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Deserted Downtown

Jackie Orszaczky
Deserted Downtown

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Jackie Orszaczky
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Family Lore

Jackie Orszaczky
Family Lore

Music Lovers Mourn Band Leader Jackie Orszaczky

Clare Morgan | February 5, 2008

JACKIE ORSZACZKY, a renowned bass guitarist and one of the nation's most influential band leaders of the past 25 years, has died after a long illness.

Orszaczky, 60, died in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on Sunday from complications in his treatment for lymphoma. He had been admitted after collapsing at home.

His last gig was at the Macquarie Hotel in Surry Hills on January 24, a night the trombonist James Greening described as unbelievable. "Since his illness he continued to sing better and better every time I played with him," said Greening, who played with Orszaczky for 25 years. "It was inspiring and really empowering."

On Sunday night some of Orszaczky's close friends returned to the hotel to play and to remember a giant of the music scene.

Greening said Orszaczky's legacy was the way he demonstrated how to create a band that worked in total unity. "He had absolute clarity about what was important in music. Because of this he led with total clarity … and allowed everyone in the group to play at their best."

In his wry and humble way he passed on knowledge not only to those he worked with but to "the hundreds of players who came to see him play," Greening said.

Born in Hungary, Orszaczky moved here in 1974 and soon became an in-demand session bass player and band leader, fronting Marcia Hines's band in the late 1970s. As a muso, arranger and producer he contributed to albums from artists including the Whitlams, Tim Finn, Savage Garden, You Am I, Hoodoo Gurus, Grinspoon and Leonardo's Bride.

John Shand, Herald jazz critic, said this breadth of activity and depth of knowledge set Orszaczky apart. "I can't think of anyone in the entire country who touched so many different musicians in so many different ways."

Orszaczky remained popular in Hungary and attracted 30,000 people at his annual Budapest concerts. He is survived by his partner, the singer Tina Harrod, and two daughters. A private funeral will be held this week and on Sunday from 4pm there will be a wake at the Harold Park Hotel.

Deserted Downtown

Vitamin is pleased to announce the re release of Deserted Downtown from Jackie Orszaczky. This album is a collaboration with fellow Hungarian, guitarist Tibor Tatrai, and marks yet another milestone in Jackie's illustrious career. The album is a diverse and eclectic mixture of original compositions with the songwriting credits shared by Jackie, Tibor and vocalist Tina Harrod.

In many ways the album is a reflection of the multifaceted and ever evolving nature of Jackie's music, drawing at times from the rich traditions of soul and rhythm and blues but always infused with his own unique and very contemporary slant on these genres. On Deserted Downtown Jackie is reunited with former Syrius compatriot Tibor Tatrai, regarded as Hungary's finest blues guitarist whose beautifully clean and crisp picking tone permeates the entire album.


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Rhythms Magazine, Brian Wise

The album is dense with soulful, sensuous songs decorated by either Orszaczky's distinctive voice (along with his piccolo bass playing) or the sultry imploring of his partner Tina Harrod......more

John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

There is a great sweep of material, from the exhilarating dervish swirl of the horn line on Swiss Beret to the forlorn and evocative minimalism of Seven Long Years, with its ingenious percussion...more