Bojan Z - into the Vortex
From Belgrade-born pianist Bojan Z's polished scalp, to the hirsute drummer Seb Rochford, via Italian bass guitarist Ruth Goller's punky crop, this international keyboard trio covered the art of coiffure pretty thoroughly. It was just the beginning of an exhilarating demonstration of what freedom of expression can really be about.
Bojan Z (full name Zulfikarpasi?) won the prize for best European jazz artist in 2005, for joining classical influences with those of McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, Balkan folk, and full-on electric free-fusion. He has been working in Europe with Rochford, the innovative drummer with Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland, since last November, and, judging by this show, the honeymoon of this relationship is still red-hot.
Bojan Z plays various electronics, straight piano, and Fender Rhodes - sometimes all at once. Spacewalk bleeps opened the proceedings, before Rochford's clip-clopping offbeats and flickering polyrhythmic cymbal beat pushed a collective jam into full flow, with Goller's bass anchoring the time. When the initial surge stopped abruptly, Z began an odyssey of dark chords and staccato treble sounds, then erupted into squawky electronic figures. A delicate piano ballad followed, then Biggus D (a tribute to Monty Python's Life of Brian), which started with a simmering Spanish feel and travelled via choppy improv to surging postbop.
The electric-keys sound parted violently enough from the underlying harmony on Herbie Hancock's Actual Proof to tax even the most improv-hardy ears, and Rochford's Empty Shell drove the group to a fever of percussive bass-thumbing and tit-for-tat piano-drums exchanges.
Bojan Z – piano & Fender Rhodes x2
Seb Rochford – drums
Ruth Goller – electric bass
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