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Zoran Madzirov: Roots on a Roof

Nenad Georgievski By

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Zoran Madzirov is truly one of the mavericks of Macedonian music—a superb and innovative musician, who has distilled a variety of influences from various styles and sounds into something that is uniquely his own. The fire, sensitivity and imagination that drive him seem to make him some sort of a Jimi Hendrix on the bottlephone. The music on Roots on a Roof easily falls into the category of memorable music, with a unique atmosphere and wonderful chemistry that makes it more than just a collection of musical tracks, and closer to a musical journey. It is his most distinctive and personal album to date.

With his previous work, Bottling Jazzy (Aquarius Records, 2006), Madžirov went in a more modern direction, collaborating in the field of electronic music, but in the meantime he continued to hone his personal musical style by playing regularly throughout Europe.On this occasion, the renowned vibraphone and bottlephone virtuoso meets a stellar cast of brilliant instrumentalists for a record where his signature blend of jazz, folk, classical and improvisational music has been distilled into a unique statement.

"The Long Longing" is a beautiful opener, clearly showing the rich confluence of sounds and influences that echo throughout this multicolored music. It begins with lush bottleneck runs and Oliver Josfiovski's determinedly walking bass line, followed by Goce Stevkovski's brushed snare padding gracefully alongside, all driven by Marina Cado's sad violin. Madzirov immediately commands attention with "Monday's Savory," a rollicking dance tune featuring dynamic violin playing that wrestles with the bottleneck, a sublime accordion and urgent bass, framed by clever arrangements. It's rare for music to be this fun without for one moment becoming superficial. It brims inside with an algorithm of complex musical exchange.

Some tracks, such as "Butchers Changes," "Flower Meanings," "Seven Running Perhapses" and "Pleasure of Source," are based on traditional Macedonian reels such as "Kasapsko," "Potrcano," "Ratevka," "Komitsko" and "Niknalo Cveke Sareno"; but, in most cases, the melodies only give a slight hint of their derivation. The tunes don't fixate so much on linear melody, but rather they contribute a constantly evolving line of musicality.

Roots on a Roof is truly a melting point, an intersection of ideas, styles and great musicianship. These encounters are far from smooth and are more kinetic by nature, which in turn brings a different vibrancy to the music. It is a warm and engaging, undeniably upbeat and celebratory album that turns winter into spring and darkness into light.

Track Listing: The Long Longing; Monday's Savory; Balkan Vulkan; Butchers Changes; Flower Meanings, Verve to Serve; Seven Running Perhapses; Cheese Under Lid; Pleasure of Source.

Personnel: Zoran Madzirov: vibes, bottlephone, tapan; Marina cado: violin; Vladimir Krstev: violin (4, 5, 8); Zoran Kraguevski: tenor sax, clarinet; Toni Pecanov: accordion; Oliver Josifovski: double bass; Goce Stevskovski: drums, percussion; Zdravko Angelov: bass clarinet (8); Bojan Petkov: guitar (5).

Title: Roots on a Roof | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: SJF Records


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