“The Peet Project is prime to become a Global sensation… [they] have really managed to distill the important elements of Smooth Jazz and present the genre in a new, hip way that gets listeners dancing and grooving, and guarantees to leave a smile...! ”~Sandy Shore, SmoothJazz.com
The members of Hungarian jazz/pop/funk group Peet Project are still only in their early twenties, but already have two albums under their belt and a third on the way. Their original music is a seductive and eclectic blend, reflecting influences encompassing Candy Dulfer, Mezzoforte, George Duke, Earth Wind and Fire and Prince, among others. The group’s driving force is violinist / composer / producer Peter “Peet” Ferencz (22) who gives the band its unique sound through his use of violin as a lead instrument in an equivalent role to saxophone or keyboards. Peter’s talent was recognized by Brian Culbertson, culminating in Brian lending production guidance to one of the standout tracks off the second album.
Aged just four, Peter kicked off his musical journey with classical violin lessons. He quickly developed to be an accomplished player, but soon realized that classical music was not his true calling. At 13 he began to play for pop groups, which not only broadened his musical horizons but also fed his interest in composing, recording and mixing. “When I was 15, I began to write and record hip-hop, r’n’b, house and pop songs in a small home studio. I used the rest of my free time to learn to play the guitar and the piano. Over the years, I found more and more successful artists were asking me to write and produce for them so I did my best to come up with the best material I possibly could.”
At high school, Peter found a talented musical partner to team up with, keyboard player Ádám Lőrincz. Sharing the same musical taste and a deep interest in recording and production, the two began writing original music that soon got airplay at Budapest-based smooth-jazz/lounge radio station 90.9 Jazzy. In 2009 the band took the name Peet Project and won the grand prize in a 90.9 Jazzy song competition with a Candy Dulfer-style jazz-funk track titled Be Free, which Peter co-wrote and recorded with local saxophone player Marci Mits.
The band’s first album Pink Spirit (2010, Beagle Beat Records) received rave reviews, not only in Hungary but also internationally, at JazzCorner and JazzTimes, whilst Smoothjazz.com’s Sandy Shore described the CD as “off-the-hook, irresistible grooves and melodies”. The album was then on serious rotation at smooth jazz stations in the US, the UK, Germany and Switzerland, and in September 2011, the band made its international stage debut, rocking Switzerland’s Jazzclub Rorschach as they opened a concert season featuring such luminaries as Victor Bailey and Drew Davidsen.
Released in November 2011, the Peet Project’s second album, Turn You On (Beagle Beat Records) was again embraced by smooth jazz stations worldwide, most notably in the UK and the USA. The album’s opening track, Does the music turn you on?, was produced by Peet with the expert guidance of none other than Brian Culbertson, after the two met in Budapest. Other highlights of the CD included the violin-driven cover version of the Earth, Wind and Fire classic September and the band’s very own Now you’re gone, a chic, jazzy pop track co-written by Peet and saxophonist Peter Herold.
The band made its long-awaited US stage debut at the 15th Seabreeze Jazz Festival in April 2013, bringing the crowd to a standing ovation at the end of their set.