Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Boban Markovic Orkestar

  • Live in Belgrade [Piranha, 2002]  
  • Boban I Marko [Piranha, 2003] A-
  • The Promise [Piranha, 2006] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Live in Belgrade [Piranha, 2002]
"Best trumpet of Guca" gets wild, indulges Balkan romanticism, plays "Hava Nagila" ("Ring, Ring," "Votopad")  

Boban I Marko [Piranha, 2003]
Never mind Bright Balkan Morning's Steven Feld soundscape, which overdoes ambience, or Knitting Factory's wannabe Slavic Soul Party in Makedonia, which shortchanges chops. This Serbian-Roma horn band is where I hear the Balkan-style "participatory discrepancy" Charles Keil declares unrecordable--the "relaxed dynamism," the "semiconscious or unconscious slightly out of syncness." Father-and-son flugelhorn virtuoso-and-phenom trade perky theme statements and heartbreaking solos in an ensemble that hangs loose from the slack wire between chaos and expertise. Tuneful and jaunty when it's generic, miraculous and hilarious when it hits--or just misses--its groove. A-

The Promise [Piranha, 2006]
In which the most invigorating Balkan brass I know becomes a tad neater under the watchful production of Meddlin' Ben Mandelson. The general air of woofled hilarity continues. But in a slack-wire music of crooked harmonies, naturally occurring dub, and unisons that are no such thing, virtuosity is best deployed in the vicinity of a near miss, and there aren't quite enough of those here. B+

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