Listening to a jazzy flute which artist comes in mind? Hubert Laws, Herbie Man, Lou Marini, Nestor Torres, Paul Rozmus, Dave McMurray? Since his album "Neon" Alexander Zonjic is playing in the first row. I must admit the flute is not the most popular instrument nowadays. But Alexander Zonjic knows to rise his own popularity by performing over 100 shows a year. Did you know that he has an own nightclub in Detroit and also host a five-day-a-week morning show on Detroit's Smooth Jazz V98,7
He has still the time to create a new album scheduled for worldwide release on November 23, 2004. Reading the players on this album is like studying the who-is-who of Smooth Jazz: Bob James, Kirk Whalum, Angela Bofill, Peter White, James Lloyd, founding member and genius of Peaces Of A Dream. Names are a program. "Seldom Blues" is foremost entertaining. Listening to this album is diverting. There is no sleeper.
"I wanted this record to be upbeat", comments Alexander Zonjic, "More upbeat than any of my other records. I wanted this to be more groove-oriented and include a lot of tunes that would really work great live... "
What can you await, when Jeff Lorber, Earl Klugh, James Lloyd, Kirk Whalum and Alexander Zonjic play a song together? Leave It With Me is very contemporary. All players harmonize in an unpresuming way just to produce this magnificent tune. Such an easygoing is only possible with pros.
Seldom Blues is the title song and also the name of Zonjic's night club. "The club is part of a big renaissance here in Detroit, and it's really created a wonderful vibe. I can't tell you how exciting it is to be at the roof of something that has lifted the spirits of a city so much." Understand this song as an appetizer for a visit to this jewel of restaurant, which has a gold flute as logo. Here you can meet Zonjic and his music, when he isn't touring. The grooving song is featuring the lead vocalist KEM. KEM has just started his solo career with his album Kemistry which has already reached gold status. This song as a single release has the potential to stay on the top for a long time.
AZ Does It has the signature of Jeff Lorber and Kirk Whalum. Both wrote and produced the song. A fresh instrumental reminding at the style of "Neon". Marvelous the duet between Zonjic's flute and Whalum's sax. There is much improvisation.
Isabela opens the stage for the peerless Peter White. A dynamic Spanish flavored song which awakes the wish that this song may never end. Zonjic's flute jubilates like a soaring bird.
The song People Make The World Go Round was originally composed by Thom Bell for the Stylistics. Together with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff he was one of the creators of the Philly sound. A style which has still a great influence on today's Smooth Jazz. The song was released on the self-named debut album of the Stylistics in 1971. A classic which was often covered.
I am so thankful that Alexander Zonjic re-discovered Spill The Wine originally played by Eric Burdon & War (1970). This song is so full of finesses. A great pleasure to listen to. Kevin Whalum. Kirk's brother, is the vocal interpret, a real reed-click. "When I ran the idea of "Spill The Wine" by Jeff, he just lit up," says Zonjic. "We did it with a little bit of humor, but we were still able to capture some of the magic of the original. Then when it came time to do the vocals, I immediately thought of Kevin Whalum. I've seen him perform live so many times. He's theatrical. He's a force on the stage. It's just to cool what Kevin did with the song."
Sweat is a funky stomping tune with a short repeating melody line.
Under The Moon And Over The Sky has its own story. The song was originally performed by Angela Bofill on her GRP-debut album "Angie" (1978). A tremendous success for the Lady with the Latin touch. "Angela and I have been working together for a number of years," states Zonjic. "It's so cool to be able to stay in this business long enough to be able to work with someone you've been such a big fan of. I told her I was going to do that tune on my next record, and I wanted her to have some role in it". So here she is again.
A further creation of Jeff Lorber is Quantum. Zonjic's choice between famous keyboardists of Smooth Jazz is excellent. Bob James, Jeff Lorber and James Lloyd on one album is unbeatable. But let's speak about the magician of flute himself. This tune is a wonderful platform to show so many variations to perform his flute. Overdubs, trills and more.
This goes on with the last tune Britters. Both tunes are showcasing Zonjic's flute as lead instrument in an uptempo way. His groove sounds fresh and swinging. Something to dance and move on.
Personally I am very excited about his new album. It's really a progress compared to "Reach For The Sky". This album is more vivid, original, intelligent. It's my new favorite.