The Los Angeles Times calls Eastern Blok’s music “relentlessly innovative work.”
Downbeat Magazine claims that “the ensemble playing is often breakneck and consistently challenging.”
Acoustic Guitar Magazine raves that Eastern Blok plays with “blazing virtuosity and sheer beauty.”
After performing over 300 shows a year and selling more than 3,000 records, the band EASTERN BLOK formerly known as The Goran Ivanovic Group has recorded a new album, changed their name, and has been successfully packing venues throughout the country since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2005.
The group features classical guitar virtuoso GORAN IVANOVIC, who teamed up with DOUG ROSENBERG on saxophone and flute, MATTHEW ULERY on bass, and MICHAEL CASKEY, a five-time Detroit Music Award and Downbeat Magazine Award winner, on drums.
EASTERN BLOK’s “extraordinary pan-cultural ensemble effortlessly blends classical and jazz music with the rich folkloric traditions of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia. The resulting music is as alluring as it is complex. Exotic Middle Eastern motifs merge gracefully with the evocative sounds of Eastern European Klezmer music. Beautifully conceived folk passages are followed by perfectly executed Mahavishnu- inspired pyrotechnics. The passion and urgency at which this group plays is heard in every note on this remarkable musical offering” (Minor 7th Magazine).
From appearing on NPR to headlining the World Music Festival, EASTERN BLOK works without borders and it’s reflected in their dynamic music.
The band’s “Blacksmith’s Dance” was selected out of thousands of submissions to be one of three finalists in the 2005 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
This past year brought them much acclaim due to their performance on Chicago Public Radio’s “Chicago Undercover.” EASTERN BLOK has even been selected to be featured in the upcoming major motion picture, “Wanted,” starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie.
EASTERN BLOK’s sophomore release, "Folk Tales" features compositions that juxtapose a somber and serious sound with a lively and elusive beat.
Listen to their mellifluous, intricate new compositions at www.easternblok.net and www.myspace.com/easternblok
- Folk Tales by Budd Kopman
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After the whirlwind experience of Goran Ivanovic Group (Balkan Song Records, 2006), the group, which has remained stable, changed its named to Eastern Blok. Incredible as it might seem, Folk Tales is tighter and more complex than the first album, while retaining the earlier energy and abandon.
While virtuoso guitarist Goran Ivanoic remains the nominal leader of the group and main composer, Doug Rosenberg (reeds), Matt Ulery (bass) and Michael Caskey (drums and percussion) are further integrated into the group sound. This sound is a mix of Balkan folk music and some Klezmer, with the jazz aesthetic of improvisation wrapped in an impossibly high-energy drive that also brings in very heavy bass lines.