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Vasil Hadzimanov Band

Featuring David Binney – Alive

Review by Gary Hill

We generally put fusion under progressive rock at Music Street Journal. That’s because really the border between jazzy prog and fusion comes down to how much rock is present. Well, there are things here that are probably thoroughly in the prog zone. Other things land more on the fusion end. It’s all quite strong, though. This is an entertaining set that should please fans of prog and fusion.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Nocturnal Joy

This comes in quite dramatic. There is almost a classical air to it in some ways. Yet, it has a bit of driving rock element in terms of the percussion. It’s packed with plenty of fusion, too. It drops back from some horn soloing mid-track. It comes back out into a powerhouse jam from there.

The high energy rocking on this thing is exceptional. This number has a lot of jazz in the mix, but plenty of rock, too. I love the guitar. I love the bass. I love just about everything about this. As much as I enjoyed the previous piece, this one blows that number away. There are definitely some things here that make me think of King Crimson a bit. Yet it’s got some pure fusion built into it, too. There is a drop back to some tribal chanting over some trippy keyboards. From there they take it out into some mellower jazz territory. It gradually builds up as it goes along, though.
Trippy, spacey, percussive based sounds open this. It grows out gradually from there in an arrangement that’s part jazz and part freeform psychedelic space music. This is more exploratory and RIO styled than it is melodic. As it approaches the four minute mark it begins to coalesce into a more cohesive piece. The jamming starts to rise up and push its way forward from there. It never really gels to the point that some of the rest do, though, remaining more freeform and often dissonant.
A percussive workout begins this, feeling like an extension of the previous piece. This works forward gradually from there and gets into some more rock based stuff as it gets more developed. This has some great moments as it works through its duration. There are some bits of spoken/shouted vocals more like soundbites. This has a lot of jam band influence. It also gets into space rock territory. It’s very effective.
I really dig the funk and energy of this cool piece. This is perhaps more pure fusion at first than some of the rest. It has more of a retro sound to it in a lot of ways, too. Some things here do make me think of Frank Zappa a bit, though. The vocals (in a different language) really feel like something would have featured in a Zappa song. When it gets into some harder rocking territory after the female vocals, Zappa is again a valid reference.
Razbolje Se Simsir List
In some ways this isn’t a huge change. At least that’s true in the early parts of the piece. Mid-track, though, it drops for a classical piano solo. That gets turned more toward jazz as a horn joins. Together they move the piece forward and eventually take it to its close.
Weaving some great melodies, piano starts this piece off and moves it forward. Bass is the first to join as the arrangement starts to build outward. This number is more pure melodic fusion than some of the rest are. It’s a cohesive and effective musical journey.
Otkrise Snova
Another that’s more cohesive and constant, this is more pure fusion, too. It’s another cool cut start to finish.

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