This live CD released on the MoonJune Records label this year, shows the Vasil Hadzimanov Band at their finest. Since the formation of the band 15 years ago and recorded in October of 2014 during the Serbian tour in Belgrade, it contains eight tracks that you can imagine yourself by closing your eyes and imagine yourself being at their concert and witnessing something special and breathtaking before your very eyes from start to finish.
Keyboardist/Pianist Vasil is a graduate at the Berklee College of Music at Boston. He also performed with artist such as David Gilmore (not the guitarist from Pink Floyd, but a different name), Antonio Sanchez, Matt Garrison, and Nigel Kennedy to name a few. And featuring guest musician Dave Binney on alto sax, the band considers; Miroslav Tovirac on Bass, Bohan Ivakovic on Percussion and Vocals, Branko Trijic on Guitar and Percussion, and Peda Milutinovic on Drums.
The opening 11-minute track, Nocturnal Joy is a riveting Jazz Fusion stunner that starts it off with a gigantic bang. There are bits and pieces that the band pay tribute to Weather Report’s Heavy Weather-era by channeling both Jaco Pastorius, Joe Zawinul, and Wayne Shorter to name a few. At the 5 minute and 10 second mark, Binney’s alto sax goes into arpeggiated sections in a Free Jazz improvisation with Shorter meets Coltrane vibe.
You can imagine the audience being jaw-dropped and also applauding, cheering and standing up for them as Binney is going in for a home run as he blares like a twisting tornado with the driven forces with the Vasil Hadzimanov Band following in to see where he would go to next for the last 2-minutes in a climatic end to roaring cheers. Zulu is this combination fast-driven rhythm between The Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Primus.
There is a lot of mind-blowing improvisations between Branko, Miroslav, and Peda as they pay tribute to The Inner Mounting Flame with the first two minutes that reminded me of The Noonward Race before Bojan creates this insane-like vocalizations that is almost going through a Leslie Speaker as audiences clap for more as tempo changes. Then, Dave Binney does an eerie yet intense sax improvisation with rapid momentum as the VH band give him free-rein on where Binney goes into.
Dolazim starts off with a Bitches Brew-era and Clock-ticking guitar effect that brings into mind of Steve Hackett. There is crescendos on the Rhodes before the African Rock vibration in the midsection as the results for a blending excitement between percussions, bass, and keyboards working like a team while Odlazim reminiscent's The Mars Volta’s Frances The Mute-era with swirling/spooky moog improvisations and a stomping finale to clap along to the heavy riffs.
It’s time to give the electric instruments a chance for a relaxation as Vasil and Dave do a duo together with Razbolje Se Simsir List. It’s classical jazz with the spirits of both George Gershwin and John Coltrane thrown in together with the bits of Rhapsody in Blue meets A Love Supreme featuring a lullaby at the very end and they create magic between each other.
But on Vaiya, Binney is giving the sax the ecstatic energy it needs with a power of voltage as the band gives him a chance to be in center stage. He improvises throughout the movements of various sections sad, emotional, and happy at the same time before Miroslav brings the Bass to a Jaco funk groove to a “T”. Once you add the percussion/drum sections to the mix, it adds in the Brazilian bossa-nova rhythms to close it down and doing one more number with Otkrice Snova.
Vasil creates this futuristic introduction with a Synthesized Organ between the ARP 2500 and EMS VCS3 that the essence of Pete Townshend’s Lifehouse project comes to mind before moving with the Fusion blast that audiences have a blast and closing off the album to roaring applause. I’m very new to the world of Vasil Hadzimnaov and Dave Binney, and I had a blast listening to the Alive album.
MoonJune Records always have scored a huge home run and of course the super bowl for me when it comes to releasing amazing Jazz and Prog music. And this here you can imagine yourself closing your eyes and imagine yourself being at one of their shows just being in awe and jaw-dropped of what is going to happen next of the Vasil Hazimanov Band’s music along with Dave Binney.