Istvan Balo

Istvan Balo

Photo: Eva Monath

He was born in Budapest, 1954.

Group playing experiences, Concerts:

He is one of the most prominent figures of the jazz life in Hungary. He also became important part of the European jazz history through his work in the bands of Mihaly Dresch and Gyorgy Szabados. He finished his studies at the Bela Bartok Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department in 1978. Since then, he’s recorded albums and played concerts with leading jazz artist such as Chris Potter, John Tchicai, David Murray, Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Chico Freeman, John Zorn, Matt Darriau, Istvan Regos, Laszlo Des, Janos Masik, Karoly Binder, Gabor Gado, Gyula Babos, Bela Szakcsi Lakatos, Kristof Bacso and more. As a member of Gyorgy Szabados’s band, MAKUZ, he was part of the birth of Hungarian “avantgarde music”. Currently, he is part of Dresch Quartet and the Borbely Muhely. He occasionally plays with bands of Istvan Grencso, Robert Benko, Erno Hock and Miklos Birta. He is also leading his band, the Istvan Balo Project.

Selected Discography:

  • Binder Quintet featuring John Tchicai
  • 1985 - Dresch Quartet: Peti Jubilarni Internacionalni Susret Dzez Muzicara "Naissus Jazz
  • 1987 - Dresch Mihaly: Hazafelé
  • 1988 - Dresch Quartet: Live In Cologne
  • 1989 - Dresch Quartet: Sóhajkeserű
  • 1990 - Dresch Mihaly Quartet: Gondolatok a régiekről
  • 1991 - Brass Age: Blue in Blue
  • 1998 - Szabados Gyorgy: Jelenés (Revelation)
  • 1999 - Gado Gabor: One Glimpse Is Not Enough
  • 2000 - Dresch Quartet: Mozdulatlan utazas (Riding the Wind)
  • 2000 - Nagy Janos: Tancok Fej és iras
  • 2001 - Dresch Mihaly: Szep csendesen (Quiet As It Is)
  • 2002 - Dresch Quartet/Archie Shepp: Hungarian Bebop
  • 2002 - Tuzko Csaba Septet: Zengo ko (Clangorous Stone)
  • 2004 - Dresch Quartet: Egyenes zene (Straight Music)
  • 2005 - Borbely Mihaly Quartet: Meselia Hill
  • 2006 - Borbely-Dresch Quartet: Te+Te
  • 2006 - Nigun: Bale Kulturnik
  • 2009 - Dresch Quartet: Ritka madar (Rare Bird)
  • 2009 - Borbely Mihaly Quartet: Hommage à Kodály
  • 2013 - Dresch Quartet: Kapu es kert
  • 2014 – Miklos Lukacs Trio: Cimbiozis
  • 2014 - Dresch Quartet: Fuhun

Awards and prizes:

  • 2004, Best Jazz Album of the Year (Gramofon) Dresch Quartet: Egyenes zene
  • 2005, Best Jazz Album of the Year (Gramofon) - Borbely Mihaly Quartet: Meselia Hill
  • 2013, Best Jazz Album of the Year (JazzMa) - Dresch Quartet: Kapu es Kert
  • 2013, Best Jazz Ensemble (JazzMa) - Dresch Quartet
  • 2014, Best Jazz Album of the Year (Gramofon) - Dresch Quartet: Fuhun
  • 2015, Outstanding Teacher - Esztergom County Music School 50th Chamber Music Festival