Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Vasil Hadzimanov Band - Lines in Sand CD (album) cover


Vasil Hadzimanov Band

Jazz Rock/Fusion

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
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!

Report this review (#2109205)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Towards the end of 2018 I stumbled upon some Live @ Binta Sound youtube videos from this crew, which were recorded in 2016. And immediately was flashed due to so much playfullness and technical skills. What a great discovery, not noticed beforehand, although the band already is under way for several years now. As one might expect, they are headed by Vasil Hadzimanov from Serbia, who is pulling the strings, being responsible for compositions and arrangements, also catering for electric piano and synths on top of it. He has gathered an exceptional crew of Balkan musicians, who all together deliver a really superb effort with this album. A multi-coloured one, rooted in jazz fusion for sure, though also wandering around diverse other meadows like balkan folk, soul, funk and dub in between.

The songs are fading into each other, for the benefit of a better flow, with the result of one enjoyable epic. They are starting with the album title track, yet rather conventional, though this nevertheless shows the band's qualities while appointing every particular instrument in its unique shape. Featuring proper saxophone support the funky Mr. Moonjune follows as a homage to Leonardo Pavkovic, the founder of the associated label. The fulminant closing section then points to the album's tricky character for the first time. The charming Lost offers nice female vocals and perfectly introduced percussion, where Kazi Gradiska will release all brakes finally, leading into a chain of highly entertaining compositions furthermore.

I really adore Maklik, close to Ozric Tentacles somehow, simple beat though an irresistably funky groove, spacey guitars and synths on top. For Clara sees american jazz vocalist Dean Bowman participating, tricky rhythm work, Hadzimanov totally meets my faible for sophisticated soul music. The sensational Branko Trijic is juggling with diverse guitar styles and tones over the course, definitely deserves that special attention with his short solo part called Waiting For .... Finally they are turning over to some ethnic Balkan music flair with Freedom From The Past. A very talented band. One or two may argue that not every song exactly meets the prog scheme, but overall 'Lines In The Sand' is a variable, fresh, non vintage jazz album. Would really like to experience them live eventually.

Report this review (#2133819)
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Review originally posted at

Another great release from the Moonjune family!

As a reviewer, but mostly as a music fan, I have to thank a label like Moonjune Records for introducing me to a vast amount of musicians and sounds that come from countries around the globe whose music was not in my daily basis. The offer of this eclectic label has brought me evident satisfactions, because I've been able to reach new cultures through the sounds of its artists. One of those artists is Serbian keyboard player Vasil Hadzimanov, a talented man that has no boundaries in his compositions.

Under the name of Vasil Hadzimanov Band, he and a bunch of great musicians have created "Lines in Sand", an album that fortunately offers a delicious mixture of sounds that go from jazz to funk, from rock to psych. Eclectic and challenging, to be more concise. "Lines in Sand" is also the opener title-track. It starts with a soft mid-eastern flavor, some percussion and Arabic chants in the first moments, later keyboards and strings join and together develop a jazzy sound which carries a breath of tranquility on it.

The first evident change comes with "Mr. Moonjune" whose sound is completely different from the previous song. This time the band give us a delicious blend of funk and jazz, firstly with that fast and explosive funky moment, secondly with a soft classical piano sound, and then, with a magnificent fusion of those genres and the silent addition of prog rock. A sax is added after two minutes, and then the band continue to experiment and give the listener a musical tour, which by the ways, works as a tribute to Leo Pavkovic, founder of Moonjune Records.

A nice soft jazz tune comes next with "San Snova" in which the piano is the main element. The sound can be tasty for those who love classical jazz. This spirit continues with "Lost" in which a female voice appears and adds beautiful textures. The music is delicious; the fretless bass is hypnotizing and works as a great partner of drums and piano. I like that the music is never plain, so the band can surprise us in any moment with some changes, like in the final moments of this track where Marta Hadzimanov's voice returns. When it fades out, we are suddenly listening to "Kazi", a short piece that might work as an interlude. It has an electronic orientation, a bit spacey and trippy that leads to "Kazi Gradiska", whose musical style takes me back to the 70s and reminds me of Weather Report or even Passport.

The eclecticism of this album continues with "Maklik", now the band gives us an amazing funky-jazzy-spacey song, a hook that we bite so we will not escape from its charm. This is one of my favorite tunes here, by the way. "For Clara" is another change (see how the songs share different styles from one to another, it is great, never plain), this time the music is complemented by the voice of singer Dean Bowman, who I imagine with suit and tie singing to a woman's ear in a surreal film. There is a dub feeling around this song, but the jazzy essence is what guides this tune. Wonderful sax in the last part, complementing the already wonderful percussion work and of course, the amazing Vasil's keys.

"Waiting for?" is another short interlude, this time led by guitar, and complemented with soft noises as background that creates a tense atmosphere. It leads to "Freedom From The Past", which has again a mid-eastern flavor on it, reminding me even of some Dead Can Dance passages. But it is only in the introduction, because at minute two the song changes drastically and now puts us into a jazz fusion mood with a Latin spirit. I mentioned above, but the name of Weather Report has appeared in my mind once again while listening to this excellent track. "Ratnici Podzemlja" is another great track that shares different genres. Here we can enjoy a wonderful bass playing some funk, while keys and strings keep the jazz spirit. It is great to see how colorful the Vasil Hadzimanov Band is! The album finishes with "Rege Hadzi", a very nice tune that adds a reggae-like sound to this already eclectic album. I thank Vasil and the band for daring to create music without limits, the result is a bunch of short stories that can live on their own, but together create one big interesting story.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#2134145)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Vasil Had?imanov is a Serbian pianist who has been leading his band for nearly twenty years, while also running a trio and working with many other musicians and also providing music for film. This is the band's second album on Moonjune, and their seventh to date, all structured around the dynamic piano of Vasil. This line-up has been around for more than five years now, and although there are some guests (which include some singer here and there), the music is rooted around the quintet which also includes Branko Trijić (guitar), Miroslav Tovirac (bass), Bojan Ivković (percussion, voice, scat vocal) and Pedja Milutinović (drums). One of the real delights of this album is one is never quite sure what to expect from one song to the next. Although it is mostly based around jazz, that in itself is a very broad musical area so it can be delicate one minute, or strident and attacking the next. Also, there are times when VHB bring in elements of folk music from their home country, which takes the music in a quite different direction yet all making perfect musical sense at the same time.

The press release captures it perfectly when it says "The album mixes ethnic influences with jazz, rock, R&B, funk, psychedelia and more, producing a delightfully zealous musical hybrid ? highlighted by brilliant, soulful improvisations, tight syncopations, a flowing, organic interplay and prevailing understated sensibilities." Some of the basslines sound as if they have brought straight from Parliament or Funkadelic, or if Flea has been involved, yet they sinuously always make sense when wrapping around the piano which is at the core of everything the band is doing. There is a lot of complexity in this, but it is never a hard album to musically follow or make sense out of, and yet again Leo Pavkovic is shining a light on area of the world where most people wouldn't imagine music like this could exist, and giving it the platform it deserves.

Jazz based, but with so much more going on as well, this is an album which deserves discovery from lovers of music, whatever the genre.

Report this review (#2217316)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2019 | Review Permalink

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Lines in Sand ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only No rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Lines in Sand

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.