French-Serbian jazz connection

25. April 2013

Concert of Michel Portal, the legend of French jazz scene and Bojan Zulfikarpašić, Serbian award winning piano player, started in silence of the expectation and finished with the standing ovations.

By Ana Pervan

They came to the stage quietly and without any greetings started to play the repertoire. It was a mixture of Portal’s and Zulfikarpašić’s individual compositions and the songs they wrote in collaboration.

Combination of instruments such as piano, electric keyboards and saxophone on the opening song called the “Full Half Moon”, was a great introduction of this famous duo to the Estonian audience. Not only that Portal and Zulfikarpašić have showed the skills of musical multitasking, i.e. Zulfikarpašić has been using the electric keyboard and the piano at once, they have also demonstrated an interesting approach of creating new sounds while experimenting with the instruments. Even though Portal said that he does not have a unique playing style, he proved himself wrong. His improvisations with the saxophone’s sound were several times awarded with the applause and admiration.

Song after song, the duo performed “J’adore”, “Loving”, “Tadorna” and “Max, Mon Amour”, a famous composition that has been featured in the same titled move, released in the late 1980’s.  Compositions inspired by daydreaming of the sunny Cuban shore, entitled “Cuba si, Cuba no”, has injected some extra positive energy into the concert hall of the Marina Pavilion. Since both musicians have different cultural and musical background, their diverse influences could be easily heard.

In the last two songs entitled “Little Tango” and “CD Roms”, the Argentinean melodies and some traditional Roma style rhythms have been featured. The story behind the last song, performed encore was quite interesting. Zulfikarpašić wrote it in dedication to all Roma people who sell pirate CD’s in the Belgrade flea market. Great sense of humour, nice melodies and splendid performance.

Although Portal and Zulfikarpašić have spent more time in interaction with each other, the positive reactions from the auditorium were not lacking. In fact, this French-Serbian duo was cheered after the last song and called back on the stage. After this energetic concert, it could be said that Michel Portal and Bojan Zulfikarpašić, gave a great jazz lesion to Estonian audience, from young and old alike. It was very nice to see a young father who brought his daughter for some high quality, live jazz performance by two well-known European jazz musicians, Michel Portal and Bojan Z.

Michel Portal and Bojan Z  performed at Marina Pavilion on 23rd of April 2013.