Lucian Ban - piano
Mat Maneri - viola
Raliph Alessi - trumpet & flugelhorn
Albrecht Maurer - violin
Tony Malaby - saxophones
Badal Roy - tablas
John Herbert - double bass
Gerald Clever - drums

Syunnyside Records 2010, recored live at George Enesco International Festival 2009 in Bucharest, Romania, september 20th 2009 by Lucian Balas, Paradigma Productions, mastered by Max Ross at Systems 2 Studios, Brooklyn Non.2009


order at:

Sunnyside Communications

348 west 38th street, suite 12B

New York, NY, 10018

Tel.: +1 212 564 4606



1. Aria et Scherzino, Aria - 6:37
2. Octet for Strings Opus 7 - 14:51
3. Sonota No 3 Opus 25 Malincolico - 9:07
4. Sonota No 3 Opus 25 Misterioso - 10:45
5. Orchestral Suite No 1 Opus 9 Prelude - 8:55
6. Suite No1 for Piano Opus 3, Adagio - 7:10
7. Symphony No 4, Marziale - 13:57

alle Arrangements von George Enesco Kompositionen sind von Lucian Ban und John Hébert.

CD details:

„... Regarded as one of the few classical geniuses of the past century as a violinist, Enescu’s brilliant work as a composer has been under recognized for decades. He was born in Liveni, Romania in 1881 where he began music studies at age four. Enesco showed promise from an early age studying at the Vienna Conservatoire and later in Paris with Gabriel Faure and Andre Gedalge. By his early twenties, he had made a number of impressive debuts as a violin soloist and composed a number of major works (including his well known Romanian Rhapsodies). Enesco had a long relationship with the United States, visiting yearly from 1923 to 1949. During that span, he conducted a number of major orchestras, performed as a violinist, and taught at a number of American universities (most notably Mannes). By 1930 Enescu was considered one of the most famous musicians of his time, conducting all major orchestras, performing & recording some of the definitive interpretations of Bach violin works (many with Yehudi Menuhin), and collaborating closely with such great musicians of 20th century like Pablo Casals, Jacques Thibaud, David Oistrakh, Edouard Risler and Alfred Cortot. Enescu split his time between Bucharest and Paris but finally left Romania in 1946 to teach in the US (most notably at Harvard, Princeton, and Mannes) after the Communist takeover of the country. He passed away in Paris in 1955.

Romanian born, New York based pianist/composer Lucian Ban was familiar with Enescu’s work from his study in Romania but really fell under his spell upon receiving a commission from the George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest to arrange the composer’s work. Upon rediscovery, Ban was immediately drawn and stunned by the depth of Enescu’s catalogue: “I’ve found that many of Enescu’s works, some of which are lesser known, have a structure and a feeling resembling that of jazz; this was the starting point for wanting to present his music in a new light, together with an ensemble featuring some of the most daring musicians of today.” In 2006, Ban started a workshop in an effort to play and re-interpret the Enescu’s compositions using methods garnered from jazz, classical, and contemporary music. In 2008 after receiving the Festival commission, Ban invited his friend, bassist John Hébert, to collaborate on the project and really dig into Enescu’s work. The intention was to “re-imagine” some of Enescu’s lesser known pieces. To assist in their effort, Ban visited the vaults of the Enescu Museum in Bucharest where he was allowed access to the original scores of Enescu’s work.

Enescu Re-Imagined was recorded live at the 2009 George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest on September 20, 2009. Ban and Hébert put together an amazing ensemble to perform these compositions that span the composer’s entire career. The performers included trumpeter Ralph Alessi, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, violist Mat Maneri, violinist Albrecht Maurer, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and tabla player Badal Roy. “Aria et Scherzino” is a melodic masterpiece that features a unique ascending open string violin along with a tremendous tenor sax solo from Malaby. “Octet for Strings Opus 7” is one of Enescu’s earliest works (he was all of 19 when it was written). Its modal theme presented an intensity that Badal Roy’s tabla fits under perfectly. Enescu was well known for his use of Romanian folk themes. This device is best represented by the “Sonata No. 3 for Violin & Piano Opus 25.” The first two movements are represented here and illustrate the influence of Romanian gypsy fiddle virtuosos on Enescu. Rounding out the CD is “Symphony No. 4 (Unfinished).” Enescu began work on the piece in 1928 but never finished it. “Especially in Marziale, the 2nd movement we ‘attacked’ the themes and lines which seemed…almost lifted from the best of Ellington or Mingus orchestral charts. John’s bass line is the one Enescu wrote in his score and I heard immediately the melodies played with our ensemble,” comments Ban.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the leaders, supporting each other as both composer and musician, though they come from very different backgrounds. Ban was born in the town of Cluj in Transylvania, Romania. After studying piano and composition at the Bucharest Music Academy, he moved to New York City to study at New York’s famed New School Jazz Program. Since then, Ban has played and recorded with some of the best jazz musicians around, including Sam Newsome, Alex Harding, Abraham Burton, Nasheet Waits, Bob Stewart, Barry Altschul, and Reggie Nicholson. Hébert was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he also attended Loyola University. He then moved to New York to study with Rufus Reid at William Patterson University. Since then, Hébert has been a highly in demand bassist for musicians like Andrew Hill, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, Paul Motian, and Fred Hersch, among many others.


This is a wonderful piece of work, and hats off to Sunnyside for its foresight in seeing the ingenuity from Lucian Ban's perspective. Violinist Albrecht Maurer's work, as well as that of violist Mat Maneri, together with the rest of the ensemble—especially the percussionists-are additional testaments to this fine album.

Raul d'Gama Rose All About Jazz

Enesco Re-Imagined is visionary third-stream music. That’s undercounting the streams, actually; the album is a compound of musical compounds.

While Maurer is the major melodic force, Roy makes the album. His tablas supplement the Gypsy dance rhythms and provide the backbone to “Octet for Strings, Op. 7,” and he combines the percussion with vocal chants on three other tracks. The effect is particularly stirring on “Orchestral Suite No. 1, Opus 9: Prelude,” when Roy melds with Hébert and Cleaver in the low-key but relentless thump of the fusion era, while Maneri improvises darkly over it. Nearly as powerful is Alessi, whose trumpet work is unblemished and elegant. He weeps on “Aria et Scherzino, Aria,” glories in flourishing “Octet for Strings,” and all but prances out of the speakers with his solo (interpolated by Ban) on “Sonata No. 3, Op. 25-Malincolio.”

Nevertheless, Hébert and Ban are the stars here. The pianist insists in his liner notes that Enesco belongs in the pantheon of 20th-century composers, and this recording places Ban and Hébert among the great 21st-century interpreters.

Michael J. West

July 12, 2011 | Enesco Re-Imagined CD makes BEST OF 2010 JJA lists Enesco Re-Imagined CD makes quite a few of "BEST OF 2010" lists, including the ones from Jazz Jouranlists Association . . . and lots of great reviews. Please visit the Press section of Lucian Ban´s homepage to check them out.


Jenny Otto

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Lucian Ban & John Herbert Enesco Re-Imagined