All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Extended Analysis

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...

324

Toni Kitanovski and Cherkezi Orchestra: Toni Kitanovski and Cherkezi Orchestra: Borderlands

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Toni Kitanovski and Cherkezi Orchestra
Borderlands
ENJA
2006

On Borderlands, a collaboration between acclaimed Gypsy band Cherkezi Orchestra and jazz guitarist Toni Kitanovski, both guitarist and orchestra broaden their musical horizons. Much more than another carpet-bagging collection of stray Gypsy tunes or recycled-to-death Gypsy brass band music, the album is a focused and adventurous affair that finds all concerned stretching in new directions. The result is a highly rhythmic, generally explosive blend out of which individual instruments, like Cherkez Rashid's lush and soulful trumpet, emerge to fly as if on a sturdy magic carpet.

The album's title, taken from a poem by Gloria Anzaldua, is used to herald cross-cultural music, neither pure jazz nor pure Gypsy but something in between. The melange is built around inclusivity and collaboration. Kitanovski recalls in the liner notes how he first heard Cherkezi playing at a party, and how their music instantly evoked in him flashes of Sun Ra's Arkestra, Duke Ellington's Orchestra and John Coltrane's Quartet. This anectode alone is promise enough that the collaboration between Cerkezi and Kitanovski will be a generally explosive affair.

The album opens with a tribute track to one of the greatest of all drummers, "Ed Blackwell, an original composition by Kitanovski. After a few seconds of straight-ahead guitar riffs and danceable drums, the Cherkezi can be heard with their instruments pumping behind the jazz band. The track joins together two distinctive and rich musical cultures, which have much in common. Historically, both jazz and Gypsy brass bands have roots in military marching bands. The first military orchestras in the world are said to have been Turkish ones composed entirely of Gypsy musicians. They brought all kinds of songs and dances to the Balkans (as well as to other places the Ottoman Turks conquered). Meanwhile, some of jazz's roots come from New Orleans' marching bands. Many of the earliest jazz musicians learned to play and read music in those bands and their playing influenced some of jazz's immediate forerunners, like ragtime.

Most of the time, Kitanovski acts as artistic director. As a guitarist he has a fine technique, but he avoids overwhelming listeners with it, and shows more restraint than on some of his previous outings. On those tracks which are fundamentally Cherkezi territory—like the traditional reels "Tetovska, "Turkish Chochek, "Christening Dance, "Mr. Neat, and "Mr. Choon —he favours subtle riffs and minimal solos. But throughout the album, he and all the other players brim with life and passion.

Borderlands' standout track is the elegiac—and gloriously unexpected—reading of Erik Satie's "Gnossienne No. 1. Gypsy bands, regardless of the region they come from, have a brilliant talent for absorbing all manner of tunes and re-expressing them through their own vocabulary. Here Satie's melody is refashioned to fit the setting perfectly. (When Satie worked on the Gnossienne compositions, incidentally, he found some of his inspiration in Romanian folk music). A second version of the tune, the rollercoaster "Gnossienne Cocek, is also included.

The album closes with Kitanovski's tribute, "New Orleans (The Never Ending Story) , on which he celebrates rhythms from New Orleans to Topaana. It swings with a New Orleans melody but with danceble Gypsy rhythms. From start to finish this music celebrates rhythm, in particular, as Kitanovski notes in the liner notes, the clave rhythm which in various ways, circumstances, forms and modifications has found its way from West Africa to both North and South America and through North Africa and Middle East to Turkey and eventually the Balkans. This shows that music knows no borders nor boundaries.

Fans of both jazz and Gypsy music, two folk traditions which embrace pain, joy and spirituality, are likely to be moved by Borderlands. It's a hugely appealing recording, by accomplished musicians, and its unflagging melodicism, driving percussion and improvising risk-taking make for a deep and wonderful listening experience.


Tracks: Ed Blackwell; Tetovska; Gnossienne; Cherkez Babo; Togo; Turkish Cocek; Christening Dance; Seherzad; Mr Choon; Mr Neat; Gnossienne Cocek; New Orleans (The Never Ending Story).

Personnel: Toni Kitanovski: guitars; Aleksandar Sekulovski: jazz drums; Cerkez Rashid, Asan Rashid, Ali Rashid: trumpet; Sefedin Rashid, Hamid Rashid, Mamer Zejnelov, Vilhen Memedov: tuba; Hustref Said: kanun; Izzet Kyzil: percussions; Ruizh Kadrieva: voice; Olivie Samouillan: viola.


Track Listing: Ed Blackwell; Tetovska; Gnossienne; Cherkez Babo; Togo; Turkish Cocek; Christening Dance; Seherzad; Mr Choon; Mr Neat; Gnossienne Cocek; New Orleans (the never ending story)

Personnel: Toni Kitanovski: guitars; Aleksandar Sekulovski: jazz drums; Cerkez Rashid: trumpet; Asan Rashid: trumpet; Ali Rashid: trumpet; Sefedin Rashid: tuba; Hamid Rashid: tuba; Mamer Zejnelov: tuba; Vilhen Memedov: tuba Also: Hustref Said: kanun; Izzet Kyzil: percussions; Ruizh Kadrieva: voice; Olivie Samouillan: viola

Title: Toni Kitanovski and Cherkezi Orchestra: Borderlands | Year Released: 2006

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Greatest Other People's Hits Extended Analysis
Greatest Other People's Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2018
Read Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 Extended Analysis
Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967
by Doug Collette
Published: September 8, 2018
Read Naima/Live in Berlin Extended Analysis
Naima/Live in Berlin
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 30, 2018
Read Kaya 40 Extended Analysis
Kaya 40
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2018
Read Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read Wodgi Extended Analysis
Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "Naima/Live in Berlin" Extended Analysis Naima/Live in Berlin
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 30, 2018
Read "Wodgi" Extended Analysis Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "Kaya 40" Extended Analysis Kaya 40
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2018
Read "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981" Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "The Last Night At The Old Place" Extended Analysis The Last Night At The Old Place
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 1, 2018