“The Peet Project is primed 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 in their early twenties, but with the release of their brand new album, Love, on May 12, 2015, they already have four albums under their belt – in addition to a “Debut Artist of the Year” title garnered at the prestigious Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival in 2013.
Their original music is a seductive and eclectic blend, reflecting influences encompassing Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, George Duke, Earth Wind and Fire and the Rippingtons, among others. The group’s driving force is violinist / composer / producer Peter “Peet” Ferencz (25). Peter gives the band its unique sound through his use of violin as a lead instrument in an equivalent role to saxophone or keyboards. His 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. 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. By 15, he was writing and recording music for hip-hop, r’n’b, house and pop acts in his small home studio and using his free time to learn to play the guitar and the piano. At high school, Peter founded what later became the Peet Project with schoolmate and keyboard player Ádám Lőrincz. Their original music soon got airplay on Budapest-based smooth-jazz/lounge radio station 90.9 Jazzy. In 2009 they won the grand prize in the station’s song competition with a Candy Dulfer-style jazz-funk track titled Be Free.
Previous albums – US festival appearances
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, receiving over 1,700 spins in the States alone in 2012. 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.
The band’s third album, Overseas (2013, on Beagle Beat Records) was released hot on the heels of the band’s successful US stage debut at the prestigious Seabreeze Jazz Festival in April 2013. The band’s performance won a standing ovation from the 7,500 crowd. In October 2013, the band returned to the USA to play the high-profile Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival where they opened for long-standing Tower of Power singer Larry Braggs and walked away with a “Debut Artist of the Year” award.
The new album - Love
In 2014, Peet began working on the new album, Love, with former bassist Dávid Szedlár and a brand new line-up comprising Attila Závodi (sax), Olivér Magán (keyboards), and twin brothers Martin and Marcell Gudics (bass and drums, respectively).
Regarded by the band as their most complex work to date, Love showcases more energy, more vocals and a host of styles that best fit the band: funky, soul and pop mingled with vintage stylistic flavors reminiscent of 70s and 80s music.
The lyrics on the album are themed around the various dimensions of love associated with the body, the mind and the soul. As Péter puts it, “we focused on the fact that love is the solution to both human relations issues and problems in societies. And love is not only a sentiment or a momentary state of mind. It’s a decision that calls for sacrifices. But in the end, love will win all fights.”
The new album hits digital stores and online CD outlets on May 12, 2015.