We visited the world famous jazz guitarist Attila Zoller in Hotel Alba Regia before his
concert. He gave a warm reception to us and didnt put down his instrument during our
conversation emphasing this interview by his music. Our first question concerned his band.
"Is there any kind of a constant Zoller group at the moment?" -
"No. On every occassion I played with groups of different formation and this meets
the musical conception I follow. All of my sidemen here in Fehérvár are old friends. For
example, I played with Albert Mangelsdorff in Frankfurt in the early 50s and since that
time we appeared together in many cases from Berlin to Newport, we also made a few
records, too. I like playing together with Barre Philips and Stu Martin very much, they
really understand my musical ideas, I can not imagine a better rhythm section. My best
friend who is closest to me musically among all of my partners is Don Friedman. I played
in Herbie Manns group when I knew him personally although I heard his playing earlier.
I have to state that he had a great influence on me at once. It s a pity he couldn t come
now although there was our common appearance in the plans..."
"Tell us please a few words on that interesting symptom that there s a
growing number of American jazz musicians settled in Europe recently. What is the
"Simply because there s not so big amount of jazz lovers in America as it s
believed by many people here in Europe. Although there are many jazz fans even in the
younger generation. One of the biggest problems is the infantile affection of the American
public for the fashionable, up-to-date styles, everybody must play according to the latest
fashion in music, too... Jim Crow /racism/ is also a very important reason, especially for
the black jazz musicians, of course. And the bigger respect for their art and the easier
living, safer jobs are other causes. I can mention among those who were helped by me to
settle in Europe, first of all, Dave Pike who is almost a native jazzman in Western
Germany for today. I know him since the early 60s playing in Herbie Manns
"What kind of music do you play here in Fehérvár?"
"My new composition written in honour of the Alba Regia Festival in title
"Meetin in Alba Regia". It s a cca. 50 minute free jazz piece, being a little
bit unusual for the audience but we declare ourselves as followers of free improvisation.
It s the most important thing in jazz..."
"Further plans of yours?"
"Playing much, very much to make newer attempts in order to develop our music
further. I also make experiments with new instruments in jazz, I bought a tárogató, for
example. This old Hungarian instrument will bring some new effects into the music played
by us. It s true this is not an easy way since this kind of intellectual music is not so
popular today but we face the difficulties nevertheless. We trust that our music entrances
(tárogató: an old Hungarian musical instrument of Turkish origin, its sound similar
to that of soprano saxophone)
Published in JAZZhiradó - A Benkó Dixieland Klub Tájékoztatója /JAZZcourier -
Bulletin of the Benkó Dixieland Club/ No. 1972/7-8.