Bojan Z Quartet: Yopla!

COMPOSERS: Bojan Z Quartet
LABELS: Label Bleu
PERFORMER: Bojan Zulfikarpasic (p, perc), Julien Lourau (sax), Marc Buronfosse (b), François Merville (d); Kudsi Erguner (ney)
CATALOGUE NO: LBLC 6590

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A native of the former Yugoslavia who studied piano under Clare Fischer in America, Bojan Zulfikarpasic now lives and works in France. His music neatly exemplifies the modern truism about jazz: while a universal language, it is constantly being enriched by local dialects, each employing particular idioms and bringing new life to familiar forms.

Thus Zulfikarpasic brings Balkan folk rhythms (learned, initially unwillingly, in an army band) to a piano style influenced by US masters (Bill Evans chief among them) and his quartet’s music is consequently an exhilarating yet lyrical amalgam of influences from the Old and New Worlds. While Zulfikarpasic’s own compositions are bright, airy tunes with subtle rhythms, those of his French band members are more influenced by free jazz.

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The result is an intriguingly varied album ranging between Garbarek-like folkish skirls, unashamed romanticism, jaunty dance rhythms and swirling free-for-alls, cohering courtesy of the deft eclecticism of the quartet and their guest ney player (a ney is a type of end-blown flute), who appears on two tracks. CP