Another standout indie

November 29, 2007

In my experience of learning about jazz and meeting the players who move it forward, I’ve consistently been inspired by the drive that new music in the scene reflects. Many of the musicians I’ve spoken with have handed me a CD at the end of our interview, and thanks to distribution channels like Myspace and Itunes, exploring the sounds of young jazz composers doesn’t require much effort. In the case of Myspace, you don’t even have to press play.

One of the most outstanding in his creativity is Marko Djordjevic, aYugoslavian drummer, teacher at The Collective School of Music and frontman of fusion band Sveti. The group’s newest album, titled Where I come From, was released this past summer on Firma Video Entertainment, the same company that put out Djordjevic’s instructional drumming DVD. The effort was a result of clever marketing from his part; because Firma Video already stood behind Djordjevic for his solo and educational talents, adding his band to the mix didn’t require much persuading.

Where I Come From sets the bar high and is surely going to be one of the most talked about albums in the coming years,” All About Jazz reported and called Djordjevic “a composer in a true sense of the word.”

Whether a jazz aficionado or not, it’s hard to imagine that a listener wouldn’t appreciate the band’s fearless and vivacious mix of genres. Across the 12 tracks of the album, the musicians jump from pop to smooth jazz to folk, drawing out appealing melodies but also engaging in improvised segments that feel instinctive and effortless. Djordjevic’s instrument is clearly an extension of himself, but its role on the record is never gratuitous. One could see why he’d want to let his band members shine: Tenor saxophonist Eli DeGibri was a member of Herbie Hancock’s group, trombonist Elliot Mason has played with Count Basie and Natalie Cole and bassist Matt Pavolka has jammed with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner. Check out the band’s bio for more details.

“The best a musician can do is just to get as good as they can at what they are doing, and be honest about who they are and their music, and put a lot of good will into it,” Djordjevic told me over coffee a couple of months ago. “I’m still rewarded by seeing constantly an upward line. Every year is better than the last. I do more things, I play with more great people, I get more recognition for what I do. If that’s how it is, then what’s there to be unhappy about?”

Links:

Marko Djordjevic’s web site: http://www.svetimarko.com

The Collective School of Music: http://thecoll.com

All About Jazz’s review of Sveti’s album: http://shop.allaboutjazz.com/shop/release.jsp?r=46612&tn=2

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