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Miki Petkovski - Ko zna CD (album) cover

KO ZNA

Miki Petkovski

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 3 ratings

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Seyo
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Miki Petkovski was a member of the early 1970's progressive rock bands REPUBLIKA 903 and BREG from Skopje, Macedonia (ex-Yugoslavia), who sadly never released any record although listening to their Youtube clips nowadays (in case of REPUBLIKA 903) one can't help but recognize a pioneering jazz-rock/folk-fusion effort which was later on to be perfected by LEB I SOL (whose members also participated in these bands).

Being an excellent pianist (and graduate cellist from Skopje Music Academy) Petkovski was recruited by SMAK in 1977 to replace their outgoing keyboardist Laza Ristovski (joined mega-stars BIJELO DUGME) for their most acclaimed and the best-selling album "Crna dama". His extraordinary keyboard skills (particularly on acoustic and electric piano and Moog synthesizer) were dominant on that record, but strangely it was his sole moment of rock stardom. He did not continue with SMAK because he wanted more artistic freedom for his own compositions and arrangements thus confronting with the band leader Radomir Mihajlović Tocak. Nevertheless his time spent with SMAK left one of the most beautiful jazz-rock compositions in ex-YU catalog - "Tegoba" ("Suffer").

Shortly before leaving to serve the army Petkovski gathered both SMAK and LEB I SOL to back him up for the recording of his debut solo LP "Ko zna" ("Who Knows") in summer 1978. This album was largely neglected at the time of its release and faced mixed reviews due to alleged inconsistency and commercialization but to be fair, it was much better than that. The "concept" of the album intermingled two types of tracks: vocal and shorter songs with commercial potentials and pop-rock-funk groove and slightly longer (but not too long!) instrumentals inclined towards jazz-rock. There were also two different backing bands of musicians: Vlatko Stefanovski-guitar, Garo Tavitijan-drums and Bodan Arsovski-bass of LEB I SOL with female singer Gordana Ivandic on one side and on the other a complete SMAK line-up including Tocak-guitar, Slobodan Stojanovic Kepa-drums, Zoran Milanovic-bass, Boris Arandjelovic-vocals and David Moss-percussions.

Two side-openers, "Igra" ("The Game") and "Ko je taj" ("Who Is That Guy") were obviously made to be aired as hits but both proved unsuccessful musically and commercially. Fortunately, the remaining tracks presented high instrumental skills of both groups and announced some interesting composing abilities of Petkovski who combined his academic training of classical music with contemporary jazz-rock fashion.

Highlights of "Ko zna" are instrumental tracks "Iluminacija" ("Illumination") and "Katarza" ("Catharsis") played with LEB I SOL as well as "Sinteza" ("Synthesis") and "Budjenje" ("Awakening") with SMAK. "Iluminacija" is a lengthy symphonic jazz-fusion spiced with Gordana's scat vocals in the manner of Gayle Moran of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA or Annie Haslam of RENNAISANCE, while some piano parts invoke SUPERTRAMP's "Fool's Overture". "Katarza" closes the album in a full-blown LEB I SOL manner including an amazing guitar of Stefanovski. "Sinteza" and "Budjenje" showcase SMAK as excellent jazz-funk-rock ensemble along the lines of BRAND X or Herbie Hancock's HEADHUNTERS acting as a vehicle for Petkovski's solo exhibition on synthesizers.

The remaining two vocal tracks, "Ko zna" with Gordana and "Ko je u pravu" ("Who's Right") with Boris are nice and soothing, somewhat easy-listening soft-jazz which the fans of STEELY DAN should like to hear.

In retrospect, "Ko zna" seems to be much better work than it appeared to the contemporary audience and critics. True, full capabilities of Belgrade Radio Television Studio V and its 24-track mixer were apparently not used and some songs were obviously made only to sell out, but nobody claims this is a masterpiece. A very good album it is! It sadly remains unissued on CD format until now, while old vinyl records could be found at Web shops for sometimes unreasonably high price.

PERSONAL RATING: 4,5/5

P.A. RATING: 4/5

Seyo | 4/5 |

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