I’m not in the habit of making a recap at the end of every year of what I’ve experienced, done, and achieved in 360+ days, but 2022 certainly deserved it. If we add to that the title of the first official BLOG text on my new website www.vladimirsamardzic.com, which will soon see the light of day, then that is even more reason for its creation.
Right after the New Year and Christmas holidays, I threw myself into recording the last two compositions for my solo album CATCHING THE WIND (SKC NS, 2022), which was already largely in the final stage of Vladimir Moritz’s audio mix. I recorded the tracks AFRICAN IN VIENNA and REMEMBERING SIENA in a duet with the great percussionist Andreja Krstić in Darko Varga’s studio in Futog (Serbia). For me, it had special importance because, for the first time, I found myself in a situation where I was recording original compositions for solo bass and percussion, audio and video in my own video production. In addition to just playing the bass guitar requiring extra concentration as the only melodic-harmonic instrument, the fact that I also was recording video added pressure. However, everything went great with a good atmosphere and homemade Darko’s rakija.
The previous year is also significant in that my bass guitar arsenal was enriched by two wonderful instruments. The first of them arrived right at the beginning of January straight from Seville, Spain. The Pedulla Pentabuzz is a five-string fretless bass guitar that I had the opportunity to try out as a student at Berklee College in Boston in 1997. Then I said to myself, one day I will have this instrument and here, after 25 years, that wish has finally come true. The flawless preservation of the guitar, the “Signature” level of quality, the incredible sound and feel, as well as the discontinuation of the PEDULLA company in 2019 are facts that made me, the new owner of this red fretless beauty, even happier.
THE FRAJLE is a unique female vocal instrumental from Novi Sad. I have had the good fortune to know my fellow citizens since long ago when a joint project was not yet in sight, but the talent was already present then. Our collaboration began on the studio albums “A and B Strana Ljubavi” and their first big concert in Lisinski in Zagreb (Croatia) in 2015. In 2022, we performed all over Serbia and Macedonia. I would like to single out two January concerts in the MTS Hall in Belgrade and a performance in the Heraklion Amphitheater in Bitola (North Macedonia). Sharing the stage with Nevena, Jelena and Natasha, as well as with my bandmates, Bane, Djole and Filip, is always an experience with lots of laughter, energy and wonderful musicianship.
Another fantastic instrument arrived straight from Venice, Italy in March. It is signed by Canadian bass guitar luthier George Furlanetto. The F BASS model BN5 arrived in excellent condition and instantly swept me off my feet. A unique sound production level with a lot of character, the tone of this guitar was soon noticed during my rehearsals with the RTS Big Band, as well as during the performance and recording at the Belgrade Spring 2022 festival in the MTS hall, which was broadcast live by RTS (Radio-Television of Serbia).
In addition to more than fun rehearsals with our most important jazz orchestra in the country and an excellent performance, I will also remember this festival because I had to cope with reading a musical medley of 12-sheet music without repetitions! After the concert, I said to myself: “Next time, a 12-inch tablet and a blue tooth foot pedal to turn pages!” There was a lot of stress about changing bass parts by hand and after that getting back into arrangement. Yes, at one point all my notes fell on the floor, but I just managed to quickly put them back and continue playing.
In April, I held two public classes. Postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two-day seminar for Drummers and Bassists (BiB SEMINAR), which was designed in 2019 by my colleague, drummer, Berklee graduate Branko Popović and myself, was held on April 12-13 in Novi Sad at the Barka cultural station, EPK NS. I always look forward to these kinds of workshops because during two days of intensive work with the participants, at the end we really see the results and the improvement of each bass player and drummer. Immediately after that, on 14.04. I had a BASS MASTERCLASS in Kragujevac organized by Dom Omladine. I played along to the PLAY-A-LONG tracks from my album that don’t have a bass guitar on them and explained the concepts I used when writing the compositions. It was great.
If I need to single out one event from the year 2022, then it is definitely the publication of my second author’s release after 12 years since the release of the album Pannonia Project – The Bridge (M production, 2010). It is my first solo bass album, behind which I stand 100% as a musical artist and co-producer, and which was released in May by the Student Cultural Center from Novi Sad – Catching the Wind (SKC NS, 2022). Here I have to single out the most deserving person for the realization of this edition. This is my great friend and amazing drummer Dado Marinković. Not only did he masterfully play drums on 8 tracks, but he generously gave me his recording studio and was also the audio engineer. Dado The King! The second most important person is Vladimir Moritz, with whom I enjoyed doing post-production, who is responsible for the mix and mastering, for the excellent sound of the album, which everyone recognizes. I believe that this is just the beginning of our long-term cooperation.
The title track in the form of the first single/studio video directly contributed to my YouTube channel going from a few hundred followers to 1100 in a very short time!
The collaboration with Amira Medunjanin and the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra within the project of promoting the album “For Him and Her”, which was started under the guise of December 2020, has a specific weight for me. It is a real pleasure to play surrounded by string instruments in such a quality orchestra. And a special experience is the performance of one or two tracks during the concert in a duet with Amira, when it’s just the two of us, just vocals and bass. December concerts in the packed big hall of the Serbian National Theater have already become a tradition.
The month of August was very interesting. I visited Guča (Serbia) for the first time in my life during the famous trumpet festival, but as a guest member of the RTS Big Band alongside my colleague Milan Pavković. The orchestra performed with a complete double rhythm section! An interesting and fun experience. I will remember August 24th because that day I performed live for the first time with my new project Vladimir Samardžić Trio, accompanied by two great Brazilians musicians, as part of the KRANJ JAZZ FEST (Slovenia). Guitarist Marco Antonio da Costa also participated in the recording of the first part of the album, while for drummer Matheus Jardim this was the first performance in this combination. The hospitality of the Grašić brothers (Grugur and Primož), organizers of the festival, was at a high level, and Kranj was adorable.
The official concert promotion of the Catching the Wind album took place on September 1, 2022, on the open stage behind the FACTORY in the new Cultural District of Novi Sad as part of the KALEIDOSCOPE CULTURE event, organized by the EPK NS and SKC NS. Long after the concert, as well as in the following days, I received positive evaluations from many visitors to the promotion. That evening, drummer Vladimir Kostadinović and I officially performed together for the first time, even though we have known and respected each other for so many years. His agreement to be part of my trio made me very happy.
In the same month, BASISTA magazine No. 7 was published with me on the cover page with a big interview and a special bass lesson. This is a great honor and it means a lot to me, especially considering who has been on the same page in previous issues. I’m glad that after the album was finished, many colleagues considered it absolutely justified that this issue is dedicated to yours trully, first of all, the editor of the edition, Milan Srdanović. I perceive it as a recognition of the quality of the published album.
By the end of the year, my band, the Vladimir Samardžić Trio, performed at jazz festivals in Vršac, Novi Sad and Valjevo, as well as in club venues in Kragujevac and Smederevo, and the concert was well received everywhere. After 5 years, I shared the stage again with an old friend, a great guitarist who also guested on the album, Nenad Gajin and enjoyed it to the max.
I gave a lot of interviews for various newspapers, web portals as well as live on TV stations. The quality of the album is also confirmed by numerous playlists on radio web stations in Europe, America and Asia, which contain some of the tracks from my release, as well as reviews that were published not only here, but also internationally, of which I would especially like to single out that of the famous jazz critic Adam Baruch:
The music from the album was used at the opening of the graphic exhibition of the famous Novi Sad artist and professor Uroš Nedeljković, and also as an illustration for the radio drama “Kugin vilajet” produced by RTV Vojvodina. The reactions of listeners who are not “musicians” by vocation are also important to me. Some of the comments I particularly like are that the album is listened to in its entirety in the car while going on a long journey, and people like to listen to it more than once, discovering new qualities with each new listen.
The month of October brought my premiere performance with the Jovan Milovanović Quartet in the Belgrade club Telma, which was packed. Great music, great friends and my fretless Pedulla Pentabuzz for the first time in jazz action.
November in Novi Sad was marked by a Sunday dedicated to the legendary Mitra Subotic Suba, which was organized in a wonderful way in the new cultural area of Novi Sad. On that occasion, I participated in two spontaneous jam sessions in “Suba’s room” and had the pleasure of playing music with the Brazilian percussionist Joao Parahyba, who was once one of Suba’s most important friends and collaborators in Brazil, in addition to our local participants.
And one more, final review of the Catching the Wind release. Shortly after the release of my album on all digital platforms for music streaming, my friend from school days, Nenad Šimšić, who lives and works in Amsterdam as a sound designer and producer, contacted me with the desire to release my album in Dolby Atmos 3D format as well, because he really liked the music and production of the release itself. I confess that at that time I knew nothing at all about this format that is spreading in the world market. To our mutual satisfaction, we finished the first part of the album, extended play 1 (first 5 compositions), Catching the Wind EP1 by the end of the year and published it on all streaming services that support this format. The biggest ones are Tidal, Amazon Music and Apple Music. As far as I know, this is the first release of this kind of music format not only in Serbia, but also beyond. In order for the audio mix and mastering of music to be done with quality according to all DA standards, it must be mixed in a Dolby Atmos authorized and licensed music studio such as Nenad’s. In February 2023, the second part of the album in DA format, Catching the Wind EP2, will be released.
As a music editor on the first program of RTV Vojvodina radio, in charge of jazz music, I always try to promote first and foremost quality jazz releases from Serbia and the countries of the region from the former Yugoslavia. In the previous year, almost all the albums that reached me and were published in 2021 and 2022 found their place in my shows Jazz Kaleidoscope (Thursday 22.12-23.00) or Rendezvous with Music (Monday 18.05-19.00). Jovan Milovanović Quartet, Parussion Groupe Ensemble, Maya Misty Trio, Bojan Marjanović, Ivan Radivojević Quartet, Milena Jančurić, Filip Pavić, Sarajevo Jazz Guerilla, Elvis Stanić, Drama Quartet, EJO, Bosque, Dragan Ćalina Quartet, Robert Vrbančić. Mario Rašić, Zoran Majstorović, MING, Irena Blagojević. The exclusive 25-minute interview with one of the world’s biggest stars of the world music scene, Tunisian singer and lute player Dhafer Youssef, was really special, after all, just like his concert.
My bass guitar school www.vladabasslessons.com was active throughout the year, online and live without interruption, in accordance with other obligations, but I had to limit the number of students I work with once a week “1 on 1” to 10.
We have reached the very end of this first blog of mine, dedicated to the recapitulation of 2022. There is an unfinished project from last year that will still have to see the light of day during February 2023, if not earlier. It is about my new website www.vladimirsamardzic.com which is still “under construction”, but it is at the very end of its creation. I can’t wait to put it into circulation!
There are various plans in this new year, but let’s take it easy. It is not worth “catching the wind” at all costs, chasing numerous goals, and missing the life that happens to us every day.
Therefore, give yourself tasks and deadlines, but allow other unplanned things to happen, to interfere with your schedules and enrich your year at the price of delaying the planned a bit, moving it to later, and even changing it. Allow the unplanned and enjoy it!