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80 reviews/ratings
SANTANA - Santana Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
SANTANA - Caravanserai Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
SANTANA - Abraxas Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
LEB I SOL - Live in Macedonia Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
LEB I SOL - Leb i Sol 2 Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
LEB I SOL - Rucni Rad Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
EMBRYO - We Keep On Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
TRAFFIC - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
TRAFFIC - Mr. Fantasy Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
GONG - Gazeuse! (aka Expresso) Classic Fusion | review permalink
GONG - You: Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 3 Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Countdown to Ecstasy Jazz Related RnB | review permalink
CARLOS SANTANA - Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin) Classic Fusion | review permalink
SANTANA - Santana III Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
TRAFFIC - Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
TRAFFIC - On the Road Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
TRAFFIC - John Barleycorn Must Die Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
GONG - Expresso II Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
GONG - Angels Egg: Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 2 Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
SONČNA POT - Soncna Pot Classic Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Jazz Related Rock 41 3.68
2 Classic Fusion 13 3.69
3 Latin Rock/Soul 8 3.81
4 Jazz Related RnB 5 3.20
5 Pop Jazz/Crossover 4 2.88
6 Post-Fusion Contemporary 4 3.25
7 Funk Jazz 2 3.25
8 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1 1.50
9 Third Stream 1 2.00
10 World Fusion 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

MIKI PETKOVSKI Barless

Album · 2008 · Third Stream
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The subtitle of this album is "Jazz Piano Improvisation" and that is exact description of the music. Petkovski plays solo piano on the entire disk in jazz manner, with occasional Balkan (Macedonia) traditional themes included. If you are not a fan of this type of jazz improvisation you could simply enjoy it as a background music - for reading a book, for instance. But, there are tons of similar products out on the market, so why bother? If you are a fan, or even better, if you are a musician/pianist, you may appreciate it more than I do. For me, it is too "academic" style to grasp its quality.

MIKI PETKOVSKI Origins

Album · 2006 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
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It took Miki Petkovski almost 27 years to record a follow-up solo album after his overlooked debut "Ko zna" (1979). In the meantime, he moved from former Yugoslavia to Canada and continued to develop his musical career as composer, producer and owner of his private studio.

Suddenly, "Origins" appeared in 2006 and it was interesting to hear how Petkovski adapted to the current digital technology and new musical trends.

Obviously, there is no backing band since he played all instruments by himself. This means he entered the "Vangelis territory" of leisure, soundtrack-like music that is fairly pleasant to listen to occasionally for soothing and relaxation purposes but leaves the more eager and demanding listener unsatisfied. This is particularly true if you know his jazz-rock past, but again, why not change and offer something new? The problem with this CD is that it is too "safe" and unchallengeable at least for my taste. He used famous Macedonian traditional tunes and odd time signatures which surely can be amazing for Western audience but not so for a South-Eastern European listener.

That said, there are a couple of excellent tunes here - notably "Nowadays", "Dance in 9/8", "Past" and a cover of traditional "Koljo Don't Sell" (in original: "Ne si go prodavaj Koljo chiflikot", which should be heard in Vlatko Stefanovski's amazing guitar version, if you ask me).

Alas, the remainder, including another popular traditional cover "The Laundress of Ohrid" (original: "Biljana platno beleshe"), is often bordering the "Muzak" territory.

"Origins" is thus recommended for fans of smooth jazz and general easy-listening instrumental music.

MIKI PETKOVSKI Ko Zna

Album · 1979 · Classic Fusion
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Miki Petkovski was a member of the early 1970's progressive rock bands REPUBLIKA 903 and BREG from Skopje, Macedonia (ex-Yugoslavia), who sadly never released any record although listening to their Youtube clips nowadays (in case of REPUBLIKA 903) one can't help but recognize a pioneering jazz-rock/folk-fusion effort which was later on to be perfected by LEB I SOL (whose members also participated in these bands).

Being an excellent pianist (and graduate cellist from Skopje Music Academy) Petkovski was recruited by SMAK in 1977 to replace their outgoing keyboardist Laza Ristovski (joined mega-stars BIJELO DUGME) for their most acclaimed and the best-selling album "Crna dama". His extraordinary keyboard skills (particularly on acoustic and electric piano and Moog synthesizer) were dominant on that record, but strangely it was his sole moment of rock stardom. He did not continue with SMAK because he wanted more artistic freedom for his own compositions and arrangements thus confronting with the band leader Radomir Mihajlović Tocak. Nevertheless his time spent with SMAK left one of the most beautiful jazz-rock compositions in ex-YU catalog - "Tegoba" ("Suffer").

Shortly before leaving to serve the army Petkovski gathered both SMAK and LEB I SOL to back him up for the recording of his debut solo LP "Ko zna" ("Who Knows") in summer 1978. This album was largely neglected at the time of its release and faced mixed reviews due to alleged inconsistency and commercialization but to be fair, it was much better than that.

The "concept" of the album intermingled two types of tracks: vocal and shorter songs with commercial potentials and pop-rock-funk groove and those slightly longer (but not too long!) instrumentals inclined towards jazz-rock.

There were also two different backing bands of musicians: Vlatko Stefanovski-guitar, Garo Tavitijan-drums and Bodan Arsovski-bass of LEB I SOL with female singer Gordana Ivandic on one side and on the other a complete SMAK line-up including Tocak-guitar, Slobodan Stojanovic Kepa-drums, Zoran Milanovic-bass, Boris Arandjelovic-vocals and David Moss-percussions.

Two side-openers, "Igra" ("The Game") and "Ko je taj" ("Who Is That Guy") were obviously made to be aired as hits but both proved unsuccessful musically and commercially. Fortunately, the remaining tracks presented high instrumental skills of both groups and announced some interesting composing abilities of Petkovski who combined his academic training of classical music with contemporary jazz-rock fashion.

Highlights of "Ko zna" are instrumental tracks "Iluminacija" ("Illumination") and "Katarza" ("Catharsis") played with LEB I SOL as well as "Sinteza" ("Synthesis") and "Budjenje" ("Awakening") with SMAK.

"Iluminacija" is a lengthy symphonic jazz-fusion spiced with Gordana's scat vocals in the manner of Gayle Moran of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA or Annie Haslam of RENNAISANCE, while some piano parts invoke SUPERTRAMP's "Fool's Overture". "Katarza" closes the album in a full-blown LEB I SOL manner including an amazing guitar of Stefanovski. "Sinteza" and "Budjenje" showcase SMAK as excellent jazz-funk-rock ensemble along the lines of BRAND X or Herbie Hancock's HEADHUNTERS acting as a vehicle for Petkovski's solo exhibition on synthesizers.

The remaining two vocal tracks, "Ko zna" with Gordana and "Ko je u pravu" ("Who's Right") with Boris are nice and soothing, somewhat easy-listening soft-jazz which the fans of STEELY DAN should like to hear.

In retrospect, "Ko zna" seems to be much better work than it appeared to the contemporary audience and critics. True, full capabilities of Belgrade Radio Television Studio V and its 24-track mixer were apparently not used and some songs were obviously made only to sell out, but nobody claims this is a masterpiece.

A very good album it is! It sadly remains unissued on CD format until now, while old vinyl records could be found at Web shops for sometimes unreasonably high price.

PREDMESTJE Kamasutra

Album · 1981 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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After the excellent previous album "Hazard", PREDMESTJE decided to do what is usually perceived fatal to all progressive or fusion bands - to sound "modern" and trendy!

And New Wave and Ska Revival were trendy in this period of early 1980s in Yugoslavia. Add to this a cheesy, tasteless cover design with female legs and overall "concept" of sex and eroticism as a main idea of the album, and you get a terribly unconvincing, at times even awful, record.

Still, when they play instrumental jams they do it nicely and with musicianship that can be a raw model ("Jugorama", "Eureka", "Kamasutra") for sort of commercial, highly accessible "soft fusion". Even THE POLICE-invoking opener "U Parizu" is a decent and catchy song done in Ska rhythm. But, the rest of the album is pretty bad and those vocal parts are really moronic.

PREDMESTJE disbanded after "Kamasutra" and hearing it nowadays makes it obvious as to what went wrong. Only for collectors.

PREDMESTJE Hazard

Album · 1980 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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This is the third and in my opinion the best album of PREDMESTJE, a Slovenian fusion combo from former Yugoslavia. For this occasion the group line-up radically changed leaving keyboardist Andrej Pompe as the sole founding member. He was accompanied by the four of earlier disbanded jazz-rock group IZVIR, which for their own part released their only, excellent self-titled debut in 1977.

Sound of "Hazard" is fresh and well-produced, introducing elements of funk and jazz-funk, in the vein of Herbie Hancock. Solo parts are tasteful and just in right places. This is especially evident for lead guitar, electric piano and synths. Addition of timbales invokes a SANTANA's Latino feel. Vocals are reduced to only one singing track ("Mislec sveta"), while scat vocals are used more frequently, which better suits this style of music. They are used efficiently as an additional instrument. All the tracks are excellent, offering an extremely pleasant listening experience, while "Aleja" contains a nice and melodic main guitar theme that keeps listener wishing to replay it again and again.

At times, particularly in the vocal moments, PREDMESTJE again sounds like jazzier incarnation of CAMEL from the "Moonmadness" period. Along with early LEB I SOL albums, "Hazard" is one of the best jazz-rock albums of the era and is therefore recommended to all jazz/rock lovers.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Album Sub-genre Changes?
    Thanks for your answer.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in anyone remembers Brass Rock???
    In Yugoslavia at that period, late 60s, there existed two bands influenced by BST and Chicago.MLADI LEVI (The Young Lions) from Ljubljana and MI (We) from Sibenik/Zagreb. They were both popular and very good live acts but unfortunately none of them ever recorded an album, just few singles and EPs. Both bands however released some CD compilations after the 90s.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Album Sub-genre Changes?
    OK, thanks a lot. 

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