Sándor Szabó


acoustic guitar artist, composer

The Great Masters Of Resonance


Sandor Szabo/ Kevin Kastning: Resonance

Sandor Szabo is a determining figure of the Hungarian acoutic guitar life since decades. In 1986 their first record had been released ( Ritual Of A Spiritual Communion) together with Balazs Major percussionist. With this album he entered the international scene of the acoustic guitar.
In the last decades Sandor played and collaborated together with countless musicians. A few weeks ago he played a tour with Dominic Miller ( the guitar player of the Sting Band) and Kevin Kastning composer/guitar player from the States. Sandor and Kevin played some duo pieces from their first album called Resonance I am reviewing now.

I think they could not have found better title of such an album as Resonance. Most of the people has attraction to any kind of resonances because they instinctly know that the resonance of the music is an elementary fenomenal of the universe. They noticed that certain kind and quality of resonances can change their mental as well as the spiritual state.

When we start to listen Sandor Szabo/Kevin Kastning: Resonance album we enter the world of resonances where the sounds can almost be touched, where the resonances simultaneously contact our physical and mental entity but which is even more important they contact the deepest layer of our soul in a timeless dimension.

That is why the Resonance can be classified as „multi-layer” album. There is a surface layer which for certain listeners can be entertaining but never in a popular way, and a much deeper and stronger spiritual layer. Due to this latter the music unawares burgle to our consciousness like the smell of our favourite drink or meal. But while the smell is physical the music creates a spiritual thirstyness in the perception.

There are 13 pieces on the album, each of them are common compositions. It is enough to have a look at the titles of the pieces ( for example Another Face of the Beauty, the Long Tale of the Ocean, the Two Pilgrims; One Path, etc.) our spiritual fantasy starts immediately. The musicians thought it is worth to walk around some themes more times, so The Totem has two, the Tanz Grotesque has three versions.

This album offers something very special not only musically but also in sound quality which is far beyond and above the commerse so it is worth to listen it carefully several times.

Sandor Szabo/Kevin Kastning: Resonance

„-After listening repeatedly to "Resonance" I can hardly wait to hear
the second Szabor/Kastning effort, especially since, amazingly
enough, it is already "in the can" so to speak. The first thing
coming to my mind is how the two players hit it off, Kevin's
understated and sober playing blends wonderfully with Sandor's more
flamboyant and virtuosistic style, although sometimes it is difficult
to know who plays what when the music becomes more sparse. The guitar
tones are gorgeous, although in baritone-land, the sound is never
muddy nor lacks definition. And definition and purity is all about
how this CD has been recorded, I was always impressed by the tone of
Kevin's recordings, it is rare to hear such unadulterated, rich and
pure guitar sounds. The music spans a diverse range of influences,
much more than what I'm accustomed to hear with the Kastning/
Siegfried duet, becoming sometimes a tad jazzy, poppy (as in
"accessible melody"), but always rich in polytonality, coherent in
style and I want to stress, easy to listen to. No need to hold a PhD.
in musicology to enjoy Resonance… I am not sure how much is
improvised vs. written music for each track, but it all sounds as if
it's coming from the same well, another testament to the musical
brotherhood quickly forged between the two players.”

(Laurent Brondel, producer)


Reviews and Quotes for Resonance


"Having been an avid listener of Kevin's work for many years, I was just stunned at the huge leap his music has taken with this collaboration with Sandor Szabo. I was honored with the privilege of designing the graphics for the album, and so I am quite close to it and possibly slightly biased, but still when I first heard the pieces here I was very excited at having my work associated with something so special.

Kevin's abstract style combined with Sandor's almost at times almost frantic one seems to have conjured something extraordinary, and altogether different for the both of them {although I have only heard one of Sandor's albums}. Kevin's extended baritone in particular, just resounds orchestrally, its deep tones complimented perfectly by Sandor's higher-pitched baritone, especially in Intense Chemistry, which at times even gets a little funky. While the instruments themselves sound amazing, I believe it's Kevin and Sandor's combined styles of playing them, their beautiful improvised pieces that sound so pre composed, that give the guitars such a wonderful voice. The recorded sound quality is so crisp and clear that it seems like I have these two playing right here in my living room. The final track, Fantasy for door harp, is a delightful little sign-off to the album.

It is also quite exciting that this is the first ever recording of 12-string baritone duets, hardly surprising as Kevin invented this "piano like" instrument. With the subsequent invention of the extended baritone, and a new guitar design underway, I think we can expect more interesting and wonderful sounds from this duo in the future.

I truly love this album and enjoy it more each time I play it, each time hearing some new little nuance I had missed previously. I am indeed very proud to be a part of it."

- Lea Hawkins, artist and graphic designer (Australia)
Sándor Szabó/Kevin Kastning: Resonance
On the basis of this disc, I feel confident saying that Sándor Szabó and Kevin Kastning
are both remarkable guitar players and remarkable musicians. Their disc of baritone guitar duos feels like a summit meeting of players in complete sympathy with each other, operating on the same wavelength. (For those wondering about the baritone guitar, it has an intimate, smoky sound, and can be heard doubling the voice on “Into the Fire”, from Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising.
The music on the disc is a collection of pieces that Szabó and Kastning composed together. There isn’t enough documentation with the disc to tell how written out the pieces are or how much of the composition took place in studio. In either case, they are meticulously planned and executed pieces, mostly tonal and contrapuntal, with some excursions to the edge of pantonality. The pieces are well-constructed, with a casual, lived-in feeling. The recording is excellent. The sound of the guitars is clean and warm, with clear attacks and no distortion.

Sandor Szabo & Kevin Kastning “Resonance” 2007
Greydisc Records

Kevin Kastning & Sandor Szabo are both acoustic guitar players
who excel in creating experimental guitar music which consists of
creating musical sound escapades with deep layers. As well Kevin
Kastning as Sandor Szabo received critical acclaim in the press and
by the audience for their earlier released CD's. The compositions on
“Resonance” consists of duets for 12 string extended baritone guitars.
Both players interact extremely well on all the mostly improvised
pennings. There is a constant flow of emotions going on of the
unconscious mind, painted in a creative and experimental setup.
The opening track of “Resonance”, “Another Face of the Beauty”
excels in great dynamics and at times it has a feeling of a classical
and complicated composed piece of art. On “Songs of The Wind”
deep basses and high tones weave together in a universal feeling.
“Intense Chemistry” has a lot of structure and has a evocative
setup with intense chemistry between the two guitarists. “Long
Tale of the Ocean” is a constant communication between the soul
and the ocean, both are merged together. On “A Solitary Cypress”
there is a process going on of opposite directions. “First Confluence”,
is a sound sculpture of the progression of two souls connecting.
The music of Sandor Szabo & Kevin Kastning is very demanding
for a listener, one has to be open for new experiences on processes
going on in the human soul and Mother Nature's elements who try
to connect with each other. Enjoy the journey!

Henk te Veldhuis
Bridge Guitar Reviews
© 2007

Sándor Szabó/Kevin Kastning:Resonance (Greydisc Records)


This disc will most definitely not be for everyone, but those for whom it has been specifically crafted will be delighted, a set of spacious, abstract, and airy penseés on the intelligently pastelline—albeit darkly hued—virtues of two acoustic guitars joined in structured improv dependent only upon the moody cast of the entire selection's grey shadowy flavors. Many years ago, two giants, John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner, came together to create ECM's killer Sargasso Sea, and it set the standard, a highwater mark rarely attempted let alone pulled off. A lustrum beyond, they issued the return meeting, Five Years Later, to general ecstasy. Resonance is like the third meeting, this time with Towner & Abercrombie being joined by Bill Connors in his ECM heyday. That is to say: Szabo and Kastning are a good deal darker than Ralph and John had been, following Connors' Mist and Melting peregrinations.
Now, it should be known that Abercrombie & Towner cannot be surpassed, that's just the set rule, but this duo has made the finest task of it to date. Many hoped Larry Coryell might have braved the venture in his many collabs with Steve Khan, Philip Catherine, and such—somewhat as he had in earlier ensemble releases, The Restful Mind and Spaces, almost catching the quintessence but not quite —but, as thrilling as those LPs were, they weren't of the order of Sargasso Sea. Resonance, however, comes damnably, impressively close. Very satisfying, it persistently etches itself in mercurialities, evanescence, and threnody, boasting a use of baritone guitars exclusively, hand-crafted instruments yielding rich tones and meaningful shades.
It's ironic that one of the players shares a surname with a revered elder now passed on, Gabor Szabo, because the thoughtfulness and choices demonstrated by Sandor are akin to Gabor's consummate playmanship. I was fortunate to catch Gabor at Redondo Beach's long-famed Lighthouse not long before he died, apparently of complications arising from heroin addiction, and, even in the throes of his struggle with the drug, he could peel off some of the most fascinating lines amidst what had then become a descending lite jazz denouement in his career.
Fortunately for guitar romantics, Sandor possesses none of these problems and embraces what Gabor had displayed in such classics as Mizrab while pushing well beyond. This CD is an hour-long spree of slowly shifting Dantean environments and atonal wanderings in fields close by yet far from the safe pastures of urbanity. Wild is the heather here, foggy the banks, and mysteriously does the day pass in reveries and echoing tastes. Like many such releases, it works beautifully as background chiaroscuro or closely followed fare. Either mode repays the attentions given, but it is not—and I can't stress this firmly enough—of an ilk with the New Age duets the disc might initially be mistaken for (the cover is very pleasant two-toned abstract canvas). Such things are 99% milk-blooded tomfoolery, while Resonance breathes, whispers, cajoles, sulks, and hypnotizes in an extremely literate fashion. Therefore, do not send to know for whom the muttering minor chords ring, they beckon thee.

(Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker)

Sándor Szabó/Kevin Kastning:Resonance (Greydisc Records)


The abstact expressionist painting on the cover of "Resonance" is fitting. This collection of haunting baritone guitar duets is a thrilling reminder that music is art as well as entertainment. Kastning, a Massachusetts native, is a pioneer in modern acoustic guitar composition, a world seldom visited by mainstream listeners.
In his latest offering Kastning teams up with Hungarian virtuoso Sándor Szabó to produce thirteen puzzling pieces that may be best described as acoustic soundscapes. The album is unmelodic and occasionally atonal (there isn't a single track you can hum), so you won't want it for your daily commute. But the staccato back-and-forth of "Resonance" can be disturbingly peaceful and inspiring for those with enough time to develop an intimate relationship with it. Listen to this disc alone while you're writing, painting, cooking, or whatever it is you consider your art, and see where it takes you.
(New England Music Reviews)

Sándor Szabó & Kevin Kastning: "Resonance," 2007 Sándor Szabó's and Kevin Kastning's first collaboration, "Resonance," is a remarkably accessible collection of modern experimental guitar duets. The release is also the first-ever recording featuring the extended 12 string baritone guitar in a duet setting. Kastning has recently released several critically acclaimed albums for Greydisc, while Szabó is a Hungarian virtuoso with over twenty solo albums to his credit on European labels. On this recording the two kindred spirits adventurously explore a variety of musical pallets from chamber to symphonic and from modern to traditional folk. Together they construct beautifully written and performed compositions which feature sensitive dialoguing and improvisation. All of these sonic explorations are captured on 24-bit digital technology resulting in a recording that is as rich and lush as the spacious musical sketches the musicians create. This album is highly recommended for all listeners wanting to hear music that challenges the boundaries of acoustic guitar in a provocative but thoroughly engaging manner. © James Scott Minor 7th


Gondola Magazine, Hungary
The Great Masters Of Resonance

Sandor Szabo/ Kevin Kastning: Resonance

"Sandor Szabo is a determining figure of the Hungarian acoustic guitar life since decades. In 1986 their first record had been released (Ritual Of A Spiritual Communion) together with Balazs Major percussionist. With this album he entered the international scene of the acoustic guitar.

In the last decades Sandor played and collaborated together with countless musicians. A few weeks ago he played a tour with Dominic Miller ( the guitar player of the Sting Band) and Kevin Kastning composer/guitar player from the States. Sandor and Kevin played some duo pieces from their first album called Resonance I am reviewing now.

I think they could not have found better title of such an album as Resonance. Most of the people has attraction to any kind of resonances because they instinctively know that the resonance of the music is an elementary phenomenal of the universe. They noticed that certain kind and quality of resonances can change their mental as well as the spiritual state.

When we start to listen Sandor Szabo/Kevin Kastning: Resonance album we enter the world of resonances where the sounds can almost be touched, where the resonances simultaneously contact our physical and mental entity but which is even more important they contact the deepest layer of our soul in a timeless dimension.

That is why the Resonance can be classified as „multi-layer” album. There is a surface layer which for certain listeners can be entertaining but never in a popular way, and a much deeper and stronger spiritual layer. Due to this latter the music unawares burgle to our consciousness like the smell of our favorite drink or meal. But while the smell is physical the music creates a spiritual thirstiness in the perception.

There are 13 pieces on the album, each of them are common compositions. It is enough to have a look at the titles of the pieces ( for example Another Face of the Beauty, The Long Tale of the Ocean, the Two Pilgrims; One Path, etc.) our spiritual fantasy starts immediately. The musicians thought it is worth to walk around some themes more times, so The Totem has two, the Tanz Grotesque has three versions.

This album offers something very special; not only musically but also in sound quality which is far beyond and above the commerce so it is worth to listen it carefully several times."

Features: Szabó Sándor / 6 és 12 string baritone guitars, Kevin Kastning / 6 és 12 string extended baritone guitars

- Czékus Mihály


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