It was with Hungarian gypsy fiddler Roby Lakatos that Deutsche Grammophon took its first hesitant dip into crossover, but his first CD hung around for years because the company couldn't decide how to market it. No such problems here: Later With Lakatos
was recorded live on his group's recent return to Budapest after a 17-year absence, and it exudes triumphant assurance. This wild-haired wizard first played in his father's gypsy band when he was nine, and later became a star at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, but his pedigree couldn't be more aristocratic. His great-great-great grandfather was Janos Bihari, among whose admirers were Beethoven, Liszt and Brahms. When he takes liberties, as here, with themes by Liszt and Strauss, you feel he has a perfect right to.
This new CD is jazzier and more clubby than his first, Lakatos, but his virtuosity--and that of his pianist and cimbalom player--is still fastidious. These tracks are by turns wild and sweetly elegiac; the lush textures and tumbling harmonies ride along on exhilarating gypsy rhythms, with the soloists sometimes chasing each other like Keystone Cops. The track which draws most tenderness from Lakatos' violin is called Minute for Menuhin: nice, because it was Yehudi (with Stephane Grapelli) who spotted him in the first place.--Michael Church