WEHT Elek Bacsik?

September 19, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Along with Snoozer Quinn, Elec Bacsik (1926-1993) is often talked about as the great mystery in jazz guitar. The story goes that Bacsik produced two truly excellent albums in the early 1960s, “Guitar Conceptions” and “The Electric Guitar of the Eclectic Elek Bacsik” (re-issued as “Nuages”), left for the US, and basically disappeared, popping up twice for the production of two albums with bop violin playing, before dying in complete neglect in 1993. Add that Bacsik was of Hungarian gypsy background. And add suggestions of substance abuse, and you have sufficient ingredients for a romantic tale of tragic musical genius.

However, things may be a bit more mundane, or at least well-documented. Thus, we know a fair amount about Bacsik’s musical activities after he left France for the United States. Here is a relatively detailed French biography that among other things mentions that he recorded in the US with Hank Jones and Grady Tate (which doesn’t exactly indicate complete obscurity). Here is another biography, also in French, that explains that Bacsik was active until illness around 1990 made it impossible for him to play in public.

Here is Bacsik accompanying Serge Gainsbourg on “All the Things you Are”

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