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Tihomir Pop Asanovic - Majko Zemljo CD (album) cover

MAJKO ZEMLJO

Tihomir Pop Asanovic

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.07 | 10 ratings

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Seyo
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having left TIME after their phenomenal first album, Tihomir Pop Asanovic joined them again during the World Youth Festival, held in (East) Berlin 1973, on which occasion he played his rewarded composition "Berlin". The following year he recorded his first solo album "Majko Zemljo" (Eng. "Mother Earth") which is celebrated as the first recorded solo album of a rock keyboardist in former Yugoslavia! Also in 1974 Asanovic formed a super-group called JUGOSLOVENSKA POP SELEKCIJA (Yugoslavian Pop Selection) which gathered a dozen or so prominent rock and jazz musicians of the time, who performed at many concerts in ex-Yugoslavia, including the popular "Boom" Pop Festivals in Ljubljana '74 and Zagreb '75. POP SELECTION would transform into band SEPTEMBER in late 1975, but before that Asanovic invited many of these musicians for his solo LP, which basically consisted of the old material previously worked out with POP SELECTION.

The title track is a strong and catchy jazz-funk number with clavinet and brass arrangements where Janez Boncina (SEPTEMBER) and Dado Topic (TIME) shared lead vocals. "Balada o liscu" ("The Ballad Of The Leaves") is a nice, bluesy jazz ballad with Topic's lead vocals singing about falling leaves and passing of life which is quite spoiled by excessive use of a synthesizer. I guess it was a novelty at that time so Asanovic could not resist playing with it more than necessary. "Berlin I" is excellent jazz instrumental with perfect brass melody, superb Hammond, Asanovic's signature instrument, and trumpet solo by Pero Ugrin. "Tema za pop LP" ("Theme For a Pop LP") is another instrumental featuring female scat vocals, electric piano, clavinet and Hammond. Nothing special but pleasant enough to listen to. There is a pure classic jazz feel in this song. A somewhat stupid title "Rokenrol dizajner" ("Rock'n'Roll Designer") uncovers a brilliant short funky and rhythmic track with Boncina/Topic singing the title words interchangeably, while Divjak and Doblekar provide strong percussions. Another slow ballad "Ostavi trag" ("Leave the Trace") features Josipa Lisac as lead female vocalist and her performance is excellent. Again too much syntesizers here, but improvement comes with fine piano and at the closing part a wonderful soprano sax solo, which recalls some Coltranesque feel. Too bad this part is very short. This song would resurface on the first SEPTEMBER album "Zadnja avantura" two years later. D. Topic sings lead with female backing in the Latino-flavoured "Telepatija" ("Telepathy") sounding similar to SANTANA at times. A danceable, catchy tune but nothing exceptional. The closing "Berlin II" instrumental is not as good as the first one although it showcases the jolly sound of clavinet again.

This is a very good jazz-rock album with certain funk and R'n'B influences that does not require close attention or extraordinary jazz knowledge as preconditions for enjoyment. However, the keyboard nerds will have enough time to explore the sounds of Hammond, piano, clavinet and vintage synths played by one of the best ex- Yugoslavian musicians during the "golden" prog era.

Seyo | 4/5 |

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