Ferenc Nemeth was born in Keszthely (Hungary), grow up in Zalacsany (small village of a 1000 people) and started to play the drums when he was three years old. His mother a school teacher, his father a businnesman and amateur drummer, who gave him his first drum lessons. At age fourteen he started to play in a top40 band and moved out of the family house to study classical percussion at the Richter János Conservatory in Gyõr. After compleating highschool, he moved to Budapest where he started to play different styles of music, while attended to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music’s Jazz Department.Soon Ferenc became one of the busiest jazz drummers in Hungary. After the Academy, he got a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and moved to Boston where he lived for three years. He also attended to the New England Conservatory and did one year as a graduate student. In 2001 he applied and got accepted (as the only drummer and first Hungarian) to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz program – along with fellow students and current bandmates Lionel Loueke and Massimo Biolcati – where he studied for two years.
The Monk Institute is a selective program that allows students to study and perform with some of the finest Jazz musicians in the world, including three legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. While in Los Angeles, Ferenc started to work with the Billy Childs Trio, Bob Sheppard, Dave Carpenter, John Clayton, Jimmy Heath, The Henry Mancini Orchestra just to name a few.
In 2003, after compleating his studies at the Thelonious Monk Institute, Ferenc moved to New York, where he almost immediately began playing gigs, working his way into the New York Jazz scene. Soon, Ferenc gained the recognition needed to be called to perform and tour with some of the biggest names in the jazz world. He has performed and/or recorded with a variety of artists such as: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Terence Blanchard, Lionel Loueke, John Abercrombie, Dave Samuels, Mark Turner, Hal Crook, David Benoit, Bud Shunk, Darren Barret, Bruno Raberg, Greg Hopkins, Phil Wilson, Reggie Hamilton, Dave Grusin, Steve Turre, Eddie Deniels, Eddie Henderson, Ron McClure, Chris Cheek, Aaron Goldberg, Kenny Wheeler, Eli Degibri, Jonathan Kreisberg, John Ellis, Omert Avital, The Mason Brothers, etc.
It was then in 2003, when he began to work with GilFeMa -which is a collaborative trio featuring Lionel Loueke on guitar/voc, Massimo Biolcati on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums/percussion-. Ferenc was already working with ObliqSound and to his recommendation they recorded their first self titled CD for the lable in 2004, which features three of Ferenc’s song. Ferenc began to focus more on composing and soon released a duo album along with Javier Vercher for FreshSound, where the two of them wrote all the songs.
In 2005, Ferenc established his own lable “Dreamers Collective Records”, and recorded his debut album “Night Songs”, featuring John Patitucci, Chris Cheek, Mark Turner, Lionel Loueke , Aaron Parks and eight of his own original compositions. With “Night Songs” the Hungarian drummer finally can put in light his own gifts as a composer and arranger, besides as a performer, which have made him one of the sidemen most in demand in an environment as difficult as America. In particular it’s notable the ability, that the Hungarian musician shows, in his writing for the others. Nemeth avoids showing off his own performance skills, giving himself only one solo in the opening song “War” while in the rest of the recording he only accompanies the others with clean and precise timing. He is very discrete and never overpowers the other instruments.
Ferenc has been part of the Lionel Loueke Trio for the past 9 years. Recently was released “Karibu”, the stunning Blue Note label debut from guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke (takes its title from a Swahili word meaning “welcome”), featuring Loueke’s long-standing trio of bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth, Karibu is also graced by rare guest appearances by two legends: pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Ferenc Nemeth is an artist who continues to push the boundaries of jazz-drumming.
He’s been studying with:
Laszlo Farsang, Balazs Papp, Laszlo Varay, Imre Koszegi, Ivan Nesztor, John Ramsay, Bob Kaufman, Gary Chaffee, Bob Moses, Jerry Bergonzi, George Russell, Peter Erskine, Dave Holland, Carl Allen, Kenny Barron, Wayne Shorter, Ralph Peterson.
Awards and Honors:
- Jazz Group of the Year Award with the band “In Line” (1997)
- Sorors Foundation artistic contest scholarship winner (1998)
- Berklee European Tour Scholarship (1998)
- Berklee Talent Achievement Scholarship (1999)
- IAJE Special Citation for Outstanding Musicianship (2000)
- Berklee – Barnes and Noble Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement (2000)
- Berklee – Elvin Jones Award (2000)
- Full Fellowship to the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles (2000)
- Full Scholarship to New England Conservatory in Boston (2000)
- Full Fellowship to the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles (2001)
- Full Fellowship to the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program in Washington D.C. (2001)
- Accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles (2001)
- First place at the Charles (Dolo) Coker Scholarship Competition (2002)
- IAJE Award for Outstanding Musicanship (2002)
- IAJE Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education (2006)
- Gramofon Hungarian Jazz Award (2007)
- Independetn Music Award Finalist (2008)
- IAJE Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education (2008)