Born in 1957 to a poor gypsy family in Hungary, Ferenc Snétberger was inspired by his father's music since his childhood years. "My father was the best guitar player around. He had a style that was very much his own." French tourists who listened to him playing in bars occasionally compared his music to Django Reinhardt's. When Ferenc was 13 years old, his father allowed him to attend a music school where he learned to play the classical guitar. He soon fell in love with the music of J.S. Bach and won several awards at classical competitions.
At the same time, Ferenc played at weddings and in night bars and was familiar with jazz, bossa nova, gypsy style and other popular musics. So in addition to his classical training, he decided to study the jazz guitar at the Budapest Conservatory. "You couldn't develop your own style at the conservatory," Ferenc says. "So when I heard Egberto Gismonti at a festival one day, it was a tremendous experience. This was just the direction I wanted to go myself." Besides Gismonti, it was the music of jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall that inspired Snétberger not to aim at a classical career. Instead, classical technique and esthetics became an integral part of his individual stylistic mix that includes jazz improvisation, Brazilian rhythms and gypsy roots on the highest level of virtuosity and soulfulness.
On his new album, "Obsession," Snétberger presents a beautiful jazz/bossa-oriented trio music that comes out of the tradition of Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida and American samba pioneer Charlie Byrd while touching new dimensions of artistic shaping. Says German weekly Die Welt: "Ferenc Snétberger proves to be a cosmopolitan musician, a mediator of multi-cultural values. High art of guitar playing!"
Ferenc Snétberger Trio plus David Friedman: Signature (ENJ-9017 2)
Ferenc Snétberger solo: The Budapest Concert (TIP-888 823 2)
Some other recordings by