COMPOSERS: Bojan Zulfikarpasic
LABELS: Label Bleu
PERFORMER: Kudsi Erguner (ney), Julien Lourau, Vincent Mascart (saxes), Bojan Zulfikarpasic (p), Vlato Stefanovski (g), Vojin Draskoci (b), Tony Rabeson (d), Karim Ziad (perc)
CATALOGUE NO: LBLC 6614 (distr. New Note)


There is a touching naivete in America about the impact jazz has had around the globe. For almost a century there has been a bland acceptance that the rest of the world took their cues from whatever was happening on the American scene.

But with more and more young American jazz musicians content to be custodians of past styles, basking in the reflected glory of earlier, sometimes posthumous heroes, the momentum for innovation, the sine qua non of modernism, has faltered.

In tandem with American jazz’s preoccupation with its past has come a failure to acknowledge the music has become so big it has finally outgrown its country of birth, and that its stewardship was no longer an exclusive American preserve. Certainly European jazz, once regarded by Americans with the same sort of tolerant smile they reserve for Japanese baseball, is currently giving more and more evidence of stepping into the evolutionary continuum as American jazz falters.

The momentum for innovation is now irresistible – not least as evidence the music is continuing to evolve as an art form. Which is why Koreni is like a shot of electricity in its reshaping and re-imagining of jazz using Balkan folk music, free jazz, electric jazz and straight ahead improvisation. Here is tangible evidence of evolution, of a corner turned, of something new and fresh.


The creative rush of ‘La Petit Gitane,’ for example, contains moments of inspired and exciting music making, something that the sober rationalization of those who inhabit past styles of jazz almost succeeded in bleaching out of the music entirely. Stuart Nicholson