From Budapest by way of Washington DC, writer, producer and keyboard player Attila Molnar is currently in the United Kingdom as part of smooth jazz superstar Peter White’s touring band. When recently I caught up with him at the Cinnamon Club, in the southern suburbs of Manchester, he had just come off stage after playing the first set of the first night of White’s now customary UK autumn tour and I began by asking him what the experience had been like.
“In fact” Attila said, “this is the first ever time I have played with Peter. Prior to travelling here I had received the charts etc by e-mail but, other than this afternoon when we arrived at the venue to grab a few hours of practice, this is where it all starts.”
Clearly the enthusiasts who packed this northern outpost of contemporary jazz could have been excused for thinking the band had been performing together for years but this knack Peter White has for enlisting the very best has been proven time and time again. When, during the show, he generously turned over the spotlight to his supporting players, Molnar thrilled the crowd with ‘The Best’ from his own album ‘Dreams’. It is a tune that previously I have described as being a melodic mid tempo charmer and I asked him about plans I had heard to re-release ‘Dreams’ with some additional tracks.
“For 2012” he explained “we are taking things in a slightly different musical direction. It’s going to be about all new music. I have a new studio back in the USA and am currently pulling together the tracks for a brand new contemporary jazz project. I would also like to release a Christmas album.”
For most musicians that would be more than enough but, then again, Attila Molnar is not most musicians. I had heard about his fascination with the movie soundtrack as an art form and wondered if he had any ambitions in that direction.
“As a boy” he told me “I was trained in modern classical music and for as long as I can remember I have been a huge admirer of the composer John Williams. The matching of a film with the music that supports it is, for me, crucial and Williams’ music for the ‘Star Wars’ movies is a superb case in point. I have actively been writing with movies in mind and maybe as a first step in reaching out to the film industry I intend to release a collection of my more classical pieces.”
That certainly sounded like a lot of work but, since 1997 and his arrival in the USA from Hungary, his propensity for hard work has never been in doubt.
“Without a green card” he explained “there was no prospect of me ever working as a professional musician. Then I saw an advertisement for a position as a supervisor. It included sponsorship toward gaining residents status so I went for it.”
I asked how difficult that period of his life had been.
“In the event” he said “it took eight more years to attain that all important right to perform. There were many times when I almost gave up, when we almost went back to Hungary. But my wife and I talked about it and agreed we would keep on trying. It’s like the American Dream that everyone talks about.”
In 2005 Attila produced, co-wrote, and recorded the CD ‘I Got Your Back’ for Toni Hutchinson and also formed a powerful liaison with rising sax star Jaared
“We had become really good friends” Attila revealed. “The chance to play keyboards in his touring band proved to be a wonderful opportunity. In fact the last time I performed in the UK was with Jaared. I also played with him in Dubai.”
I was reminded of a comment that Attila made to me during a previous conversation.
“Ever since I was a kid in Hungary” he had told me “music has been playing in my head. Rhythms, melodies and the tunes they combine to create. Now is the time to bring that music out into the open, so that it can be heard, so that people can enjoy it.”
Now, with 2012 beckoning and a growing fan base in the United Kingdom, this could indeed be his time.