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VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Serbia


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Vasil Hadzimanov Band biography
VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND is a collective formed in 1997 in Belgrade, Serbia. The mastermind behind it is Vasil Hadzimanov - a Berclee scholar and a piano & keyboard player who fuses various aspects of Balkan folk music(s) and jazz fusion, with heavy emphasis on percussion and keyboard tapestries.

The band's permanent line-up is comprised of variety of renowned Serbian musicans of younger generation: Vlada Samardzić on electric bass, Srđan Johnny' Dunkić on drums, Bojan Ivković on various percussions as well as vocals and scat.

Aside from a quartet core of the collective, there's a number of guest musicans with whom VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND is collaborating frequently, such are Brankica Vasić, Teodosii Spasov, Antonio Kitanovski and Orhan Maslo.

Often cited as a Balkan-focused variant of Zawinul's music - such a tag is not untrue, but it's doing injustice the band's variety of styles and it's unique chemistry, which is developing it's own identification on the world's jazz fusion map: beside already mentioned Balkan music varieties and jazz fusion, the band is dabbing with electronics, swing, experimental musical forms, funk, soul, African music, rock, folk, country and improvisational & free jazz.

Their music is highly recommended, especially their live performances.



Moris Mateljan, 2010.

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Lines In SandLines In Sand
Moonjune Records 2019
$11.99
$7.77 (used)
AliveAlive
Moonjune Records 2016
$4.99
$2.51 (used)
Zivota MiZivota Mi
PGP RTS
$38.64
11 Razloga ZA11 Razloga ZA
PGP-RTS
$38.64
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VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND discography


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VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
11 razloga za...
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Kafanki
2003
3.95 | 3 ratings
3
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
Zivota mi
2009
4.00 | 3 ratings
Lines in Sand
2018

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 3 ratings
Alive
2016

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lines in Sand by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Lines in Sand
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

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!

 Lines in Sand by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Lines in Sand
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator 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.

 Lines in Sand by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Lines in Sand
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator 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!

 Alive by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Live, 2016
3.54 | 3 ratings

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Alive
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An excellent jazz fusion live album!

It is incredible the high amount of talented musicians around the world whose music claims to be discovered, and fortunately, the enthusiasm of Leonardo Pavkovic or Moonjune Records is helping them to reach new frontiers and get some new fans from different parts of the world. Me, as Mexican, am delighted to have been introduced to Vasil Hadzimanov Band's music, a project from a country I am not really familiar in the musical and cultural way of things. This Serbian keyboard player has been making jazzy music for several years, but as you can imagine, this álbum is my introduction to his music, so despite it is a live and not an studio album, I am happy with what I listen here.

Alive, released in 2016, is an album that features 8 songs and a total time of 72 minutes when one can really enjoy a first class session of jazz fusion, rock and experimental music in which the saxophone plays a main role. It opens with "Noctural Joy", a long song that provides virtuoso passages that come mainly from the same Hadzimanov and from the sax player David Binney, creating at first slow and delicate passages, but later they turn into an explosive combo in which the listener (me, this time) want to move head and move at the music's rhythm. "Zulu" is a favorite of mine, a track that since its first seconds remind me of some old fusion monsters such as Weather Report or Return to Forever. After three minutes of vertigo they calm down and give us an interesting passage with some ethnic reminiscences in which we can listen to some kind of chants while sax interplays with some noises; later the music begins to flow once again, making a crescendo until it reaches a climax. The percussion are wonderful along with the bass notes in the whole track.

"Odlazim" is an enigmatic piece. At least the first times I listened to it I had quite different experiences, because the very first one I felt lost without a direction, but then I could notice its mysterious beauty with some hidden sounds that produce dark atmospheres and a sense of uncertainty, so one don't really know what will happen next. To be honest, I was always expecting a climax here, but it does not appear. Then, all of a sudden you are now listen to what I supposed could be its second part, entitled "Dolazim", a track that has more percussion but keeps that sense of uncertainty; then keyboards remind me of master Zawinul but in the end this 2-song combo leave my senses asking for more. This could be my least favorite moment of the album. You know, a matter of tastes.

"Tovirafro" is more intense and dynamic but still enigmatic. Some ethnic nuances can be perceived here mainly due to the wonderful voices that appear here and there. The bass notes are amazing here, one can better perceived them with good headphones, of course; and an inherent funky rhythm is unleashed, pretty cool. Later a truly fine jazzy piece with piano and sax appears in "Razbolje se ?im?ir List", a song that touches classical music but at the same time could be considered a kind of ballad.

"Uaiya" is a vibrant performance that once again makes my head and body shake and want to move. After that soft passage, here the band said it was enough of tranquility and let their souls go free once again, just as in the two first tracks. The piano work is absolutely brilliant but I would aldo like to point out that bass man Miroslav Tovirac has made quite a job here! The last song is the longest one. Entitled "Otkrise Snova", it is a 12-minute journey to jazz fusion fields with some cool electronic moments and delicious percussion. It is a great way to finish this pretty cool live album, which of course, I would like to recommend to all my readers.

Enjoy it!

 Alive by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Live, 2016
3.54 | 3 ratings

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Alive
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Serbian combo Vasil Hadzimanov Band has been an ongoing live and recording project for the better part of 15 years, presumably with composer and keyboardist Hadzimanov as the band leader. They have a solid reputation in their own country, and have also performed abroad with a fair degree of success. "Alive" is the sixth album by the band, and the first of their albums to be released through the US label Moonjune Records.

Those fond of tight live performances by a highly skilled band that explores a more distinctly jazz-dominated breed of jazz rock should find this live album by Vasil Hadzimanov band to be well worth investigating. A taste for funk-oriented details will most likely be needed, and a certain affection for a saxophonist that has at least some similarities to the more open and inviting side of a musician like Jan Garbarek will probably be helpful as well.

 Kafanki by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Kafanki
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars Kafanki is the 2nd album made by the Serbian collective, led by keyboard player Vasil Had?imanov. Shortly said, this is very good fusion jazz mixed with Balkan roots, played by talented musicians. The moods are varied, so are the tempi too but one thing stands up clearly: the influence of Joe Zawinul! Direct references in the titles but also more undirect ones like track 1 "17 Accordions" or track 5 "Paco", the latter referring of course to drummer and Zawinul's Syndicate member Paco Sery. The references to Zawinul don't stop with the titles; the music also shows clear twinkles of the eye sending back to Mr. Z (synth sounds, those quick 16th-notes-based melodic phrases and drumming) but without ever being felt as poor musical clones. Keyboard lovers will be delighted by the many instruments displayed here and fans of Balkan rhythms will have a treat! This is real fusion, in the sense of integration and smelting of musical cultures; three video clips are the cherry on the cake, listen, watch and enjoy!
 3 by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.95 | 3 ratings

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3
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After two very poor decades for Balkans progressive music, some return to their place on musical map could be evidenced in early 00'. Vasil Hadzimanov band is one of most professional and interesting collective speaking about modern fusion of this area.

Even if Balkan folk was source of influences for Southern European (and far not only - last decade I heard some interesting Nordic bands, heavily influenced by Balkan folk as well) prog for years, VH band uses this material with really rare taste. No Gypsy/village fair atmosphere is dominating on this album's music.

Very technically competent modern jazz fusion, with excellent keyboards and strong jazzy flavour, uses folklore for some tunes and themes, but all the music is played in a key of European jazz rock band. Not often I heard so tasteful touch on musical roots - it's far not the music for tourists,when local attractions are used in the form of souvenirs. This album's music is one of rare successful really synthetic look on folk roots and modern jazz realities.

Besides of Balkan folklore, important elements of music on this album are best modern jazz rock European traditions, from Weather Report to contemporary jazz. Even if electric keyboards are leading instrument , all musicians are equally strong, and electric guitar is of the great jazz rock standard, when drummer is very jazzy. Because of many world music elements (but deep under the skin), the music is very melodic and album is no way boring.

One fresh look on the modern European jazz fusion, really recommended!

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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