December 5, 2008

Bojan Zulfikarpasic

Bojan Zulfikarpasić (p,el-p): [Hen­ri Te­xier Quar­tet: An In­dian's Week]

Multiple prize awarded jazz pianist Bojan Z was born in a music loving family in Belgrade in 1968. He starts playing the piano at the age of 5. “In my country, music is a very widespread activity, and since working days finish quite early, family and friends would gather at my parent’s house as early as 3 o’clock in the afternoon to socialize and play music until late at night. I used to go to sleep listening to these Yugoslavian folksongs. Then I discovered Bach, Ravel and Debussy through my teachers, The Beatles – thanks to a friend – and Brazilian music with my father. I played these tunes by ear, trying to find the right chords, which already amounts to a jazz attitude”. As a teenager, while continuing his lessons in music school, he starts playing in bands and becomes known musician on the Yugoslav jazz and rock scene (resulting in 1989 in receiving the award for Best Young Jazz Musician of Yugoslavia).

In 1986 he receives a scholarship to study three months with Clare Fischer at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan in the USA. Then, after his military service in former Yugoslavia, where in the army orchestra he discovers the richness of traditional Balkan music, he moves to Paris in 1988, to become in a few years time an unavoidable name in French jazz. He applies for the CIM, a school of reference for many young artists, where he quickly settles in and starts working with other musicians. With guitarist Noël Akchoté he plays all the Parisian bars and clubs, both as a duo and in quintet formation. Next to that he starts playing with contemporaries like Julien Lourau, Magic Malik and others.

The rise to recognition begins in 1990. Replacing the pianist of bassist Marc Buronfosse’s quartet (with François Merville on drums and Julien Lourau on sax), Bojan wins the prize for best soloist at the ’Concours de la Défense’ and his appearance does not go unnoticed by some of France’s biggest names in jazz.

From 1991 he starts working with famous French double bass player Henri Texier in his successful Azur Quartet, later followed by clarinettist Michel Portal, both of them bringing him on to the big stages of France, Europe and further. With his special language – consisting of a mature jazz vocabulary with subtly dosed folkloric influences from the Balkans – Bojan leaves an indelible imprint on all the groups he plays with.

Apart from playing and recording as a sideman, Bojan leads his own formations.

In 1993 he starts his collaboration with Label Bleu with the debut album of the Bojan Z Quartet, which he recorded in New York, followed by Yopla!, his second quartet recording, released in 1995. In 1999, he releases his successful multi-ethnical project Koreni, inviting eight musicians from different horizons among whom Algerian percussionist Karim Ziad, Turkish ney master Kudsi Erguner, Macedonian rock guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski and some old friends from Belgrade, bassists Predrag Revisin and Vojin Draskoci.

After some years of thought and reflection on the endeavour of solo piano playing, Bojan records his internationally praised and revered cd Solobsession, released in 2001. This album, full of superb compositions and out-of-the-ordinary piano playing, confirms once again his status as a jazz pianist who resembles no other, with seemingly unlimited talents.

As well with the groups of musicians like Texier, Portal and Lourau, as with his own bands, trio and solo he’s been playing at big festivals like Montreal, North Sea Jazz, Paris Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Jazz in Marciac, La Roque d'Anthéron etc. and in famous concert halls like Palau de la Musica in Barcelona and Konzerthaus Wien.

In 2002 Bojan Zulfikarpasic is granted the title of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and receives the Prix Django Reinhardt for Musician of the Year from the French Académie du Jazz.

His fifth album for Label Bleu, his first in trio format "Transpacifik" marks the beginning of colaborations with american musicians, such as bassist Scott Colley and New York jazz drummer Nasheet Waits.
It was recorded in New York in 2003. Since he's playing with Ben Perowsky, or Ari Hoenig on drums and the great french bassist Remi Vignolo.

In 2005 he was awarded the "European Jazz Prize" ( Hans Koller Prize) as the best european jazz artist.

His 2006 CD "Xenophonia" has won the prize "Les victoires du jazz 2007" as the best album of the year.

His last project "Tetraband" with Brooklyn-based trombonist Josh Roseman, Londoner drummer Seb Rochford and bassist Ruth Goller will be released on Universal Jazz France in october 2009.
(From Zulfikarpasić's Website)

An Indian's Week is available as a CD from Disques Office, Amazon, and as a download from Emusic, Amazon, and Itunes.


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What a great video, this guy is amazing, indeed a great musician.

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In 2002 Bojan Zulfikarpašić was granted the title of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and received the Prix Django Reinhardt for Musician of the Year from the French Académie du Jazz, and in 2005 he was granted the European Jazz Prize as the Best European Jazz Musician.