KJAZZ Radio UK welcomes a hot talent from Budapest Zolbert. Playing a seductive, youthful blend of contemporary jazz and funk, saxophonist Zolbert is one of the most promising young talents on the Hungarian music scene. With the release of his debut album,One (Tom-Tom, 2015), he is reaching out to international audiences, presenting brand new original material that will thrill contemporary jazz fans the world over.
After a stint on the drums, Zolbert picked up the saxophone in his mid-teens, spurred on by the discovery of Grover Washington, Jr., David Sanborn and Everette Harp. He also drew inspiration from the music of Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Brian Culbertson. Fast forward to 2009, when he put together a tribute band to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passing of his musical hero, Grover Washington, Jr. Originally assembled for a one-off event, it evolved into the Grover Washington, Jr. Memorial Band – a unit that fast became a stalwart of the local jazz scene, playing regularly in Budapest and also in Switzerland. Buoyed by the band’s success, Zolbert developed his own material and took the plunge to go solo. In 2013 one of his early compositions, Frappé, won the first prize in a smooth jazz club’s song contest.
In 2014 he won the grand prize in the annual song contest on 90.9 Jazzy, Budapest’s leading jazz station. His music was soon on heavy rotation, and the exposure earned him a deal with Tom-Tom Records, one of Hungary’s best-known independent labels.
“The first step towards creating anything is inspiration” says Zolbert, speaking about his debut album, produced and mixed by Peet Project leader Péter Ferencz (Peet). “I gain inspiration from a number of things, not only music. I’m a big fan of fine dining and
great wines. I love dogs and I take part in charity events for animal shelters and also childcare institutions. These things keep me inspired, spirited and passionate about everything I do. I hope you will hear this reflected in my music.”
Aptly titled One and recorded exclusively with live instruments, the album features eleven original compositions and serves up a refreshing mix of great melodies and tasteful grooves. “I wanted to build on the traditions of smooth jazz, but we also strove to stretch the boundaries and throw in elements of all the musical styles that I love, including 70s and 80s music” he says. One was released worldwide on May 1, 2015.