Michael Vlatkovich-trombone,compositions, David Mott-baritone saxophone, Jonathan Golove-electric cello, Chris Garcia-drums
MICHAEL VLATKOVICH QUARTET REVIEWS
Michael Vlatkovich isn’t your average trombonist. He squeaks, soars, and sears and tears sonic pieces of paper much like a saxophonist. Quite simply, and with all due respect to players like Jed Bishop, Joe Fiedler, Masahiko Kono, Steve Swell, and even my all time favorite Roswell Rudd, Vlatkovich is the finest trombonist improvising today. While this music isn’t exactly “out there,” it is far from the “mainstream.” There isn’t a “blow out” or antagonistic section on this disc and yet all of the cuts have a smidgen of unpredictability that makes them challenging. In the end, it doesn’t matter as this music shines in or outside of any context.
“A commanding improvisational trombonist, Vlatkovich is also a devisor of challenging structures for his bandmates. Vlatkovich loves using word and numerical games to determine compositional structures. There are seldom “themes” as such but, rather, motifs collectively essayed. Around these guideposts, Vlatkovich leaves lot of room in which soloists can navigate. The raucous assembled horn passages have ancestral ties to early New Orleans jazz and Vlatkovich often writes short, concentrated ensemble bursts that hit like sound grenades.”
Michael Vlatkovich is coming to town to blow your mind. Michael Pierre Vlatkovich may not be a household name…. yet he still manages to be one of the most extraordinary improvising trombonists in this country as well as overseas. Also a gifted composer and arranger, Vlatkovich is one of the leading talents among Los Angeles improvisational players. Working from the Left Coast since 1973, he is well known for tireless touring, bringing his music all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. A daring and emotionally charged performer, Vlatkovich takes delight in blending a broad variety of jazz and world music styles into his own brand of engaging and unpredictable music. His approach manages to express a raw power and beauty within a minimally structured format that allows extensive group improvisations to lead the way.
“Vlatkovich is an arresting writer who works with many different forms – numerical compositions, tangos, waltzes, big band swingers, and more. He also assembles musicians accomplished enough to interpret his pieces with verve and imagination.”
L.A. NEW TIMES
“Trombonist Michael Vlatkovich served up a more animated mix of gutbucket grooves and extended form at his Knitting Factory set…His multi-theme pieces flow in ways that feel right to the ear, so they don’t feel like patchwork or even suite-like. They also leave lots of room for broad brush blowing.”