Is it such a bad thing when a “Progressive Rock Review Platform” ventures slightly off-piste to dabble in the world of jazz-rock fusion especially when the music under scrutiny is in itself further subdivided to incorporate Balkan traditional folk rhythms within a framework of jazz, funk, progressive jazz-rock and elements of contemporary world music. The “Vasil Hadzimanov Band” was formed in and around 1997 in the city of Belgrade. Vasil Hadzimanov is a piano & keyboard player and former student from the Berklee College of Music (a private music college of contemporary music known for the study of jazz)
The first impression, right from the opening track, that strikes you about the music, is that compositional structure relies heavily upon the powerful frenetic percussive arrangements. But, whilst this might be the case, the central feature, throughout the album, which steers and drives the direction of the music ever forward, emanates from the multiple layers of dulcet keyboard chord configurations and jazz-flavored piano sequences. Yes, as one would imagine, ‘Vasil’s’ piano and keyboards dominate the fundamental role with energetic and quite incessant driving syncopated piano resonances swaying and spraying complicated note patterns just like confetti around, in-between and throughout the various scores. But again this is not the entire story, for whilst ‘Vasil’ paints the entire canvas with his audio strokes of genius, the other regular musicians within the band contribute more than greatly. For example: - ‘Banko Trijic’ delivers multiple injections of well-considered and quite amazing fluid lead guitar. ‘Miroslav Tovirac’ is responsible for delivering a constant supply of wondrously complicated bass lines that are a delight to listen to in isolation. Peda Milutinovic providing a solid backdrop of interesting ever-changing drumming patterns. Bojan Ivkovic the percussionist extaordinair providing the Balkan experience. It is quite ingenious how the various instrumental configurations seem to replicate the percussive driving force before drifting off to seize a momentary lead role for which there are many short bursts of individual glory. However, to state that there is a hell of a lot going on at anyone time is a complete understatement. The whole affair is bursting with so much energy it is impossible to focus on anyone thing at a time and even after many plays more and more musical facets still reveal themselves and drift to the focus of your attention.
There is really very little in the way of vocals that are actually sung, the album being predominately instrumental. But in particular, there is incorporated a wonderful and quite beautiful contribution from ‘Mata Hadzimnov’ her ethereal and haunting voice is very special and extremely enjoyable. Dean Bowman contributes a sort of bluesy vocal offering and then throughout a series of Balkan vocal interventions with striking Eastern inflections from ‘Bojan’ to round up the enjoyable vocal content.
Summary: An interesting listening experience of jazz floured keyboards awash with Balkan percussive folk influences.
Artwork. A nice colourfal multipage digipak.
1 Lines in Sand
2 Mr. MoonJunebig helping
3 San snova
6 Kazi Gradiska
8 For Clara
9 Waiting For...
10 Freedom from the Past
11 Ratnici podzemlja
12 Rege Hadzi