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It’s always nice to be introduced to a new label by the sending of a physical CD rather than just a download (It rarely happens these days and I do understand way as it is an overly expensive business) so my thanks go to Catherine Simon for sending me this excellent album, and an especially meritorious achievement since this is drummer Ivanović’s first album as band leader, having already played on three albums by The Nikolov – Ivanović Undectet.

“Modular” should have a broad appeal as it is very accessible and very well-written and played jazz, with Srdjan the composer of seven of the nine tracks, the exceptions being HUBERT GIRAUD’s ‘Sous le ciel de Paris’ and GEORGE HARRISON’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the latter being a thoughtful ‘deconstruction’ of the “White Album” track that not strictly speaking a cover version, more of a reinvention and very skilfully done. As for the former, Giraud’s origins stretch back to DJANGO RIENHARDT’s Quintette du Hot Club de France, and he also scored some post-war films including ‘Soud le ciel de Paris’ in 1951 (sung by the likes of BING CROSBY as ‘Under Paris Skies’), which would be subsequently covered by JULIETTE GRECO, EDITH PIAF AND YVES MONTAND. Incidentally, Giraud’s ‘Dors, mon amour’ also won the Eurovision Song Context in 1958! This interpretation also maintains the integrity of the piece and takes it in a new direction.

‘Sweet Home Lagkada’ features a superb combination of flute, guitar and quietly empathic drums; a lot is packed into this strong 5-minute composition. ‘U Stambolu’ is more of a trumpet showcase to begin with, but there is a nice change of pace and a variety of instrumentation emerges. I enjoyed the quirkiness of ‘Kapetan Mihalis’ with its offbeat vibe, fluent trumpet and memorable guitar break. Penultimate track, the jaunty ‘Le Jongleur’ has a slight experimental edge. In other words, there is something for everyone here on a highly recommended album that should have a wide appeal.

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