Innerview: Vladimir Kostadinović

Vladimir Kostadinović, awarded percussionist who lives between Belgrade, Vienna and New York will be performing next month at 19th Jazz Fest Sarajevo with his international ensemble introducing his new album, set for release for beginning of 2016.

Despite entering the world of music as a boy playing the accordion, Kostadinović quickly opted for playing the drums, the instrument that became and continues to be the instrument he loves ardently. Today, he’s an exceptional instrumentalist, audacious to go for an adventure involving different genres.

He holds a Master of Musical Arts from University of Graz, had his first performance in Sarajevo 12 years ago within Jazz Fest’s club program and now he’s coming back to perform on festival’s main stage where he will be presenting his new album The Left Side of Life, it brings his original compositions and bears witness to his skills as a composer and performer.

How does it feel to live and work between the different worlds of the Balkans, Europe and America, especially in the context of jazz music?
Bitter-sweet. If we’re talking about jazz music, its present everywhere, in the Balkans, in Western Europe and America, somewhere with less and somewhere with more intensity. However, experiences of musicians are different and individual, so it is not an easy task to define where it is better. What audiences, musicians and concert organizers have in common is that they all love music and enjoy it. But the east-west difference is very noticeable. It’s been the same scenario in the Balkans for years – there is a desire for playing, organizing, listening, but without the required finances from both, the country and private sponsors, the number of concerts, music workshops and the likes is unfortunately reduced to bare minimum.

You shared the stage with great names such as Gregory Porter, Duško Goykovich and Joachim Kühn. Who served as role model for you as a performer, but also author and band leader?
There’s honestly a lot of them from different spheres and genres, but I will single out the ones who had a great impact on me and inspired me to become a musician: my parents and my brother, Jimmy Hendrix, Alvin Lee, Pantera, J.S.Bach, Scarlatti, Bob Marley, Art Blakey, Benny Golson, Philly Joe, Branford Marsalis, Jeff Tain Watts, Gregory Hutchinson.

How did the album The Left Side of Life, which you’re going to introduce at the 19th Jazz Fest, come to be?
Honestly and spontaneously, just like the first one, having constantly in mind the wish to keep that key connection between traditional and modern jazz. Still, I have to admit, a lot of time needed to pass after the album “Course of Events” which was recorded in New York, for me to decide to record something new.

Of course, many other factors that didn’t have much to do with music and creativity had an impact on it. New compositions have always been there, I even wrote some new pieces and played a couple of tours around Europe right after my first album, but I realized in the meantime that it is absurd to release an album with compositions that were already heard many times and present it as something innovative. Then there is the fact that these days it is nearly impossible to sign a contract with a publisher willing to support you and have your back. There was a time when songs and albums were made in accordance with the sensibility of the artist and today we have market research to write songs in accordance with, meaning that our entire modern culture is based upon the appetite for buying i.e. on the idea of a mutually useful trade. I hope for better days, until then I will enjoy what I do and the fact that I exist.

With which ensemble are you coming to Sarajevo?
At Jazz Fest Sarajevo I will be presenting my quartet with whom I love playing very much. Beside myself, the members are Joris Roelofs (bass clarinet/alto saxophone), Milan Nikolić (double bass) and Marko Črnčec (piano), the music we will be playing is the repertoire I wrote for the new album, coming at beginning of next year called The Left Side of Life .

Marko, Milan and I met back in 2000 at the University for Music and Perfroming Arts in Graz, exactly 15 years ago. We have kilometers of gigs behind us that we worked on together and with Joris I met in Switzerland at the jazz fest in Frauenfeld, at the time I was recording my new album. We played a couple of jam sessions together, I really liked his originality and the way he improvised. You can also see him and listen to his music in October at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna alongside Brad Mehldau.

The last time you performed in Sarajevo was at Jazz Fest in 2003, right?
Yes, at club Jež in a Band with saxophonist Erik Rothenstein, saxophonist Adam Klem, guitarist Dino Šukalo and bass player Enes Seferović. I remember, we played for four nights in a row all the way to 5-6 AM, until the last guest had left the club. It was a really great experience and I must admit, a rare opportunity for me to play every day, continuously on the same stage. Good people and positive energy, what more can you say. I’m glad I’ll be coming back to Sarajevo after so many years. I’ll meet with people I haven’t seen in 100 years, people that I’m very close with.

What can we expect from your concert at this year’s Jazz Fest Sarajevo?

The quartet of Vladimir Kostadinović will be perfroming on 7th November at Bosanski kulturni centar at 20:00, while at 22:00 the ensemble of American vocalist Kurt Elling will be presenting his new album Passion World. One ticket, so-called double-bill ticket is valid for both concerts, you can  buy or reserve it here.

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