A broad take on jazz, a fascination with rhythmic sequences, and abstract vocals: Zabelov Group is the musical dialogue between Roman Zabelov, accordionist from Belarus, and Jan Šikl, Czech drummer and multi-instrumentalist. Their original acoustic puritanism gradually transformed into complex cinematic music accompanied by samples and acoustic instruments enhanced by electronics. Zabelov Group’s musical endeavour is permeated by the effort to maintain live contact with the instrument but provide the entire spectrum of club sounds while performing as a duo.
Zabelov Group is active on the Czech scene since 2012, their first work was a homemade recording “40.000 Km” (2012) followed by the live album “Secret Session” (2014). Their first studio album “Eg” (Minority Records, 2018) was a milestone which brought them on stages of clubs and festivals like Eurosonic Noorderslag Groningen, MENT Ljubljana, JazzFest Brno, Spring Break Poznan, Jazzinec Trutnov, Live Rock Toscana, Spectaculare Festival Prague etc. and received very good reviews from international media.
The duo’s latest work is “Madhouse Session EP”, released in 2020 by Minority Records. While the previous album “Eg” is a precisely puzzled highly-developed studio piece which came into being at multiple locations with contributions by various guest-artists and did not allow for all the tracks to be performed live due to its demanding nature, Madhouse Session is a live recording of concert preparations which were also partly previously performed live e.g. at the Dresden Jazzclub Tonne or as a support for Portico Quartet.
“Madhouse Session had a strong ambition to emancipate itself in the process of recording. Most of the old pieces were the work of soundengineer Matouš Godík, which was noticeable in the sounds and we were very happy with the collaboration. However, we needed to try the sound production ourselves. From samples to master recording it was up to us, everything was created in a home studio where we rehearse. We have to say that we are happy with the result. It turned out that limits are often opportunities for new and interesting solutions. We feel that we finished the process of a sort of musical emancipation“ says Jan Šikl.
Their unique interpretations fused ambient textures, freeform jazz, cinematic dance and even post rock into just under forty-five minutes, and for the most part was a revelation. Zabelov’s pained facial expressions throughout coupled with Sikl’s rhythmic accompaniments bore all the hallmarks of two craftsmen deep in concentration, fully focused on the task at hand. Gigwise.com
Unexpected, intrinsic music. Blending together sparse electronics with jazz flourishes, this duo manage to be both complex and effortless all at once. DIY magazine
It takes a little while to wrap your head around the quirks and offshoots embedded within Zabelov and Šikl’s music, but once it clicks you’ll have a hard time ignoring it. Allthingsloud.com
It is jazz, and it is not jazz. It is modernism, but full of tradition at the same time. It is a semi-improvised, complex musical structure thats swirls with a perfectionistic care about every sound and every detail. Beehy.pe
A bright flash on the alternative music scene. Reflex magazine
The potential of the sound possibilities and the interplay of the all-electronic modulated sound of accordion and percussion, functionally complemented by a host of other instrumental and vocal tracks and samples, is tightened to its full shape. This music defies the description. All the more colorful are the feelings it evokes. UNI cultural magazine
The Carioca-Japanese-Portuguese-Italian songwriter, Luiz Murá, was born in one of the paradise cities in the world Rio de Janeiro, Luiz always had been close to a musical atmosphere. Hearing samba on the bars and streets together with by his multicultural family. One Japanese grandfather born in Peru, another Portuguese grandfather from Madeira Portugal. One Grandmother from Brazilian-Japanese Family and the other Brazilian-Sicilian-Calabrese family. Mixing music and cultures have been going on since before he was born.
Luiz Murá left Brazil with the dream of finding music cultural connections between Brazil and other a countries around the world. It was on the Mediterranean Barcelona, that he met the Italian violinist Agostino Aragno, Desirée Miras from Spain, the contrabassist Ernesto Vargas from Mexico and the drummer Gloria Maurel from Barcelona. They all found the perfect environment to put at test their dreams: Moroccan gimbris, Italian singers, Flamenco dancers, Brazilian sambistas, Irish fiddles, Senegalese djembes, Russian bayans, Mexican mariachis and Romenian gypsies were unconsciously performing the same song, with a new sound and flavour. That became the core of MiraMundo’s path. Connecting Cultures that seem different through music.[/trim]
“Invisible World“ is based at the jazz crossroad where East European, Balkan and Mediterranean influences merge and set off in new directions. The band is led by Czech bassist Tomáš Liška, a prolific musician of many ideas and projects, joined by Turkish violinist Efe Turumtay, Serbian accordionist Nikola Zarić and Moravian drummer Kamil Slezák. Tomáš Liška met all of them in the course of his musical journey around the world, while tirelessly searching for fascinating interactions between instruments and cultures which would enthrall both him and his audiences. The foursome’s join approach is not based on individual exhibitions, but rather on a philosophy where music is a crystalline medium which irradiates a rich palette of emotional hues. These are inspired by strong melodies which are adorned by a subtle and seemingly effortless lacework of improvisation.
Invisible World have been awarded the Audience Award of the Ostrava Music Crossroads 2017 music conference. In 2018 reached nomination for the Czech “Grammy” award Ceny Anděl in category Jazz & Blues. In 2020 released their second album “Hope” which has won the Ceny Anděl award as The Best 2020 Czech Jazz Album. The band have performed at world music & jazz festivals and venues across Europe, Africa, United Kingdom and Japan including WOMEX Gran Canaria 2018.
“A sophisticated blend of New and Old World influences, including Turkish violin, Balkan accordion and a pinch of tango nuevo. The result leaves as much space for listeners as for the musicians. A great opportunity for music adventurers.”
(Petr Dorůžka, world music journalist & explorer)
“Eastern European flavours with a Parisian jazz air.” 4*/5
(Tom Newell, Songlines, December 2017)
Between New Orleans street brass band and mini-big fairground band, common jazz combo and bunch of mimes and circus clowns, the Sergent Pépère are something unique. With their shimmering rhythms and charming ingenuity the band mixes balkan, gypsy and oriental tunes with jazz, chanson, latin, folk and circus music. But what makes their show so irresistible event is their kind- hearted human humour, which is easy comprehensible for an audience of all kinds, nationalities and ages. Indoor or outdoor, across France and Europe, Sergent Pépère has been giving happiness and pleasure to children and grown up for more than 10 years now.
The Sergent Pépère was born in 1998 in French/Bretagne city of Rennes. The band started as a part of street theater Arpion Celeste and lately has morphed to the regular band. Members of the band are experienced both as actors and musicians of many musical styles. On their concerts these musicians are able as well to make their audience twitching with an incredible deal of energy as to smoothly embark them to the road of an intoxicating imaginary folklore. On stage or on streets the Sergent Pepere tumbles and sets the tone!
Francophilles, Terre-Neuvas, Coup de chauffe, Jazz a la Villette, Jazz en Touraine, Les Fondus du Macadam, Paleo Festival, Colours of Ostrava, Folk Holidays festival and many more… + touring United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Spain.
Wild Polka, bohemian jazz, oriental group… The Sergent Pépère’s mix is astonish! Ouest- France
There is the Sergent Pépère, and the show goes on with their delirious musical show with its mimes, acrobatic gags with 6 cranks outfitted kind of serbo-croatian middle age style! ( Lester Bowie’s brass band is not so far): a real success! Jazz Hot
With this psyche name, a crazy and coloured direction, and a singular instrumentation, Sergent Pépère is remarkable in the middle of the happy brass bands. Precise, falsely chaotic, their music blows and tinkles with class and impudence, with simple fancy. Not folk: but rare; I said! Radio Ceros
The 6 musicians, or I should say “the folklorico-mobil disarming commando” as they call themselves, proposed some jazz, gipsy songs, ouzbeks, latino with casualness. Good mood for sure! La Montagne
“Listening to Mina Agossi is like riding a motorbike through Paris, thrilling, beautiful and very bumpy. Don’t expect to come out alive.“ Jamie Cullum
“She’s a diva…“ Ahmad Jamal
“Princess of Afro-futurism“ L’Humanité
“La Björk du jazz“ le Journal Paris
“Jazz revolucionario“ El Correo de Zamora
“One of the most exceptionnal French jazz singers“ Paris Capitale
Mina Agossi was born in France to French and West African parents. Mina found herself drawn to the stage and also followed in her mother’s footsteps by finding a love of travel. This passion led her to study theatre in Niger, Morocco and France.
After graduating in 1990, Mina continued to travel, spending time in both the US and Spain, before returning to France in 1992. Once back home Mina found herself singing the blues as a favour for a friend who was a saxophonist. The experience changed her life; so much so she immediately knew she was to become a professional singer.
1993 saw Mina on the move again – this time only as far as Brittany, where she was recruited by a Swing & New Orleans jazz band. This was her first taste of success, as very quickly the band was regularly gigging both in France and across the channel in Ireland.
Mina found herself increasingly interested in, and attracted to, modern Jazz. The result of this was her debut album „Voice & Bass” co-created with a double bass player in 1995. Comprising original co-written tunes and using no wind, brass or keyboard instruments; this album marked the beginning of the development of a very personal style of the same name Voice & Bass – that would stay with her right up until the present day.
In 1997 the CD won the prize of “Young Self-Produced Talents” from the French organisation FNAC. This gave her the chance to develop her skills through two special master classes, one in Boston with Sheela Jordan, and the other in France with Jeanne Lee. These experiences helped Mina mature as a singer, and enabled her to take her voice in the unique direction that makes her so distinguishable now.
After moving to Paris, Mina teamed up with drummer Philippe Combelle, with whom she produced her second album, “Alkemi” in 2001. This CD won critical acclaim and received a Five Star review in classical magazine “Diapason”, as well as special recognition in Jazz Magazine.
After “Alkemi”, Mina created a new band with instrumental masters Alexandre Hiele on the double bass and Bertrand Perrin on drums. With this line up Mina found great success continually touring Europe and the US with new, original compositions and her own re-working of standards.
By this time people were really starting to take notice of this little lady with the huge voice, and offers started flooding in for Mina to sing with other bands. She regularly performs with the likes of Adam Pieronscyk “Amos”, Spirit of Life Ensemble, Mukta and Archie Shepp.
Just after the attacks of September 11 2001, “E-Zpass to Brooklyn” was recorded by Mina, live in Brooklyn. This album saw her heading deeper down the self-forged path of her by now unique sound. With imitations of free jazz sax solos and scratching in the microphone, Mina mixes many different musical styles, from hip hop to world to jazz, blues, rock, throwing them around, often when least expected. Then a second CD appeared “Carrousel“ with the same trio.
In 2004 Mina Agossi signed to British jazz label Candid Records, and immediately made a massive impact with performances during the Candid Jazz Week in London. Still backed by Alex Hiele and Bertrand Perrin, Mina’s latest album “Zaboom!!” was released in May 2005.
Earlier this year Mina won the award for ‘Best Newcomer’ at The Adami Awards (an industry awards ceremony held in France) which led her to be booked at the Vienne Jazz Festival 2005 supporting the legendary Oscar Peterson. Another accomplishment was her interpretation of Beauty and the Beast for the Lyon Opera House which she was commissioned to write in the spring. She is now preparing to launch her album Zaboum!! in the US in January 2006.
In March 2006 Mina will be releasing her second album on Candid in the UK. “Well You Needn’t”, with Alex Hièle and drummer Ichiro Onoe, it will feature more of Mina’s creative originals and startling re-interpretations of familiar classics. Her inimitable, fresh approach gives the vocal scene a much-needed push in a brand new direction.
2007 she records at the Jazz standard in NY her first live album “Who wants love”. Legendary Mr Ahmad Jamal decides to be her manager in the USA.
Another CD – „Simple Things?“ – is done in 2008, one of her best. You can hear the fantastic Manolo Badrena on percussion, as well as other musicians such as French young musician, Fred Dupont on the mini moog and the rapper Racos. She’s played at the Blue Note New York, and starts to think about her next album witch will be full of new surprises.
On the spring 2010 prestigious French label Naive have released Mina Agossi’s next album „Just Like A Lady“. Her Voice & Bass” style is enriched with another instruments like a guitar, keyboards and electronics with strong contribution of guitar player Phil Reptil. The album has harvested very positive reactions. Mina Agossi plays a lot of gigs in France, Spain and USA.
In 2012 under the Naive Mina’s latest album „Red Eyes“ with strong touch of blues is out and with a great guest appearance of Archie Shepp again.
„Fresh“ is the last album (2014 – Plus Loin Music). Mina, who never ceases to break down barriers, reinventing the music, takes pleasure in this album to blur the boundaries between jazz, pop, rock… She has a new perspective on her 20 year career, revisits some of her compositions and introduces new multiple influences. Such as ten previous albums, Mina wished to invite friends, famous artists Alexei Aigui of 4’33 group (Moscow) and the drummer Philippe Combelle.
A new, again self-produced, album “UrbAfrica” was released on spring 2017. On it you will find the excellent Beninese drummer, Jean Adagbenon, the legendary Paco Sery as a special guest, Eric Jacot on bass, Laurent Succab on the ka perc, and Mister Tee Bo on keyboards.
In october Scottish band/orchestra FAT-SUIT will play for the first time in the Czech Republic. The band has been assembled from Scotland’s finest young musicians with deep roots in Jazz, Funk and Soul. More than that, they effortlessly assimilate influences from Fusion, House, Brass-Rock and Scottish folk music to create a vibrant new musical musical vocabulary. Their second album “Jugaad” has gained attention and positive reviews from both music professionals and audience. On this tour the band is going to promote their fresh new album “Atlas” (release date 30 October).
12/10 – Žatec, Divadlo
13/10 – Olomouc, Jazz Tibet Club
15/10 – Vsetín, Jazzový festival
21/10 – Praha, Jazz Dock