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Vasil Hadzimanov Band - Lines in Sand CD (album) cover

LINES IN SAND

Vasil Hadzimanov Band

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 4 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars Interesting ethnic jazz and jazz fusion from Serbia, the music here varies enough that at-times a hear/feel classical jazz, 70s fusion ' la RTF and WEATHER REPORT, and even some Canterbury and electronic jazz in the vein of Swedish band KOOP. In short, they're all over the place!--but it's really good, highly engaging, and remarkably creative and fresh.

1. "Lines In Sand" (5:42) opens with hand drum and clapping in odd, Arabic rhythm before Arabic vocalise and electric keyboards enter. After first verse of singing, guitars, Fender Rhodes keyboard, fretless bass and drum kit conform into a more standard soft jazz structure while maintaining rhythm and pace of the opening. Electric guitar is first to solo in the third minute, keys in forth and fifth. Nice frisky drum and bass backplay throughout. Final minute returns to bare bones of opening section though drums' toms are stick played and electric instruments are just waiting in the background to occasionally pounce in. Nice song--sets a great tone for the unique sound of this album. (9/10)

2. "Mr. MoonJune" (6:59) apparently a tribute to recently deceased founder of MoonJune Records, this one sounds and feels like a very standard jazz-rock song from the late 70s. My interest is most captivated by the funky bass play. Halfway through we hear the sax for the first time. (8/10)

3. "San Snova" (4:36) opens with interesting piano play--two hands doing completely different things while both using odd time signatures. When bass, guitars, and drums join in in the second minute the song takes on a Vince Guiraldi Black Orpheus"-kind of feel. The piano solo play in the third and fourth minutes is bouncy and staccato- percussive not unlike Joe Sample, Don Pullen, or even Thelonius Monk. Very interesting piano play--like an 'tude of some theoretical idea. (9/10)

4. "Lost" (5:26) opens with piano and the airy soprano voice of Marta Hadzimanov. Quite pretty. Reminds me a bit of the KOOP music from Waltz for Koop with Yukimi Nagano singing--only a bit more jazzy. Piano-led combo takes over for some soloing for the majority of the song, though Marta does reappear in the final minute--though mixed more within the combo than forward. (9/10)

5. "Kazi" (2:25) notes a shift into Mark ISHAM-like electronic soundtrack jazz. Creative and engaging. (4.5/5)

6. "Kazi Gradiska" (4:39) takes over from the previous song turning into a spy-theme-like song with a hyper-fast- paced drum excursion moving beneath the slower, more methodical melodic weave. Cool song. Reminds me of something from later RETURN TO FOREVER (Gayle, Stanley and Gerry Brown era), really letting the drummer shine. (8.75/10)

7. "Maklik" (5:26) a funky bass and "clap" rhythm track open this one--making it sound like a 1980s Marcus Miller song. When electric keys, drums and guitar join it's an interesting conversation between synth and guitar chord play that ensue! Creative and fascinating though lacking any remarkable development save for a floating interlude in the fifth minute. Nice smooth jazz song. (8.5/10)

8. "For Clara" (6:02) highlighted by the soulful English vocal of Dean Bowman, the musical support is quite sparse, allowing Dean's voice to dominate the show. "Wild animal" synth noises kind of "battle" with Dean in the second and again in the third minutes causing a surprising rise in tension. At 3:37 there is a shift in tempo, pace, and feel as drums and percussion begin a syncopatic interplay which then provides the foil for an ensuing sax solo. I'll give it to Vasil and company here: this is new and refreshing! Great climax with rhythmic instruments and sax to finish! (9.5/10)

9. "Waiting For..." (1:46) a quiet, delicate little mostly-guitar interlude in the aftermath/fallout of the previous song. (4/5)

10. "Freedom From The Past" (4:44) back to some ethnic/folk-based music with both instruments (primarily percussion), rhythms, and melodic structure. Still, there remains a very Western WEATHER REPORT-like presentation. Excellent drumming and very creative synth play. Joe Zawinul would love to play on this one! (8.75/10)

11. "Ratnici Podzemlja" (4:21) despite the excellent bass play on this one, the straight time and fairly docile, unexceptional structure, melodies, and soli make this one a weak point--despite the interesting African choral rap. (8/10)

12. "Rege Hadzi" (7:15) again, a song kind of "cursed" for a very common chord and stylistic base. Piano and Latin- almost-Reggae-like rhythmic structure crate what becomes another "world music" song--though also feeling like a Zawinul song. (7.5/10)

Keys, drums, bass, and guitars all excel on this one, though not so much in an overly-flashy fashion but rather in creative, well balanced weaves. I love the very creative sound production from the band leader as well as guitarist Branko Trijic, but I think I'm most impressed with the skills of drummer Pedja Milutinovic and bass player Miroslav Tovirac.

Solid four stars; an excellent release of diverse, skillful, and, at timese, ethnically-flavored jazz fusion. Definitely a band and album worth checking out!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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