Serbian born, New York City-based jazz pianist and composer Vladan Mijatovic began playing piano at age seven as the latest incarnation of a generations-long dynasty steeped in the unique Balkan musical tradition. Being brought up at that part of the world where music is ornamental, melodious and vastly colorful, man is often bestowed with such a unique skills and atypical abilities, in music.
As part of his musical background, Vladan has continuously combined music from Eastern Europe with the modern jazz and classical music idioms, blending a fine fusion of the two. He has played around the world with his trio and as a solo pianist, and has built an international following with audiences who have come to expect a singular, intense experience at his performances. Through his original iteration of the Balkan musical tradition, his personal playing technique and treatment of progressive ornamentation and poly-rhythmic beats, and the unique synthesis of his dynamic and sensitive spirit, Vladan has built a distinctive musical style.
After completing music school in his hometown, Vladan continued his education at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich (Jazz Piano) studying with legendary Russian jazz pianist Leonid Chizhik and graduating with honors. In 2010 he received a prestigious scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2012 VLADAN earned a Master’s degree in music.
Since 2006 Vladan recorded and performed extensively both as part of a trio and as a soloist. Starting in 2009, his trio started performing FOLK-MEETS-JAZZ- themed concerts. Next, he made a solo piano recording entitled “Mamazone” (music for people with cancer) released in Germany. LOFT Music, a major German production company, organized a series of Folk meets Jazz concerts, for which Vladan composed several songs closely linked to his native musical tradition.
He recently started a new trio project with Grammy winning drummer Robby Ammen and the well-known Turkish-American composer and author of the “Virtuoso Series” books, Bugra Balci. The trio, Korrous, and their new album “Paranoid” will present a fusion between Latin, American Jazz and Eastern European music. Vladan will be featured on a new recording of legendary singer Lyn Christopher to be released by Paramount Records.
In October 2014, Vladan make his Carnegie Hall debut, with his Solo Piano album “Ornaments”.
Here are couple of quotes from the prominent american music critics:
"Ornaments, his solo piano debut is an expansive portrait of his unique style". (The New York Jazz Record)
"To listen to his debut solo piano album is to be engulfed by the whirlwind that is Vladan". (Budd Kopman, All About Jazz)
"His music mixes classical sensibility with Balkan folk music coupled with improvisation, making him end up sounding like a modern Balkan Chopin merged with Oscar Peterson". (Budd Kopman, All About Jazz)
"He is blessed with seemingly limitless technique with which to express what feels like a bottomless well of emotions". (Budd Kopman, All About Jazz)
"In the end, making music, any kind of music, is all about the performer connecting with his or her audience. This, Vladan does without question; his playing opens his heart to ours". (Budd Kopman, All About Jazz)
"Vladan accomplishes an impressively seamless mash-up of Eastern European, Western Classical, and American jazz styles". (C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz)
"Orchestral in scope, Vladan's pianism is muscular and virile, demonstrating a forceful kinetic energy that is highly listenable". (C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz)
"His touch has a hint of his Balkan background-Eastern European classicism is felt on the warmth of his notes and lyricism". (George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly)
"Vladan also recognizes the splendor and happiness that beautiful music can provide and to that end, he leaves a bit of his soul on the keys as he performs the music of this album". (Edward Blanco, All About Jazz)
Vladan has joined CLASSIC ROCK LEGACY, an organization of seasoned Broadway, studio and touring musicians and vocalists performing music of the greatest classic rock artists. CRL members have played with such renowned artists as Eric Clapton, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Toto, Chaka Khan, and many others. Vladan is a musical director of the CLR.
Vladan’s latest release “Folk Legacy” is a three-piece band simply called V3. As this is the time in the music where everything is a mishap and fusions are born everyday, V3 is admirably bending boundaries between traditional Eastern European, very specific and distinguish (Balkan) folk music and contemporary Jazz, taking the traditional “temper”, odd rhythms and lyrical melodies of such music and adventurously teleporting them into the "now”, the present time of, let’s call it “World Jazz.”
“Connect” is the second album Vladan released in 2017 for the Kabak & Lin Records with his quintet “Psychaudio”. Psychaudio is an electric jazz band with the long-term residency at one of the legendary jazz clubs in Manhattan, Nublu Jazz Club, among others. They also performed at the many jazz festivals including, Nublu Jazz Festival in 2016 and 2017 as well as New York Winter Jazz Festival.
Vladan Mijatovic has amply demonstrated his skills by touring, playing with spontaneity, enjoying one of the humans biggest miracles called music and by creating entertainment for a mass audience all around the world. To quote one of the greatest American Jazz Pianist ever Richie Beirach: “Vladan is a exceptionally extraordinary artist”.
Vladan’s goal is spreading the music all around the world and one day make it free. As he said: "Music should be free, it is a gift from God". Musicians will still be able to get the deserved rewards by giving live performances and playing concerts.
Besides being a musician and composer, Vladan is also a philanthropist. Known for his donation to the charity and performing at many charity events. To name a few, Rebuild Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Manhattan Saint Sava - Charity event, performing a concert for the 9/11 memorial, playing for the children and much more. In 2014 Vladan donated all of his earnings from the Carnegie Hall concert to the poor.
"His music mixes classical sensibility with Balkan folk music coupled with improvisation, making him end up sounding like a modern Balkan Chopin merged with Oscar Peterson.".
(Budd Kopman, All About Jazz)
"In the end, making music, any kind of music, is all about the performer connecting with his or her audience. This, Vladan does without question; his playing opens his heart to ours".
(Budd Kompan, All About Jazz)
"Vladan also recognizes the splendor and happiness that beautiful music can provide and to that end, he leaves a bit of his soul on the keys as he performs the music of this album".
(Edward Blanco, All About Jazz)
REVIEW: A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
By Jorg Konrad
Firstenfeldbruk – Jazz music always draws inspiration from folk music – except when it comes to the holy trinity of harmony, rhythm and melody of the “Blue Notes” and of course when it comes to improvisation, which is, without a doubt, the most individual part of the music. In the past this was called “Roots”- these were the roots of jazz from the Creole people and adopted by Africans in the “melting pot” of New Orleans. That is until there occurred the intellectualizing and a stronger base which produced different, very modern stylistic forms. Today, again, it is more clearly said of folk music that it is the source of jazz; especially in Europe, with its diverse cultures and musical traditions and of course the amazing possibilities for their fusion. And just like that Mr. Vladan Mijatovic has chosen this fusion as the starting point for his musical trio. Last Wednesday, this pianist from Serbia performed in the last concert of the series “First Jazz”, using the folklore of Eastern Europe as a starting point for their temperament improvisation – certainly no American standards from the “Great American Songbooks” nor abstractly formulated avant-garde music. And as a kind of surprise, Vladan Mijatovic, presented a guest, the Russian singer, Anastasia Volokitin. Special recognition is deserved for the independent style in which his jazz trio plays. Vladan Mijatovic is an incredible pianist, creatively musical and educated in the classical domain, having studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts.
Prof. Leonid Chizhik and awarded numerous times, even before the age of 30. He is an expert musician who reluctantly talks, but instantly shows his mastery on the piano. This approach could be a bit lacking in dramaturgy, especially the improvisation, but his hunger and virtuosity as a pianist, finds its sustenance in unbelievable and often variable tastes of Serbian, Bulgarian and Azerbaijani folk music. He plays melodically, percussively, and in a disharmonious style, yet at the same time the music has a personal color. Giorgi Makhoshvili, a bassist originally from Georgia, as a locomotive, pulls the music for you (or rather pushes it ahead) with some elements of swing music, but with lot of based themes providing something vital, strong, and vibrant. In contrast, the drummer Nevyan Lenkov from Bulgaria at his drumset plays a bit withdrawn, evening out the temperament of the other two and providing a very moody rhythm. Anastasia Volokitin is not only a trained vocalist, but she also composes – and particularly for this evening with the trio of Vladan Mijatovic has tried a few of her pieces. Her interpretations are far from conventional jazz singing performances. With her, it all sounds more robust, always exceeding into the realm of treble tones and suddenly moving into the deepest levels but then again, leaves a strong and fascinating glissando. In only one song Anastasia Volokitin creates amazing shadows of her voice and, so, a variety of emotions, which in the western conception of jazz is an absolute novelty.
REVIEW: WILD CHANGES
By Peter Baier
Subsequent criticism of the night, by Peter Bayer, 02.07.2011.
Wild changes: A “Plus” (Well done) referring to Vladan Mijatovic in "Jazz Forum"
First, “Soft paw”: gentle melodies like pearls coming out of a grand piano, flattering the ears, although fast, but not hectic, unusual in ductus and harmony, not Western European, has an oriental flavor. Then suddenly the rhythmic strong start, rushing across the keyboard - What does this man do with his fingers? Vladan Mijatovic’s name is - a pianist, a pupil of the great Leonid Chizik. Mr.Mijatovic, a young Serb, not only a great technician, he combines elements of Western-style Anglo-American jazz with the music of his homeland, it is a "melting pot" of Europe, the Balkans and the Orient. Nice guy, Vladan Mijatovic, played with his trio and a surprise guest in the great hall of Gautinger Bosco." Intro-George Gershwin ballad, after listening to the second part, you have the feeling, as if you were far away: "Ask Me Now" by Teoloniusa Monk has become a wonderful, lighthearted piece, marked by rapid and bold harmonic structures.
Vladan brought his surprise guest: Mr. Alexander Sofronijevic, an accordionist, in their common land known as in the adage - mentioned as being “the famous colorful dog and God-given virtuoso”. What he and Vladan Mijatovic unisono and polyphonic lines showed borders with the magic. Light, loose, then as hard as earth, emphatically - "Blues Music", two of them are rushing towards the top, congenial accompanied by bass and drums (inclined readers will forgive the writer of these lines as the names of the two men simply did not understand - come from Georgia and Bulgaria , and vibrant night again and again with results only).
Trio / Quartet is often is focused on odd cycles - three / quarters at eleven / eighths round and/or of five / fourths of the favorite "Take Five", almost seem as being usual. Fast, faster, Vladan plus colleagues: post-post-bebop-era thus began, grand-grand kids of Charlie Parker and D. Gillespie found their game and keep it live without the brakes. Rolling quartic chords, loud thunders: the wild changes from strong attacks to almost gentle caress of the instrument.