…we authors here at the publication are sometimes given artists who come from way out of left field, utterly surprise us, and bring us new sounds and new thoughts on what is capable in composition and performance. And that is the case with this review, the album “Lines in Sand”, soon to be released by Vasil Hadžimanov Band, led by the pianist and keyboardist of the same name, on MoonJune Records.
In a recent review, I talked about just how many genres there are within progressive music. Well, it’s worth noting how fans love to categorize, when honestly some music really flies in the face of categorization. In many press releases for progressive rock or prog-metal bands, often we are told the album “defies genre” just because a random funk passage was thrown into track 7, or some such nonsense, when the rest of the album overall is quite homogeneous with itself. That is why listening to “Lines in Sand” is a pleasure. It really is quite hard to classify. Surely, the skeptical reader will listen to thirty seconds of a track at random and say, “Well, that’s ridiculous, because that track is clearly jazz influenced!” Or prog. Or trance. Or has elements of trip-hop. Or is traditional in the vein of music from the band’s Balkan region of the world. And if the skeptic skipped around the album enough, they would be correct on pretty much all of that…
THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY
A Man Named Vasil
The Vasil Hadzimanov Band is drawing Lines In Sand for their second MoonJune Records release. This is some real state-of-the-art prog-rock. As keyboardist, composer, arranger, co-producer, the man from Serbia, over the course of the last 20 years, has elevated Balkan folk music into a world-beat gumbo of astonishing proportions, mixing ’n’ matching jazz, rock, funk, the avant-garde, psychedelia, trance and electronica into his idiosyncratic music worldview. Be it known all of the aforementioned are visited within these 12 adventurous and highly satisfying tracks as performed by his guitar/bass/percussion/drums/vocals/saxophone band. Man, you can’t even hear all that’s going on with your first, second or even third listen! The guy’s a damn genius!
Serbian keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov’s band, with special guest David Binney on alto saxophone, is marvelous on Alive. While on tour in his home country in October 2014, Hadzimanov went into the studio with electric bassist Miroslav Tovirac, drummer Pedja Milutinovic, guitarist/percussionist Branko Trijic and percussionist/singer Bojan Ivkovic.
One element that’s immediately apparent is the musicians’ level of fluency. Each of them finds a way to sound original, eschewing a sense of purism.
These Eastern Europeans sound as though they were raised on a diet of Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report, with a little Bill Bruford Earthworks and electric Miles Davis thrown in for extra spice. Binney’s playing makes it clear that he’s here for a reason.
PULSING GROOVES AND FIERY SAX
The music bursts with vitality from the pulsing groove and romantically swaying piano of Nocturnal Joy – with its contrastingly caustic and fiery Binney alto break – through snappy guitar-led funk, vocal chants amid hooting sax figures, and dark free-improv musings mingled with eerie voices like crisscrossing radio stations. Warmly harmonised folk melodies bring out soft Binney sax broodings that show how classy he is as a lyrical player as well as an uncompromising sharp-end improviser, and Hadžimanov’s group clearly enjoy the tightness of rock as well as the freefall unpredictabilities of jazz…
…the mutual enjoyment of players and crowd is unmistakeable.
PROGRESSIVE ROCK CENTRAL
DAZZLING FUSION BY VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND
Vasil Hadzimanov Band is one of the most fascinating progressive jazz fusion acts in the current international scene. Led by versatile Serbian keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov, this superb fusion band incorporates jazz-rock fusion, world music elements, funk, and electronica.
Highlights include the opening title track “Lines In Sand,” where absorbing wordless vocals and trance-like drums intertwine with electric piano and cutting edge electric guitar; “San Snova,” a jazz-leaning piece where Vasil Hadzimanov showcases his talent on the acoustic piano; the exquisitely gorgeous female vocals and dreamy string synths on “Lost,” featuring the lovely singing by Marta Hadzimanov that transitions into remarkable guitar work by Branko Trijic…
[automated translation] It is like the heartbeat of a slow heart, it is like the sound of a spiritual and magical pulse of deep Arabic-flamenco feeling embodied in the voice of Bojan Ivkovic. Thus begins Lines In Sand with the homonymous piece, causing deep draft impressions.
Lines In Sand chains one piece after another like links of a chain, like pearls on a necklace, short pieces like a suite where the rhythm section sounds compact, fluid and present, where the solos of guitar and keyboards economize their interventions with finesse and elegance. Music that drinks from different sources ranging from jazz, rock, R & B, soul, funk, psychedelia or world music…
Truly a remarkable album, I was delighted to review it!
…“Lines In Sand” is engaging my ears with their virtuosic talents. Blending ethnic influences with jazz, rock riffs, psychedelic and funk, the Serbian based group has produced a delightful hybrid of music, punctuated by brilliant improvisations, interesting time signatures, and tight syncopation, all flowing organically together…
…I found the overall sound quality of the stereo mix to be outstanding. The 44.1kHz / 24-bit sound quality is absolutely brilliant, with deep lows and clear highs. Dynamics are very good with excellent imaging and a wide sound stage. I listen for musicality when digging into an instrumental release like Lines in Sand, as the flow, textures, and nuances of each part can so easily make or break the overall mix. Recording engineer Marko Peric has absolutely captured all of the details during the sessions at Binta Sound Studio and German Ambassador’s Residence, in Belgrade, Serbia…
…This album is wonderfully fresh with a vibrant soulful touch blended with sparkling conviction. I absolutely recommend it for fusion music enthusiasts and those who seek to be thoroughly engaged. It boasts rich textures, wide sonic excursions and great dynamics perfect for High Resolution enthusiasts. The album is so satisfying that I don’t think it should be overlooked, check out the stream and hear it for yourself, I am certain you’ll want to add this to your collection.
Vasilov novi studijski album Lines in Sand, drugi koji je objavila američka izdavačka kuća MoonJune Records Leonarda Pavkovića, jedan je od rijetkih albuma za koje sam unutar samo par taktova imao dobar osjećaj da će mi se svidjeti i koji mi je do samog kraja držao pažnju bez naznaka potencijalnog razočaranja. Izvrstan i jednostavan uvod istočnjačkim plemenskim ritmom perkusija hipnotički uvlači u Vasilov pitki svijet čarolije i uroka, jedinstva prošlosti i suvremenosti, istočnog i zapadnog horizonta koji se otima očekivanjima, ali sadrži već poznate tradicionalne, moderne i suvremene elemente.
Kao suvremeni fusion i većinom instrumentalni album koji se poigrava s mnoštvom žanrova, Lines in Sand izvrsno je snimljen i produciran te posložen tako da se doima koherentno, kontinuirano, poput cjelovitog epskog putovanja različitim vremenima, egzotičnim krajolicima i zemljama. U prvom redu fokusiran je na kompoziciju, melodiju, ritam i stvaranje atmosfere, pa tek onda na soliranja tipična fusionu koja nikada ne izlaze van nužnosti u egoistične tripove. Na prvu bi se moglo čak reći da je u pitanju ambijentalni groove fusion…
UK, “Acid Dragon” – Lines in Sand by Phil Jackson (will be published online in a few months)
I was mightily impressed by ‘Alive’, Vasil and his band’s first CD from 2016 reviewed in this magazine. So how would his sophomore Moon June recording match up? The good news is another triumph as is evident from the fading in of the title track as Vasil’s Balkan homeland is captured in spirit with a haunting vocal wail, an exemplary guitar break by Branko Trijić and an equally compelling electric piano sortie by the band’s leader. Seguing quickly into ‘Mr Moon June’, presumably in reference to the heroic champion of ‘alternative’ music, Leonardo Pavkovic, Vasil plays acoustic piano this time with Trijić’s guitar venturing into rock territory but the overall vibe is jazz confirmed by Rastko Obradovic’s fluid sax, Miroslav Tovirac’s articulate bass and Peda Milutinović’s empathic, complex syncopated drumming with Vasil adding synth to his piano to complete a satisfying piece of music. Again one track flows into another as different mood is captured on ‘San Snova’ with solo piano to begin and as the piece progresses Vasil’s approaches stratospheric with an intensity I’ve seldom heard since the heady days of Keith Jarrett. (It is not with Jarrett that Hadžimanov is most often compared though but with Joe Zawinul). ‘Lost’ is a lovely piece with use of percussion (The band has a dedicated percussionist in Bojan Ivković) and Marta Hadžimanov’s vocal (lyrics by Svebor Ŝakić), more fluent piano and a memorable funky bassline from Tovirac. ‘Kaži’ and ‘Kaži Gradiškas together comprise a fantastic slice of jazz fusion with percussionist to the fore and a great synth led lead line after a slow, atmospheric start on organ, Ivkovic’s vocalisations also adding to the enjoyment. The music reminded me of Bill Bruford’s late 70s fusion band at their peak, high compliment deserving of such high art. ‘Maklik’ is foot tapping jazz funk with echoing synths and rock-solid rhythm section while ‘For Clare’ is an unexpected soul ballad with Dean Bowman on vocals which heads off in an electronic jazz direction with fluid sax solo, Obradović’s second telling contribution to the album. The final piece is also the longest, at 7:15 and also a pinnacle of sorts with the effortless swing confirming the unity of the band and Hadzimanov’s mellifluous piano style, Tovirac’s accomplished, agile bass to perfect rhythm accompaniment, quasi classical lines played to a ska beat with some dub echo thrown in! There are lots of reasons to love this album: it is cross genre jazz fusion, the best kind in my opinion, with elements of rock, R&B, funk, trance, electronica, psychedelic, ska and world music all having their place, the avant-garde moments well disciplined; the composition is outstanding as is the soloing; the music has more grooves than an average vinyl record, is rich in texture, engaging and adventurous but disciplined; has soul and the enthusiastic zeal of Vasil and his confreres is convincingly laid before the listener.
Phil Jackson, Acid Dragon (will be published online in a few months)
DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE
This five-piece jazz-prog band is based in Belgrade and they are led by Vasil Hadžimanov’s opulent keyboard playing. The music they produce is on the jazz side of prog with a dose of world music, rock, funk and electronica carefully placed for good measure. Their new album, Lines In Sand, is a twelve strong collection of jazz meets, well, all sorts really. Making this release a lively and interesting affair…
This is the second excellent album of contemporary Serbian jazz I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing recently…
Here, his post-bop, fusion-inflected modal pianism fires a rich range of both soaring solo invocation and shifting voicings, the whole enfolded in driving, richly percussive figures and atmospheric textures…
With its well-crafted compositions, top-notch and incisive work all round, including some affecting vocals, Lines In The Sand is one big-screen album, as inspiring as it is enjoyable…
Chronicles of Quentin
…Il faut d’abord passer outre le design de la pochette pour se concentrer exclusivement aux 12 compositions de ce ‘Lines In Sand’ d’une grande richesse et déjà salué par la critique nationale et internationale. S’affranchissant des étiquettes, la musique du Vasil Hadžimanov Band évolue dans un registre jazz fusion/progressif qui s’agrémente au gré des titres de sonorités rock, soul, funk, électro, psyché, sans perdre de vue les influences balkaniques (particulièrement présentes dans le magnifique “Freedom from the past”) que Vasil Hadžimanov a dans le sang, bercé par les musiques de son célèbre père Zafir Hadžimanov. Cet album a pourtant de quoi surprendre car chaque morceau a son identité propre et navigue de styles en styles, une écoute complète s’impose donc pour en saisir toute la richesse…
RENOVANDO UNA GRANDILOCUENTE LÍNEA DE TRABAJO
HOLA, AMIGOS DE AUTOPOIETICAN, LES SALUDA CÉSAR INCA. Hoy tenemos el enorme placer de presentar el nuevo disco de la VASIL HADŽIMANOV BAND, el cual funciona como un quinteto conformado por el susodicho líder a los teclados; Branko Trijic, a la guitarra; Mirsolav Tovirac, al bajo; Pedja Milutinovic, a la batería, y; Bojan Ivkovic, a la percusión y el canto. El disco nuevo en cuestión responde al título de “Lines In Sand” y ha sido publicado recientemente por el heroico y refinado sello MoonJune Records, más exactamente, a mediados del pasado mes de enero…
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Feat. David Binney
Serbian keyboardist and composer offers us compositions ranging from fusion, jazz, progressive rock to ethnic music. Having been recorded live, the album has an added value of freshness and authenticity…
Another great release from the Moonjune family!
The offer of this eclectic label has brought me evident satisfactions, because I’ve been able to reach new cultures through the sounds of its artists. One of those artists is Serbian keyboard player Vasil Hadzimanov, a talented man that has no boundaries in his compositions…
…Under the name of Vasil Hadzimanov Band, he and a bunch of great musicians have created “Lines in Sand”, an album that fortunately offers a delicious mixture of sounds that go from jazz to funk, from rock to psych. Eclectic and challenging, to be more concise…
…It is great to see how colorful the Vasil Hadzimanov Band is! The album finishes with “Rege Hadzi”, a very nice tune that adds a reggae-like sound to this already eclectic album. I thank Vasil and the band for daring to create music without limits, the result is a bunch of short stories that can live on their own, but together create one big interesting story.
As stylistically varied yet overwhelmingly convincing, Vasil Hadzimanov Band‘s sophomore effort for MoonJune Records, “Lines In Sands” puts all of the virtuoso Serbian keyboardist’s considerable talents on display. The album mixes ethnic influences with jazz, rock, R&B, funk, psychedelia and more, producing a delightfully zealous musical hybrid – highlighted by brilliant, soulful improvisations, tight syncopations, a flowing, organic interplay and prevailing understated sensibilities…
Each song is its own unique entity, augmented by performances that are brilliant in substance, efficiency and cohesiveness. Vasil’s keyboards work is smooth, lush and impressive, throughout. The musical ideas expressed are fresh and dynamic, delivered with sparkling economy, but never lacking in soul and conviction. Thoroughly engaging and an essential work for fans of great keyboards, rich textures, adventurous sonic excursions and dense ensemble work, “Lines In Sands” is a highly ambitious undertaking, an album that will leave you thoroughly satisfied. You can stream the whole album, and purchase CD or HD Download at this location.
…Vasil Hadzimanov Band: a band which continues to grow in popularity and notoriety — still playing concerts, clubs and festivals, while having amassed seven critically acclaimed albums during a more than twenty-year run. From their first release, 2001’s “11 razloga za…”, through 2018’s “Lines In Sand”, their sound is defined by its sheer ambitious, adventurous nature and stylistic diversity, and multiple elements and influences which greatly eclipse the jazz genre.
…The team sounds Weather Reportish on the funky “Maklik” and wonderfully kinetic with Milutinovic going overtime on the pulsating “Kazi Gradiska.” Middle Eastern moods by the leader create a feel like vintage RTF on “Freedome From the Past” and exotic chants take you to a caravan on the percussive title track. Dreamy vocals by Marta weave with keybords on “Lost” and rich piano work is passionate for “San Snova.” Exciting sparks fly around here…
Radoholičar Vasil Hadžimanov – sjajan klavijaturist, skladatelj, aranžer i band-leader – svojim prvijencem za MoonJune Records (agilnog Leonarda Pavkovića, promotora naslijeđa Soft Machine i fuzijskog jazza) još jednom je pokazao svoju „nepodnošljivu lakoću“ sviranja i sposobnost preskakanja svih mogućih žanrovskih, stilskih i etničkih ograda. „Lines In Sand“ tako otvara Vasilova autorska tema s čvrstim balkanskim ritmičkim korijenom (u ritmu i vokalizama) nadograđenim jazz-rockom. Preciznije sintom i klavirom, sjajnom gitarom Branka Trijića te besprijekornim radom ritam sekcije: basiste Miroslava Tovirca i perkusioniste Bojana Ivkovića…
…„Lines In Sand“ je naprosto sjajan album podjednako po guštu „starih ušiju“ koje su glazbene sklonosti formirali u sedamdsetima i za aktualnu jazz/jazzy publiku.
[automated translation] …Keyboardist Vasil and his men make genuine jazz, which will especially appeal to fans of the American mega-company Snarky Puppy . Experts know enough: this is very high-quality, brilliantly played jazz that always remains accessible, no matter how virtuoso.
Hadzimanov is a fantastic pianist, organist and synthesizer player who incorporates modern and world influences into his music. From opener Lines In Sand , with its Eastern theme, it is clear that this band cannot be caught in one hole. The other band members are subservient to the sound of the band, they play very strongly but never come to the fore where it is not necessary. Drummer Milutinovic is great, but plays very functional here and so does guitarist Trijic, who received his training at the conservatory in Amsterdam.
The band is funky, but also plays cool lounge in which the entire band is at the service of the music. For Clara is almost dub, with beautiful vocals by Dean Bowman, but halfway the band breaks loose for a game of furious horn jazz. Yummy!
The Vasil Hadzimanov Band is versatile, virtuoso and never bores: a dynamic jazz band that knows how to surprise regularly. In addition, the music, except for a few moments, is also good for non-jazz lovers…
LABORATORY OF MUSICAL FUSIONS
[automated translation] …The musical hybrid of this formation escapes any attempt to reliably categorize. Fiery improvisations, compact syncopations, fluid and organic dynamic music. There is no lack of soul, creativity and ideas for arranging the arrangement structure. As a whole, it may be a bit pretentious and poor for the sake of the lack of a joint concept and a chaotic source of conscription of such a multifaceted inspiration. As individual compositions, however, extremely addictive due to the wealth of invoices and the intensity of the sound. This is not an album epic, but a package of often brilliant music hits with a rough arrangement (Ratnici Podzemlja ). Controlled chaos and the boldness of creating unlimited music on this album enslaves. Jazz is torn away from its core nucleus, creating a stylistic storm of musical impression and sonic vitality. The uncompromising nature will surely bring this project high not only due to the quality, but also the richness of the pedigree of its musical experiences and unlimited possibilities of expression. If you’re looking for unpredictability then you could not get better. This genre amalgam will appeal to every admirer of bold fusions, which blend the Balkan folk, soul, funk, dub and jazz in such a hit form without any problems…
RYTHMES CROISÉS WEBZINE
[automated translation] …From jazz to ethno-fusion to progressive rock, these musicians have played everything, magnified, and constantly pushing the boundaries of style and possibility…
It’s all this incredible addition of boiling and adventurous talent that is reflected in the recent Lines In Sands through twelve compositions as varied as phenomenal, both musical and instrumental. However, nothing pretentious in all this, just musicians more than welded between them and in full possession of their art wishing to offer the best album that they can create to their friendly listeners, to whom they have friendship and respect…
…You will understand, Lines In Sands is dense, multiple, passionate, ambitious, intense, both madly reckless and superbly mastered, brief as sumptuous as indispensable for lovers of the genre.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
…This high-energy crew is too busy throwing more things into their loud multicultural melting pot to barely even pause for breath.
Hadžimanov has serious jazz chops on the keys, but if you ever see him playing in a lounge, it would have to be in a far-future outer-space lounge opening for Sun Ra. There’s plenty of swooping synth to suggest the feel of escaping gravity, though it’s balanced with some blazing acoustic piano, soaring electric guitar and grounded in percussion straight out of India. From the opening almost-mantric chant to the deep psychedelic reggae groove that rounds things out, the band continually blurs stylistic lines so smoothly you can barely hear the join…
MUSIC FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM
…Now I first became aware of Vasil’s music back in February of 2016 when I first heard him with his band featuring alto saxophonist David Binney on their live album, Alive. When I first heard his music, I wasn’t just blown away by their sound, but how he and his band mates would take you on their magic carpet and be a part of their concert in Belgrade in October, 2014. And you can just close your eyes and imagine yourself being at that venue.
With Lines in Sand, the Vasil Hadzimanov Band go into structures that are Avant-Garde, Trance, Pop, and Psychedelic to name a few. They’re going the beyond the Jazz genre. For them, it’s about moving forwards and seeing where the next yellow brick road will take them into by seeing, hearing, and understanding to go beyond that genre…
…This was my fourth time listening to Lines in Sand. Vasil and his team have come around to bring more ideas to life. Now for me, this was quite the challenge to hear what Vasil has done on his new album by going into different formats of music that is on here. As I’ve mentioned earlier, this is not just a jazz album, but bringing different structures to life. And I hope that he will continue to do more on the next adventures that awaits him.
…One of the real delights of this album is one is never quite sure what to expect from one song to the next. Although it is mostly based around jazz, that in itself is a very broad musical area so it can be delicate one minute, or strident and attacking the next. Also, there are times when VHB bring in elements of folk music from their home country, which takes the music in a quite different direction yet all making perfect musical sense at the same time…
…There is a lot of complexity in this, but it is never a hard album to musically follow or make sense out of, and yet again Leo Pavkovic is shining a light on area of the world where most people wouldn’t imagine music like this could exist, and giving it the platform it deserves.
Jazz based, but with so much more going on as well, this is an album which deserves discovery from lovers of music, whatever the genre.
[automated translation] …LiS will be an unforgettable pastime for listeners buried every day in the ashes of monstrous boredom, and though, perhaps, it will not guarantee them an immediate assumption or departure, at least it will lead to the use of appropriate vocabulary to express, I think, quite a delight….
Vasil Hadzimanov Band – Progressive/Modern Jazz
This Serbian keyboardist, pianist, and composer will turn a lot of heads with the release of Alive.
…these musicians play with one another with an ease and fluidity that is impressive and hypnotic. While the compositions and arrangements are complex, they are played with such confidence that you almost forget this fact…
Vasil Hadzimanov is een Servische pianist, keyboardspeler, componist en bandleider, die met zijn Vasil Hadzimanov Band intelligente jazzrock maakt met een Oost-Europees kleurtje. Stevig, maar ook fijnzinnig, met soms vreemde, abrupte tempowisselingen, merkwaardige ritmes, een drummer die alles lijkt te kunnen, gesteund door een percussionist. Naast Hadzimanov op keyboards horen we op hun nieuwe album Lines in Sand ook Branko Trijic op gitaar, Miroslav Tovirac op basgitaar, Bojan Ivkovic op percussie en zang en Pedja Milutinovic op drums – een sublieme band, die ook nog wat bijzondere gasten heeft uitgenodigd…
New Eclectic Experimental Music from Vasil Hadzimanov Band
Next we have the latest release from Serbian keyboardist/composer Vasil Hadzimanov titled “Lines In The Sand.” It features a dozen tracks, beginning with the worldly feel of the title-song “Lines In Sand,” as the song morphs into a electronic jazz fusion…
ARNALDO DESOUTEIRO’S JAZZ STATION
The 40th Annual Jazz Station Awards / The Best Jazz of 2018
These are the complete results of the 40th Annual Jazz Station Awards conducted by jazz journalist, record producer, jazz historian & jazz educator Arnaldo DeSouteiro…
Already the 2nd feature at Progstreaming this year, here’s the sophomore album by Serbian keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov and his band, out now on MoonJune Records. Available on CD and all digital formats, it even features a homage to MoonJune’s founder Leonardo Pavkovic, one of prog- and jazz-related most influential figures indeed! Here’s to him, and you, and this great music. Go check it out now!
« Lines in Sand » est un classique de la fusion entre le jazz et le rock mais assimile aussi avec brio des racines ethniques avec des doses de R & B, de funk, d’avant-garde et de psychédélisme. Si l’on cherche à tout prix les influences inhérentes de Vasil, il faut se retourner vers des groupes comme, Return To Forever et Weather Report, les créateurs du genre.
Les claviers tenus par Vasil sont absolument fantastiques, mais cela va de soi tant le Monsieur fait preuve d’un savoir faire inventif et sans faille. Certains morceaux synthétisent à merveilles l’amalgame des genres comme l’électro/Funky « Ratnici Podzemlja », le smooth Jazz avec le superbe « Lost » sublimé par le chant de Marta Hadzimanov, puis le côté folk ethnique perçu dans « Freedom From The Past » et le titre éponyme « Lines in Sand » …
SEA OF TRANQUILITY
From start to finish, Lines in the Sand is a groove laden, fiery affair, Hadzimanov and the band blending classic jazz-fusion, rock, funk, smooth jazz, avant-garde, ambient, and ethnic sounds into a wildly exciting and upbeat collection of songs that show off not only their musical skills, but the compositional abilities of the leader. The title cut offers breezy electric piano and scorching lead guitar while alluring vocals float over the top, and the ripping “Mr. MoonJune”…
Plenty of variety, tasty playing, and memorable songs, all make Lines in the Sand an engaging, enjoyable listen. Modern day jazz-fusion doesn’t get much better than this.
THE JAZZ OWL
All one can ask is, “Where have these guys been all my life?
Vasil Hadzimanov is a splendid pianist and he works in dialogue with David Binney’s sax wonderfully. Binney’s sax solo is a thing of beauty. The rhythm section of Tovirac-Ivkovic-Milutinovic is furious. The tone of the night and the excitement that it brings are precisely painted by the music. And, if this is the opening track, hold your breath as those lucky concert-goers in Serbia must have done.”
The rhythm section has the bull’s eye painted right on them. Trijic’s guitar is a whirlwind of strumming fury. Unbelievable.
It is so easy, on the other hand, to find fascination in the artistry of each and every one of these musicians. There is no weak member and the audience is appreciative of it…
The Fender Rhodes movement is tight and attractive. The bass is bumping, the drums are straight-up and Milutinovic turns in a drum solo that is breath-taking…
The Vasil Hadzimanov Band is an incredible assemblage of tight percussionists, brilliant composers/arrangers, and dedicated melody-makers who bring it all to bear in front of fortunate audiences who, until now, have been limited to Europe and Japan. Thanks to MoonJune, we get to be numbered among the lucky ones who have witnessed the spirit and skill, intelligence and talent, of The Vasil Hadzimanov Band. They truly make you come Alive…
MUSIC IN BELGIUM
… Et c’est comme cela jusqu’à la fin de cet excellent album, qui présente un groupe et surtout un clapant musicien Vasil Hadzimanov à travers un recueil technique qui bénéficie d’un enregistrement sans faille, permettant à tout un chacun de profiter de chaque note de chaque instrument joué. Le label Moonjune Records offre ici une de ces meilleurs réalisations de ce début d’année 2019, avec un véritable condensé de maîtrise offert par une équipe dotée d’un grand niveau technique. Un must dans le créneau rock-fusion !
…Lines In Sand трудно определить каким-то одним термином, настолько разнообразен альбом по характеру составивших его программу девяти композиций. Можно, конечно, сказать, что это – современный вариант джаз-рока, но это определение будет весьма приблизительным. Наиболее чистым стилистически образчиком такой музыки я бы назвал пьесу Mr. MoonJune, посвященную шефу лейбла Леонардо Павковичу, неустанному проводнику лучших образцов прог-рока и джаз-рока в современном музыкальном бизнесе…
…Завершая, могу сказать одно: этот альбом стоит услышать.
LET IT ROCK
Serbian ensemble serve up strong studio present to map out their ebb-and-flow future.
Having laid ground rules for worldwide operation with their concert album, this collective didn’t stall to play around with the ideas flaunted in front of immediate audiences and consolidated their time-tested approach and drew “Lines In Sand” where the collective’s life force is run through an impressive variety of memorable metamorphoses. There’s also a great integrity in the dozen cuts which seem straightforward in terms of delivering memorable passages but are hellbent – and heaven-bound – on veering away from the obvious in search of new pleasures…
…His commitment to continually challenging himself and his fellow musicians is reflected in the freshness and vitality which has accompanied any of the numerous projects in which he has directed and/or contributed. Vasil Hadzimanov is a vital musical voice: a maestro performer, accomplished composer and a true, uncompromising torchbearer – building upon a rich musical pedigree, while shrugging off clichés and expressive limitations…
An experiment in sound that pushes the boundaries – and succeeds!
Moonjune Records grossiert in topreleases. De één volgt de ander op. Nu weer het in een geweldig geluid gestoken ‘Lines in Sand’ van de Servische Vasil Hadžimanov Band, hun tweede album na het uitstekende debuut ‘Alive‘ (2016).
Het promovel stelt dat de muziek “transcends categorization”. Dat kan ik volmondig bevestigen. Natuurlijk horen we etnische invloed vanuit de Balkan in het titelnummer, associeert ‘Mr. Moonjune’ (Robert Wyatt of platenbaas Leonardo Pavkovic?) aan jazzrock met o.a. referenties aan Brand X, swingt ‘Maklik’ de pan uit, is er her en der experiment, beweegt ‘For Clara’ zich in de soulregionen en behoort ‘Ratnici Podzemlja’ tot de funkcategorie. Alles is echter overgoten met een heerlijke saus die ik niet goed kan duiden – dat is juist aantrekkelijk – maar het is een saus die in ieder geval zorgt voor een weldadige synergie van al die invloeden. Waarbij de technische vaardigheid van Hadzimanov, zijn vier kompanen en wat gasten op hoog niveau staat…
BASS MUSICIAN MAGAZINE
ALBUM ON OUR RADAR
…Vasil’s Band brings a diverse collection of tunes ranging from funky to exotic. Miroslav holds down a serious bass line and stands out on so many cuts…
ROLAND’S WORLD OF PROG-MUSIC
Mit der ‘Vasil Hadzimanov Band’ und dem neuesten Album ‘Lines In The Sand’ hat das New Yorker Jazz-Label Moonjune Records mal wieder voll ins Schwarze getroffen und ein richtig tolles Händchen bewiesen…
…Jazz-Freunden möchte ich das Album unbedingt ans Herz legen.
…Και όχι αδίκως. Γιατί η Vasil Hadžimanov Band είναι πολύ καλή, αποτελούμενη από άσσους οργανοπαίκτες (Vasil Hadžimanovπιάνο, πλήκτρα, Branko Trijić κιθάρες, Miroslav Tovirac μπάσο, Peđa Milutinović ντραμς, samples, Bojan Ivković κρουστά, φωνή), που σε συνδυασμό με τις guest προσθήκες (Marta Hadžimanovφωνητικά, Rastko Obradović σαξόφωνα, Dean Bowman φωνή), φέρνει το progressive–fusion ξανά στο κέντρο της προσοχής. Μπορεί να μην είναι η μόνη μπάντα που το πράττει, όμως (και αυτή) έχει το μερίδιό της, σ’ αυτή την αναθέρμανση…
…Πάντως, για μένα, το κομμάτι που κάνει τη μεγάλη διαφορά στο “Lines in Sand” είναι το τελευταίο του δίσκου, το 7λεπτο “Rege Hadži”, που, ναι, διαθέτει τον ρέγκε-αντιχρονισμό, αλλά διαθέτει και άλλα περιγραφικά ηχοχρώματα, κυρίως βγαλμένα από τα πλήκτρα του Hadžimanov, τα οποία και το απογειώνουν. Έξοχη σύνθεση (του Hadžimanov φυσικά), που κλείνει με τον καλύτερο τρόπο αυτό τον δυνατό δίσκο.
In 2016 besteedden we aandacht aan de Vasil Hadzimanov Band aan de hand van de live-CD “Alive”. De groep uit Servië viel op door een vorm van jazzrock waarin allerlei andere genres zoals wereldmuziek in waren verwerkt. De nieuwe studioplaat “Lines in Sand”, die eind vorig jaar wederom bij MoonJune Records verscheen, is een logische voortzetting van die sound. Naast wereldmuziek zijn onder meer invloeden uit de Canterbury Scene en elektronica te bespeuren…
NEW PROG RELEASES
…Each song is its own unique entity, augmented by performances that are brilliant in substance, efficiency and cohesiveness. Vasil’s keyboards work is smooth, lush and impressive, throughout. The musical ideas expressed are fresh and dynamic, delivered with sparkling economy, but never lacking in soul and conviction.
Thoroughly engaging and an essential work for fans of great keyboards, rich textures, adventurous sonic excursions and dense ensemble work, “Lines In Sands” is a highly ambitious undertaking, an album that will leave you thoroughly satisfied…
JAZZ MUSIC ARCHIVES
Jazz fusion is alive and well in 2016, and still making a steady comeback thanks to artists like Vasil Hadzimanov and his new lively live album; “Alive”, which features Vasil’s usual electric quintet expanded with the inclusion of saxophonist David Binney.
The spirit of early Weather Report can be heard on here, which is always a good thing as Vasil channels Zawinul while Binney invokes Wayne Shorter, but there is a lot more influences at work on here than just the past. Like a lot of modern fusion artists, Hadzimanov has modernized his sound with shades of electronica and drumnbass rhythms, plus influences from around the world, particularly the Balkans and North Africa. Also, like a lot of modern fusion, the boring slickness of the 80s is far behind us on “Alive”, instead, this music is raw, imaginative and energetic with a very loose approach…
… Overall there are no bum tracks on the entire album, its smokin’ hot from start to finish.
…The album features eight outstanding classic jazz numbers, beginning with the eleven-minute “Nocturnal Joy.” Special guest David Binney on alto sax is given his moments in the spotlight…
…This eight-track tour document crisscrossing Serbia shows this band at the height of their powers, spurred on to even greater heights by Binney’s presence. The pairing of this band with this saxophonist is a match made in prog-rock heaven.
This show-stopping kick-out-the-jams moment portends great things so kudos for New York City’s MoonJune Records for bringing Vasil around the globe, so to speak, so adventurous ears can lap this stuff up…
…Finally, the album shows abundance of fresh musical ideas, where different styles and expressions merge in emotional harmony. The obligation to follow Anglo-American musical traditions and customs are thrown away. We are reminded that, where they journey on the Way of Music, others walk in silence…
MUSIC FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM
This live CD released on the MoonJune Records label this year, shows the Vasil Hadzimanov Band at their finest.
… It contains eight tracks that you can imagine yourself by closing your eyes and imagine yourself being at their concert and witnessing something special and breathtaking before your very eyes from start to finish… I had a blast listening to the Alive album.
… You can close your eyes and imagine yourself at one of their shows, just being in awe and jaw-dropped of what is going to happen next of the Vasil Hazimanov Band’s music, along with Dave Binney…
PROGRESSIVE ROCK CENTRAL
…Vasil Hadžimanov takes control of the show using captivating piano and fabulous electronic keyboards. Aside from Hadžimanov’s work, the album features spectacular bass work by Miroslav Tovirac and creative percussion and drums…
Vasil Hadzimanov Band feat. David Binney – “Alive” (2016): Stimulative fusion, exploring and revisiting. Hadzimanov integrates styles & genres into a rhythmic frenzy exhaling freshness beyond roots. Alive and kicking by all means…Highly recommended...
[automated translation] …All this was “Alive”, our gateway to the world of VASIL HADŽIMANOV BAND: We have been slow to discover this Serbian contemporary jazz-rock ensemble, but now that we have, we have the perfect perspective to assert that it is a very important point of reference for the musical vanguard of today. A music that, above all, is traversed from beginning to the end by expression of life. Buzzed 100%!
…Throughout this set one will find some amazingly tight interplay by every member of the band, and stellar virtuosic playing at every turn, with Hadžimanov’s keyboards leading the charge.
It was Vasil’s original composition “Uaiya” that won my vote for personal favorite of the nine extended jazz journeys, though… you all know, I’m just a sucker for fluid piano lines, and Hadzimanov is among the best of them… one note here, though; be SURE you have your volume cranked up on your headphones, so you can catch every little detail of the interplay. I give this great album a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
KRAUT NICK MAGAZINE
[automated translation] …no wonder then, that after the fifth album of this band, something as timeless and grandiose as “Alive” comes out. The jubilation is entitled.
[automated translation] …actually includes many things, but a particularly good sense for integrating lots of colors, which interweave and make “Alive” very enjoyable. The great tension is created by “groove” foundations, bold and free mix of a variety of folk music, and almost “just” icing on the cake of jazz, with it’s improvisation quality.
PARADOXONE & ACID DRAGON MAGAZINE
UK&FRANCE, “Paradoxone & Acid Dragon Magazine” 2016 – ALIVE by Phil Jackson
Once in a while an album comes along that is truly outstanding and ‘Alive’ is such an album. First of all, it is hard to believe the album is live, secondly this has to be the finest example of progressive jazz fusion I have heard in a long, long time…
THE JOURNAL OF PROGRESSIVE MUSIC
USA , “The Journal of Progressive Music” 2016 – ALIVE by Raymond Benson (printed only)
… Alive melds technical prowess with infectious grooves firmly established and extrapolated upon in nearly every track. Besides Vasil Hadzimanov’s melodic lead work on the keys, Branko Trijic does some remarkable work on guitar, Miroslav Tovirac shines on bass, and Pedja Milutinovic and Bojan Ivkovic provide steady head-bopping foundations on drums…
The group mixes things up via good-vibe rockers such as opener “Nocturnal Joy” and more studiously considered, guitar dominated “Dolazim,” with remarkable riff flitting in and out of the arrangement. “Zulu” emphasizes dynamo rhythms, against Trijic’s guitar soaring above.
…(VHBand) obviously, no longer remains a well-kept secret.
MUSIC IN BELGIUM
[automated translation] …We travel in long musical journeys, always with rich and expert solos on piano, bass or saxophone in jazz and funky atmospheres of high flight ( “Nocturnal joy” , “Zulu” , “Uaiya” , “Otkriće snova ” ). Seventies spirit (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Chick Corea) is flying over it all to bring a classic touch that will delight jazz lovers, as well as some finely chiseled rock.
STORIA DELLA MUSICA
[automated translation] …recorded during the autumn 2014 tour, the performance is filled with a vibrant power of execution that encompasses ethnic trends in a relentless and dynamic flow, fed by jazz , prog and fusion, and enriched by the voice of the alto saxophone by David Binney, one of the leading figures of the New York jazz scene…
…Two pieces for over twenty minutes, after which the high temperature is brought back to more acceptable values: this is provided with “Odlazim”, jazz improvisation on electric piano, prelude to one of the most fascinating moments of the concert, “Dolazim”. Developed on a desert blues riff, “Dolazim” is a prelude to a dialogue between psychedelic keyboards and guitar.
[automated translation] The music of VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND is somewhere in the jazz intersection of Jan Garbarek, Return To Forever and Weather Report and Pat Metheny, and a progressive fusion of world music, ethno and rock, plus one or two of Zappaesque idea’s.“
[automated translation] New Yorker Leonardo Pavkovic has a nose for emerging promises in the progressive jazz circuit. His Moonjune label operates as a musical detective agency and shine the spotlights on newly discovered artists that defy the conventions and laws of the genre with their immense talent. The concert recording ‘Alive’ is the international Vasil Hadzimanov Band debut.
‘Alive’ documents the band at a creative peak. This adventurous music pays homage to various styles and influences – jazz, ethno-fusion, progressive rock, avant-garde – and this melting pot has created a unique sound with maximum performance freedom.
Trijic’s guitar gets a bit rocky as he twangs with Binney’s alto on “Odlazim” while hints of Pat Metheny are captured by the band on the upbeat “Nocturnal Joy.” Hadzimanov’s piano goes genteel and soft on “Razbolje…” while post bop sounds are emitted on the clever and tricky “Uaiya.” The band shows how to dig deep into a soul groove on “Tovarifro” while they enter the space race on a synthesized “Otkrice Snova.” Must have been a fun tour!
[automated translation] The Leader was accompanied the by aforementioned American saxophonist David Binney and beautiful group of instrumentalists from Serbia. True music lovers and excellent musicians.
The album is a big dose of wonderful jazz rock. It combines elements of progressive, free jazz, ethno fusion and pure rock. An electrifying mix that every fan of twisted rhythms, great guitars, amazing sounds of keys and trippy party saxophone will find for themselves a substantial piece of music pie.
Listening to this is great, because purely jazz-rock fusion climaxes with pulsating bass and thick drums intertwined here to form the climate and colors reminiscent of Japanese phrases singing, which actually vocalize.
[automated translation] The compositions and musicianship are certainly the strengths of the group and the “Alive”. Most of the pieces are more than excellent, with dominant melodies, shining solos, and ultimately the feeling flooding almost every track.
…while the colossal “Otkriće snova”, which closes CDs, stresses the value of Vasil Hadžimanov Band in this area of the electric jazz.
… and it will certain enthrall those looking for some new fusion kicks. The opening ‘Nocturnal Joy’ sees the band taking some spectacular side routes through various forms of jazz, while ‘Zulu’ is the one for those searching for some seventies fusion reformatted for the 21st century. Granted, I could have done without the vocals, but instrumentally, it’s a dream concoction.
MUSIC STREET JOURNAL
The high energy rocking on this thing is exceptional. This number has a lot of jazz in the mix, but plenty of rock, too. I love the guitar. I love the bass. I love just about everything about this. As much as I enjoyed the previous piece, this one blows that number away. There are definitely some things here that make me think of King Crimson a bit. Yet it’s got some pure fusion built into it, too. There is a drop back to some tribal chanting over some trippy keyboards. From there they take it out into some mellower jazz territory. It gradually builds up as it goes along, though…
All members of the band contributed compositions to “Alive”. It’s an impressive set of compositions. My favourite piece is ‘Nocturnal Joy’, the first track. It has a beautiful melody and slowly develops into a great jazz tune. It also puts the spotlight on special guest / New York City based saxophone player David Benney. Beautiful !! Great energy!
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Života mi is virtuosic in its execution; relentlessly rhythmic and unmistakably excellent. What makes it so great is his strong and increasingly mature writing, which provides a great basis upon which the players can build. Most compositions are in the four-minute range and, compared to previous pieces, are radio friendly…
…With a beautiful blend of writing and playing Života Mi is Vasil Hadžimanov’s most mature and fully realized album to date; breaking new ground without totally abandoning the past…
After two very poor decades for Balkans progressive music, some return to their place on musical map could be evidenced in early 00′. Vasil Hadzimanov band is one of most professional and interesting collective speaking about modern fusion of this area.
Even if Balkan folk was source of influences for Southern European (and far not only – last decade I heard some interesting Nordic bands, heavily influenced by Balkan folk as well) prog for years, VH band uses this material with really rare taste.
Very technically competent modern jazz fusion, with excellent keyboards and strong jazzy flavour, uses folklore for some tunes and themes, but all the music is played in a key of European jazz rock band. Not often I heard so tasteful touch on musical roots – it’s far not the music for tourists,when local attractions are used in the form of souvenirs. This album’s music is one of rare successful really synthetic look on folk roots and modern jazz realities.
…Even if electric keyboards are leading instrument , all musicians are equally strong…
One fresh look on the modern European jazz fusion, really recommended!