Васил Хаџиманов

Tenacious, ever-present, a musician of infinite work energy and musicality, Vasil Hadzimanov, a pianist, composer, arranger, and an educator, is an unavoidable link of Serbian jazz, from the end of XX century and the beginning of the new millennium, a person that bares a binding gene strain of ancestors that have, each in their own way, left a mark on Balkan music and cultural heritage. Ever since the first lessons that, with lots of patience, selflessness and introducing him to the world of jazz, were given to him by Vojin Draskoci – a world renowned bass player and composer, Hadzimanov has followed his own world of colors and sounds. Upon being educated at Berklee College of Music, Hadzimanov decides to return to Serbia, where he forms ‘Vasil Hadzimanov Band’, that, since the early ‘90s, is playing clubs with. Since band’s first lineup, ‘Vasil Hadzimanov Band’ has gone through several sonic and personal transformations, remaining true to the principal of giving each band member full autonomy. Since their first album ’11 razloga za…’ (2001) via ‘Can you dig it?’ (2013), all the way to ‘Lines in sand’ (2018), Vasil Hadzimanov presents himself as a follower of modern streams, progressive sound and fusion of different types of music, that he is successfully merging into, what we now could call, World music. Aside his own band, Vasil is also performing with (to name a few) ‘Trio Sveti’ (with Marko Djordjevic and Branko Trijic), ‘Toni Kitanovski Trio’, ‘Bace Quartet’ (with Theodosii Spassov, Bachar Khalife and Ace Petrov), ‘Csaba Toth Bagi Balkan Union’, ‘Misko Plavi Trio’ and others. During their long-lasting career, ‘VHB’ has published seven albums, many of whom had respectable circulations and numerous positive reviews the World over, and in the time of global discography crisis regarding classical, jazz, or artistic music in general. Beside recording with his band for domestic record labels, Hadzimanov also records a trio album ‘El Raval’(2011) with Martin Gjakonovski on bass and Aleksandar Sekulovski on drums. Since 2011 he has been teaching at Stip Music Academy in Macedonia, as a part time professor and head of the jazz piano department. He works as a 1-on-1 educator, and also participates in numerous masterclasses, including ‘Tutti’, a project done in collaboration with Norwegian Ministry of Culture. In 2015 Vasil takes role of a moderator and a host of ‘M lab’ (RTV Vojvodina), a TV show of musical educational variety, where he welcomes numerous top musicians, such as: David Binney, Bojan Zulfikarpasic, Koja (Disciplin A Kitchme), Zoran Kostic Cane (Partibrejkers), Zafir Hadzimanov, Toni Kitanovski, and others. In the same year, he starts a collaboration with Bojan Zulfikarpasic. The two of them, as a piano duet, perform in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Paris and are hailed with great reviews from fans and music critics alike. In December of 2017, they have published their first album ‘Live at Kolarac’. In 2016 the World Music Association of Serbia and ‘Etnoumlje’ magazine have published a compilation album, celebrating 25 years of Vasil Hadzimanov’s work. Hadzimanov’s sound, (in which we certainly sense an influence of what he has, in his youth, heard in the music of the exceptional Joe Zawinul) we can predominantly hear a constant strive towards fusion and incorporation of new ideas, that were brought by, as he himself says, ‘the usage of Balkan motives in an immediate and sincere way’, outside of cliché grafting of traditional art expressions on to a jazz weft. Aside plenty of concerts and performances throughout former Yugoslavia, and devoted international activity, Hadzimanov is also writing music for numerous movies, documentaries and TV shows. Leaning on to vast legacy of traditional music that is, by his saying ‘music that we shouldn’t be ashamed of, but on contrary, be supportive of and give it more air time’, Vasil Hadzimanov is certainly a composer that, in one of the crucial periods in national musical history, in time of devastating vacuum in the production that supports true values, saw the message of his predecessors and, in a right way, molded it into an authentic musical expression. All published albums and music of Vasil Hadzimanov are proclaimed to be the artwork of national importance for Serbia. The album “Alive” has been honored as one of the top releases of 2016, by the acclaimed USA “DownBeat” Magazine.

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