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Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri | “Transylvanian Dance”

On Transylvanian Dance, Romanian Pianist Lucian Ban and American Violist Mat Maneri Find Fresh Inspiration in Folk Songs and Dance Tunes Collected by

Béla Bartók a Century Ago

Recorded Live in October 2022, the Duo’s Second Album for ECM also Bears Testimony to the Finely Attuned Understanding that Ban and Maneri Have Achieved in Their Long-Running Musical Partnership

Available August 30, 2024

Transylvanian Dance takes as its starting point transcriptions of folk songs and dance tunes collected by Béla Bartók a century ago. For Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri, these pieces have become “springboards and sources of melodic material” for performances “that capture the spirit of the original yet allow us to improvise and bring our own world to them…” Ban explains: “In our process we don’t have any preconceived notions of how we should arrange these songs. Some take a very improvisational approach. Some are more defined compositionally and harmonically. And others combine the folk material with original motives of ours. If you go deeper into the source material, new vistas are opening.”

Recorded live in October 2022 in the context of the Retracing Bartók project in Timișoara, the album also bears testimony to the finely attuned understanding that Ban and Maneri have achieved in their long-running musical partnership.

The Romanian-born pianist and the US violist first played together in 2009, when the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest invited Ban to “re-imagine” Enescu’s music for a cast of jazz players. Maneri’s particular background, informed by classical and contemporary music as well as improvisation, made him an ideal partner for the project. A duet album, Transylvanian Concert (ECM 2313) soon followed, and Ban and Maneri have since collaborated in numerous undertakings, often playing in each other’s bands. Developing the music from the Transylvanian folk transcriptions has become a priority in recent years, with both players finding new freedoms in the material. On the present album, Mat Maneri, taking heed of Bartók’s observations about the “connective tissue” linking the musics of the world, subtly draws influence from Arabian, West African and Korean music as well as from the richly divergent folk sources of Transylvania in his uniquely liquid viola playing.

Lucian Ban moved from Romania to the US in 1999 to get closer to the jazz world that had long inspired him but has latterly drawn on earlier memories in his work. Raised in the rural community of Teaca in Transylvania, some of the first sounds Ban recalls are of traditional music played in the villages. On Transylvanian Dance such recollections come to the surface. But ‘jazz’, of course, is never far away. On “The Boyar’s Doina”, for example, the duo draws inspiration from Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine”, and explores connections between the doina and the blues…

Mat Maneri first appeared on ECM almost 30 years ago, on 1995’s Three Men Walking, one of several albums with his saxophonist/clarinettist father, the improviser, composer and sound poet Joe Maneri. Subsequent recordings with Joe included In Full Cry and the duo album BlessedTales of Rohnlief and Angles of Repose featured the Maneris’ collaborations with bassist Barre Phillips. Mat has also been heard on ECM albums with Robin Williamson and Ches Smith, as well as his own solo violin album Trinity.

Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri bring the music of Transylvanian Dance on the road in the months ahead, with concerts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Biographical and other details at

Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri · Transylvanian Dance

ECM · Release Date: August 30, 2024

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