musicians were as follows: Gábor Radics
(leader, violin), Pál Herrer (clarinet, accordion), Gábor Radics (celesta), Sándor
Horváth (guitar), Aladár Pege Sr. (bass), Árpád "Api" Weisz (drums).
Publisher and catalog number of the record: Durium/Patria D 10029.
Leader Gábor Radics was born in 1906 in Budapest, died in Brazil in 1968. Other Gábor
Radics who was the best vibraphone player in the fifties, born in 1924 in Pécs, Hungary.
Also in 1942 a private recording was made on plastic casted onto glass sheet. Of
course, this recording was made in one copy, and on it one can hear W.C. Handy's
compositions St. Louis Blues. Musicians on this recording: György Víg (clarinet), Iván
Zágon (piano) and György Zágon (drums).
In Hungary there was made only one LP by a black blues musician until today. The
recordings of LP "Empty Bottle Blues" (Radiola SLPM 37062) by Philadelphia Jerry
Ricks were made in the studio of theHungarian Radio. There are 10 selections on this LP.
A steady blues program started in October 1984 at the station "Petôfi" of
Hungarian Radio. This series of blues programs by Peter Nemes Nagy was a bi-weekly
broadcasting with a time of quarter hour firstly, later half an hour each. Editor of the
program was Zsuzsa Göczey.
Since January 1992 this program is broadcasted on the same station every Tuesday
between 21.05 and 21.35. The new editor of the program is Sándor Buza.
A black blues musician gave live concert in Hungary for the first time on 15th May 1971
when Champion Jack Dupree played and sang at the Videoton Interjazz Festival in
Székesfehérvár's Vörösmarty Theatre. Gyula Lovas of daily Magyar Nemzet wrote the
following sentences (word by word, again):
"It's a pity that New Orleans born Champion Jack Dupree's performance who is a
representative of Rhythm and Blues living in Europe, was very short despite its great
success, presumably because of limitedtime, so it was impossible for us to have an overall
picture of real values of his playing."
Champion Jack Dupree entertained the guests of Builders Club in Székesfehérvár more
than an hour long through on the night before his official appearance, in exchange of some
drink, of course. The Hungarian blues fans knew at this time one of the wisecracks of
Master Dupree: "No beer, no music."
The first blues festival in Hungary was organized on the 11th August 1989 in the town
of Esztergom. Among the performers there were a country and a jazz group, and the
following blues groups: Nos Bizniss of Vác, S-Modell of Budapest, Dobókocka (Dice) of
Békéscsaba, Udvari Bolondok (Jesters) of Budapest, Tengs Lengs of Budapest, Stáció
(Station) of Esztergom and the Deák Bill Blues Band of Budapest.
The first Hungarian blues group using elecric instruments, the Hobo Blues Band, played
regularly in smaller clubs during the late 70s. In the early 80s they organized an own
club, but only the spiritual "father" of the goup alone is destined for writing
A pub calles Blues Inn started on teh 17th September 1983 at Club Kassák in Zugló (a
district of Budapest). Youth magazin "Magyar Ifjúság" (Hungarian youth) wrote
on the first event:
"... the Blues Inn grew into a great event within 6 hours. It was made a "great
event" by the excellent, happy music of Attila Bodonyi (musician), life-host and his
friends, as well as the heated debate between Péter Rózsa (reporter) with writer István
Csörsz about the situation of Hungarian youth today."
One time host of Blues Inn living now in Australia and working as a mathematician
according to news. As a successor of Blues Inn another club under the name of Komplex
Blues Canteen functioned in Fõvárosi Mûvelõdési Ház (Metropolitan Cultural Center)
of Budapest, hosted by Zoltán Vas.
Outside of the capital city there were resp. are blues clubs or blues inns in action in
Békéscsaba and Tatabánya, Kiskunfélegyháza, Miskolc and Pécs.
Jazzkutatás, 1995. január