Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

20

Vlatko Stefanovski: The Big Band Orchestra of the Slovenian Armed Forces feat. Vlatko Stefanovski

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
During the course of guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski's illustrious career, he has constantly sought fresh ways to express himself or to reconfigure his music. Not a year would go by and he would either be seen fronting his own electric guitar trio, joining forces with other performers either the famous duo with Miroslav Tadic or the Kings of Strings trio (with guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and Stochelo Rosenberg) various film music projects. That frequently gets him in hot water with audiences that would prefer him to either record or perform music like he did with the legendary band Leb I Sol over another or other fans would favor his acoustic, pastoral pieces. But Stefanovski rarely stays in one place, a characteristic which makes every new project seem very intriguing. For his latest endeavor, he joins the ranks of the Big Band Orchestra of the Slovenian Armed Forces as a guest soloist for an interesting set of songs. The Big Band Orchestra of the Slovenian Armed Forces was founded in 1996 and since then it has performed a variety of concerts both for the Slovenian Army or public concerts with many well across the Slovenian borders.

In 2015, to mark its 20th anniversary, the SAF's Big Band decided to invite Vlatko Stefanovski as a guest soloist with a repertoire that includes a variety of both Macedonian and Slovenian folk songs arranged for an orchestra. But the setlist from this live recording encompasses much more than re-arranged folk songs. Eleven out of twelve songs are covers of a variety of tunes starting from classic jazz tunes, both Macedonian and Slovenian folk songs and a fusion era classic like "Stratus" or the funk classic "Pick Up the Pieces." Valley

The set starts with funky renditions of classic jazz tunes such as "A Few Good Men" and "Sing, Sang, Sung" that set the festive mood. With "Stratus" the band and Stefanovski dive deep into his past for a dynamic performance of this gem from the fusion era. It's one of those classics from the '70s that initially fired up his imagination during the times when he was forming his now-legendary band Leb I Sol. "Stratus" is an irresistible burner featuring Stefanovski's guitar virtuosity. The setlist has its own peaks and valleys. The propulsive and upbeat "Stratus" is followed by Stefanovski's classic mid-tempo song "Gypsy Magic" only to be followed by "Koljo" (or "Don't Sell Your Property Koljo" ) and swinging and virtuosic classic. "Zrejlo je žito" is a Slovenian folk song that Vlatko has already performed previously with Slovenian saxophonist Vasko Atanasovski and the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra (as documented on the Fire and Ice release) and here it is rendered as a sly groover.

The music truly erupts on the classic "Jovano, Jovanke" and "Kalajdžisko Oro" which are staples in Stefanovski's repertoire. One of the fascinations here is how the big band has translated the arrangements usually done by the Stefanovski's guitar trio. The orchestra is harmonically open, detailed and quick. It is spontaneous and precise. The interaction here means everything. The soloist is equally energized and inspired by the orchestra as the orchestra is inspired and driven by the soloist. As it can be seen from the accompanying DVD even the conductor is taken away by the dynamics of the orchestra and the soloist's sizzling licks and powerful solos as he is trading air guitar licks with Stefanovski in the midst of it. Throughout the whole set, the big band and Stefanovski lock into a feverishly communicative mindset as they anticipate the intensity and the rhythmic shifts and are riding this feel they inspire for all they're worth.

The variety of songs, the shifting of dynamics and the colorful arrangements indicate an album that is upbeat, immaculately tailored and packed with surprise.

Track Listing: A Few good men; Sing , sang , sung; Stratus; Gypsy song; Koljo; Zrejlo je žito;Suita QUasi Balkanika - Lament; Suita QUasi Balkanika - Ući me majko, karaj me; Suita QUasi Balkanika - Drum & Bass; Jovano Jovanke;Kalajdžisko oro; Pick up the pieces.

Personnel: Vlatko Stefanovski: electric guitar

Title: The Big Band Orchestra of the Slovenian Armed Forces feat. Vlatko Stefanovski | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Rtv Slovenija, Zkp

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019