So, the liner notes of this brand new MoonJune release is tagged as "ethnofusion" (among many other tags). Slovenian bandleader Vasko Atanasovski (compositions, sax, flute) and his all-european accomplices offer exactly that. Folkloristic elements (not only European) put in a jazzy context. Great compositions, sparkling arrangements (by quite an unusual assembly of instruments), virtuously played (by everyone involved, but I like to point out Vasko's 17 year-old son Ariel on cello).
Favorite track: Liberation.
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The Adrabesa Quartet consists of four exceptional musicians, brought together by its long-standing founder and leader: composer and saxophonist, Vasko Atanasovski.
Vasko is a well-known and -established European maestro, having collaborated with renowned musicians such as Hindi Zahra, Vlatko Stefanovski, and Living Color, among a celebrated career. His masterful, unpretentious approach to his instrument has seen him embrace a host of diverse genres, exhibiting a fluency and grace which compliments any musical setting.
The quartet's musicians are among the leading virtuoso instrumentalists in the world. Simone Zanchini is an Italian accordionist, who has been collaborating with Vasko since the early part of this new millennium. (Simone is the only founding member still with Vasko since the Adrabesa Quartet's initial incarnation, back in 2005.) With the two having collaborated on numerous albums and concerts, Zanchini's advanced musical stylings are a superb compliment to Atanasovski's polished melodic sensibilities.
A pioneer on his instrument, Zanchini's eccentric brilliance has garnered praise and recognition. In 2016, he received the coveted Orpheus Award – for "Best Jazz Album of the Year," in Italy. Simone's commanding presence has propelled what has become an extensive resume of collaborations; many with noted jazz musicians such as Bill Evans, Adam Nussbaum, John Patitucci, Jim Black, Paolo Fresu, Gianluigi Trovesi and Javier Girotto, among many. He regularly performs across the globe, and is a featured soloist with the Milan Scala Orchestra.
The Adrabesa Quartet's tuba player, Michel Godard, hails from France. Michel has enjoyed a distinguished career: one which has seen him work with many great artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Ray Anderson, Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Henry Texier, Enrico Rava, Michael Riessler, Rabih Abou-Khalil and many others. Godard has also collaborated with Vasko for many years; including a most recent performance at the 2020 Maribor Festival – where the two were paired as featured artists, backed by the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra.
The unit's fourth member – who plays percussion and Indian tabla drums – is Bodek Janke. Currently residing in Poland, Bodek is the quartet's newest member. His is also a career marked by accomplisment and embellished by stellar names. In 2008, he was awarded the "Jazzpreis Baden-Württemberg", the highest award for jazz musicians in Germany and the "German Records Critics' Award" ("Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik"), for his work on Olivia Trummer's "Westwind."
In 2010, he was honored as "Best Soloist of the Year" at the Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis competiton, in Mannheim. He, too, has collaborated with scads of great artists, most notably of which are David Liebman, Ben Monder, Dave Binney and Billy Harper.
After assembling the group for an ongoing, inspirational Melem (translation: "Soul Remedy") project back in 2017, there was an organic chemistry which quickly emerged. Inspired, Vasko and company decided to produce an exquisite musical document, highlighting their own original works and incorporating an assortment of regional ethnic musical dialects. Compiling a collection of pieces as quirky and unconventional as the quartet's instrumentation (sax, accordion, tuba and percussion), "Phoenix" stands as a shimmering testimony to both their considerable individual talents and corporate inventiveness. Inspired by some divergent musical roots -- combined with a sense of nostalgia and genuine passion for their craft -- the aptly titled album signifies the rebirth of a unit with a long-standing reputation for creative excellence across Eastern Europe
Joining the quartet's magical sonic adventures is special guest, Ariel Vei Atanasovski. Ariel is Vasko Atanasovski's 17-year-old son: a gifted young cellist, and ambitious understudy of renowned celloist, Professor Niko Sajko, at the Maribor Conservatory of Music and Ballet, and Slovenian virtuoso, Igor Mitrovic (also a Professor), at the Klagenfurt Music Conservatory. A musical prodigy, Ariel has remained active in various fields of music from a young age, and can already boast of numerous performances, international awards and original compositions. Boasting a musical maturity which belies his age, Ariel's contributions only add to "Phoenix"s allure.
In sparkling, effervescent fashion, the Adrabesa Quartet has defined itself as a high-energy, idiosyncratic ethnofusion group of a most regal nature – delivering fresh, brilliant, unpretentious music in a truly organic, masterful manner.
released November 11, 2020
VASKO ATANASOVSKI - alto & soprano saxophone, flute (Slovenia)
SIMONE ZANCHINI - accordion (Italy)
MICHEL GODARD - tuba, serpent (France)
BODEK JANKE - drums & tabla (Poland/Germany)
Special Guest: ARIEL VEI ATANASOVSKI - cello (Slovenia)
Recorded on 29th November 2019 at RTV Slovenia Studio Maribor.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Danilo Ženko.
All compositions by Vasko Atanasovski.
except: Outro (collective improvisation)
Thank you for being temporarily inconvenienced and producing this voluptuous collection. ;)
The beauty and magic that came out of the ugliness of 2020. Artists locked away and confined who were compelled to produce AMAZING WORK that we would have never. heard before. Jonathan Pryor
As a big fan of the first Fractal Guitar album I had to restrain myself not to buy it before Bandcamp Friday arrived. No-brainer for me (the more as Stephan Thelen now is part of the MoonJune family).
And to repeat myself: Music that is as abstract as accessible, a real treat!
Stephan, bei Teil 3 bin ich auch wieder dabei :-) Carsten Pieper