Although The Beatles' "Come Together" is a commercially apropos title for keyboardist Mikan Zlatkovich's premier CD, it's his original compositions that are the highlights. "Four Plus One" is upbeat and very funky, with Zlatkovich employing a Yamaha ES90X keyboard to punch the rhythm while singing a repeatable melody hook with his busy right hand. The trio's rendition of Stevie Wonder's less-known "Moments Aren't Moments," from The Woman In Red (Motown, 1984) soundtrack, is beautifully introduced with a driving bass lineand a bass solo that showcases his excellence with memorable inventivenessfrom Kevin Cooper. Establishing a kind of freedom and excitement, it offers a medium tempo groove suitable for accompaniment on an ocean voyage, standing at the bow of some luxury liner skimming across the waves
Cooper really cuts loose on "The New Jazz Funk," another well-written Zlatkovich original that's primed to bring the shyest wallflowers to their feet. Kudos to dressing "Poinciana" in a brand new arrangement, making a favorite jazz standard sparkle incandescently. While Zlatkovich keeps the melody of this popular composition warm and familiar, the musical undertow is sweetly lush, with a hip hop flare that works surprisingly well. The album closer, "Play Me," gives drummer Russell Bizzett a platform to strut his stuff.
Here is a smooth jazz CD that offers integrity and invention, thanks to Zlatkovich's authority over the keys. A serious player who brings sustenance to this project by employing a few unexpected harmonics and some solid articulation on the keyboard, Zlatkovich is a player who never repeats the same licks over and over, during the course of a solo. He's always improvising, and adding something fresh to each measure of his music.
Originally from the former Yugoslavia, Zlatkovich has been living and working in San Diego, California for several years after arriving on American shores in 1992. In club performances, he has played straight-ahead and bebop with the same ease as his smooth jazz work. He is also a consummate accompanist, in demand by a number of vocalists who appreciate his harmonic ear, as well as his ability to improvise on a theme or quietly understate while still providing ample support. There's little doubt that more will be heard from this talented composer/pianist in the future.
Come Together; Four Plus One; Moments Aren't Moments; The New jazz Funk; Poinciana; Play Me.
Mikan Zlatkovich: keyboards; Kevin Cooper: bass; Russell Bizzett: drums.
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