by Icrom Bigrad
Guitarist Andreas Varady was discovered by the legendary producer Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2012 when the guitarist was only 15 years old. Varady’s debut on Resonance Records soon followed, and since that time, the talented guitarist has continued to grow and wow players and fans alike. He has performed with: Frank Vignola, Andreas Oberg, Casey Benjamin, Terell Stafford, Lee Ritenour, Stochelo Rosemberg, Alfredo Rodriguez, Nikki Yanofsky, Henry Cole, Reiner Elizarde, Louis Stewart, Soweto Kinch, and many more. Varady is a Benedetto artist and plays his own signature variation of the Bambino model guitar. Varady has won over the ears of Bob Zievers, George Benson’s agent, as well as the famous record producer and music executive David Foster. In the fall of 2013, Foster signed Varady to his record label, Verve records. Now, in 2018 the guitarist is making his Resonance Records debut with a new album entitled, The Quest.
The Quest also features Varady’s father (Bandi) on bass and his younger brother, Adrian (15), on drums, along with pianist Benito Gonzalez and saxophonist Radovan Tariška. The ten tracks on the album are full of lovely melodies, hip feels and extraordinary improvisation. Varady’s guitar tone is warm and clear. His lines are fluid and one can certainly hear that he grew up listening to Pat Metheny, but make no mistake, Varady has his own style and language! Both Bonzalez and Tariška play prodigiously and make this album a blast from start to finish.
“Radio Joint” is a high-spirited track. Starting with a syncopated figure that is used to spin the angular melody as Varady demonstrates that his compositional chops are just as strong as his guitar chops. The composition has multiple sections, feels and develops nicely over time. Varady’s solo is energetic and interactive with Adrian’s kit. He builds his lines and allows space for the music to breath. His use of dissonant intervals is also quite interesting. Tariška’s solo follows, full of passion and in the same musical language and intensity. Gonzalez’s solo is full of stylish chords and flowing pentatonic’s that build to tell a musical story. Exceptional track!
“Radiska” continues to keep the energy high and the band is on fire. The up-tempo selection allows Varady to demonstrate his formidable guitar chops once again, but he never over plays or losses his sense of melodic development and strong ability to convey a clear sense of time through his lines. Adrian and Gonzalez do a fine job of building the intensity under Varady and the result is a entertaining selection that will lend a better understanding of what so many heavy weight jazz figures hear in Varady’s playing.
The Quest is sure to take Varady a notch higher in the ‘best of the best’ guitar players. The set is a fun listen and full of fine compositions. The ensemble constantly delivers that percolating beat that makes a decidedly difference in an albums overall level of enjoyment and impact. The drums, bass, piano and saxophone all complement Varady’s musical vision. His playing soars with superb melodic statements that build each composition to its highest purpose. The album has nice chord changes that catch the ear, and melodies that stick to create a thematically brilliant statement. The Quest will certainly fill a need for all of us jazz listeners that are on the never-ending quest to discover and devour new and impactful music.