It Is Not I Who Seek The Young Fool

From:  The Succulence Of Abstraction (MV015)




M I C H A E L  V L A T K O V I C H

Composer / Trombonist

...Vlatkovich is the finest trombonist improvising today.    Jazz Review

  • TRYYO Flying Box

    CD112  (2016)

    Available in CD format in envelope.


    TRACK 04

    myrnofant's kiss




    CD112 (CD) (2016)




    The people in the front are going to have a good time.

    The people in the back are going to have a good time too.


    Michael Vlatkovich – trombone / compositions

    Johnathan Golove – electric cello

    Damon Short -- drums


    Michael's statement mailed with the CD to Reviewers:


    "Flying Box" is the second Cd for the Tryyo. Unlike the first Cd, "Pershing Woman," this one was recorded in the studio. We had complete control over our placement in the fabric of the music, as well as our sound and blend/volume. Partly because of the composition choices, we were also able to explore in greater detail the orchestrational possibilities of the group. On "Exposed To Higher Concentrations Of Stubidity," you'll hear my kazoo mute and may even notice the manipulated cello sound. During this project, the three of us all take on the different roles necessary to make the music happen, melody, rhythm, accompaniment. Certainly each characteristic usually contains elements of another. For example, the melody often is discernibly rhythmic, while an accompaniment may hint at both a rhythm and/or a tonality.  Because of this instrumentation, the roles naturally blur, but it's never about a traditional orchestration, partly because it is not a traditional instrumentation and because we orchestrate as we go. Our roles in a normal ensemble setting would be quite different. The normal instrumentation would contain instruments such as piano, guitar, and bass. I do also think the drums would function somewhat differently as well. The compositions on this Cd demand that we respond to one another in real time, filling in what we consider to be the necessary missing components. For example, on "Wanted Tambourine Player Hair Stylist," I function almost exclusively in a bass accompaniment role. The question will be whether the listener can hear the trombone in the role as bass/accompaniment, not melody? Will the listener hear the cello in the role as melody or will the listener listen to the trombone exclusively and find the repetition uninteresting, completely ignoring the cello? On "Thank You For Cleaning Up After The Lunatics," during the composition, Damon functions as the accompaniment with Jonathan and I on the melody. There are several other compositions like this one on the Cd. It is a more traditional setting in the since that the melody instruments are indeed playing the melody and the drummer is supplying everything else. There are of course, other orchestration examples which I don't think it necessary to talk about. I think you'll hear them. Suffice to say, this ensemble is not only about improvisation in a usual context, but also about how that improvisation is introduced into the existing compositions. What role does the improvisation play other than as a developmental tool? On this Cd, the material that is composed sometimes is minimal and the improvisation makes the music complete. The missing ingredients are improvised. Because of that, these musicians have a difficult task. I ask quite a bit of them. They always come through with unexpected solutions to the process of making creative improvised music come alive. Please, check it out.

    Michael Vlatkovich



    I recently came across the term 'Marrano Patterns' (Y. Yovel, 1989), patterns of behavior typical of the Jewish forced Conversos, but also after the expulsion from Spain and Portugal. Forced to live a dual life of religious ambivalence,  and constant ambiguity, virtues such as skepticism and tolerance, a potential for nonconformity and the propensity for heterodoxy would have developed out of the need for the confusion of symbols and traditions. I am interested in the pattern itself, the prevalence of the elliptical, the blurring of fixed parameters and unambiguousness. Like it, as a kind of cultural heritage that has fallen from the experience of life into art, and is diffused, especially in jazz. The trombonist Michael Vlatkovich opposes the flock of sheep behind barbed wire on the cover with Jonathan Golove on the e-cello and Damon Short on the drums a way of playing that is explicitly ambiguous the difference of composition and improvisation, of foreground and background, of melody and accompaniment and changeablity. Where does postmodern contemporary music end, where does NowJazz intercept, when a cello flirts with a trumpet and sophistry confronts us with a jerky and whimsical flow? Is that still Both-And, is that Neither-Yet? 'If here were there would be here' (flebile). Golove has confronted resAUnance and Turkish singer Esin Gündüz with "migration" as an experience. As he introduces with springy bows in 'Unknown Known' and Vlatkovich squeezes only pressed sounds and suddenly grooved with Jungle Growl, what Short, whose snare- & tom-stressed Rollin 'reminiscent of Lou Grassi, incites to an equally groovy fanfare, one can hardly wish for a nicer advertisement for nonconformity. It just sounds good to hear such sonorous tones and melodic caprices played so unbalanced, in a bulky, complex, cleverly plausible way.

    [BA 94 rbd]  Bad Alchemy.  Rigobert Dittmann

    English Translation Google / CMB



    Here’s a new trio featuring Michael Vlatkovich (trombone/composer), Jonathan Golove (electric cello) and Damon Short (drums) playing all original material. Most of the music is fairly straight ahead, but they sometimes veer toward the strange zone, experimenting with harmony and group interaction. The electric cello and trombone are a unique combination and the group is quite comfortable with stretching the boundaries.

    Jul 6th, 2017 | By Dave Rogers  WTJU 91.1FM



    Here’s a trio for the unorthodox; trombonist Michael Vlatkovich gets together with cellist Jonathan Golove and drummer Damon Shor for a Decalogue of originals. The team has a Mingusy feel, mixing loose post bop with gut level swing and blues. Vlatkovich uses his trombone in a variety of moods, making it cry on “Exposed to Higher Concentrations…” and swinging with all get out on “The Snakes Always Talk…” while he uses warmth and space with Short on “Wanted Tambourine Player Hair Stylist.” He can growl with the best on a plunger during the frisky “Communicating Their Silence” and wrestles with the rhythm on “May I Have A Few More Polka Dots.” Fun music with one foot in the tradition and the other stepping into an elevator shaft.

    by George W. Harris • August 24, 2017



    Progressive/modern jazz/improvisation)

    The second full-length release from Tryyo, the trio comprised of Michael Vlatkovich, Jonathan Golove, and Damon Short. This trio has a different sound from what most listeners are accustomed to hearing, because the instruments are trombone, electric cello, and drums. The overall sound of these songs may surprise listeners, and that's probably because all three of these musicians seem extraordinarily focused on they're playing. That, and the fact that they seem to intuitively feed off one another both musically and mentally. Unlike the last album (Pershing Woman) that was recorded live, the tracks for Flying Box were created in a studio environment. Ten creative cuts here that tread into a variety of territories. Cool reflective tracks include "Pedal Sharp Four the Name," "Unknown Theme," "Reassurances From the Apologetically Insincere," and "If Here Were There There Would Be Here" (we sure do love those song titles...). As always, if it's on the pfMENTUM label, it's gotta be good.



    Many releases of California-based Vlatkovich were on my table in the last few years. And each new record often was one with a new line up, a new format. This time trombonist Vlatkovich makes his point in a trio with Jonathan Golove (electric cello) and Damon Short (drums). Golove is a cellist and composer, performing new as well as traditional composed music. As a player of the electric cello he

    prefers settings of improvised music, as is the case here. Tryyo debuted in 2012 with live-recorded ‘Pershing Woman’. ‘Flying Box’ was recorded in the studio halfway 2015. They set their teeth in ten compositions by Vlatkovich, producing some positive and tuneful vibes, even a bit funky at moments. Vlatkovich never moves deeply into avant-garde territories. But starting from conventional idioms, he always succeeds in creating music that is entertaining and full of ideas. On this album ‘ballads’ and introvert pieces contrast with up-tempo compositions. There is fine relaxed interplay between the three, and also room for solos. Those follow unison-played passages where the players push and pull one other in different directions. Just the joy of jazz. (DM)





  • ART



    CD112 DISC


    CD095  (2016)

    Available in CD format in envelope.


    TRACK 04

    myrnofant's kiss




    CD095 (CD) (2016)




    The people in the front are going to have a good time.

    The people in the back are going to have a good time too.


    Michael Vlatkovich – trombone / compositions

    David Mott – baritone sax

    Johnathan Golove – electric cello

    Christopher Garcia -- drums


    How, please, to kiss a myrnofant (Mystic)?


    With Myrnofant's Kiss (pfMENTum CD095) MICHAEL VLATKOVICH answers this in his own way. Together - for 10 years - with David Mott whose baritone dragon horn, has already been heard by popes and in space shuttles, Jonathan Golove with the Electric Cello, and Christopher Garcia, a rogue angel, on drums.


    The answer is thus found together between composition and intuition, between singular brass music and chamber jazz. There are violent winds, solistic brilliance, but also quite chirpy or squeaking cellos, or a baritone, like a didgeridoo. Cello and baritone play with trombone and drums mixed, fast as well as crooked cut patterns leave air for lyrical side thoughts or even curious munching and moans. The trombone and the baritone are already well-disposed for not uncommon growling and groovy quarreling myrnofantastic, as if, whatever it is, their trunk dipped into the Mississippi.


    This is then booming bluish and pachyderm, however, strayed by a Cellomoskito. After that, a pleasing waltz? Or a motty reverie in cardinal purple? Then one solemn limping procession forms. The limping twitch lags even to the finale, underscoring a dash-dot cellon solo, a trombone like a broken pipe, and the vale of the baritone, until the end of the cello. Sleeping sickness does not threaten as 'Illness with a countdown', the infection risk is in the whimsical groove.

    Reviews in BA 91 Rigobert Dittmann

    Translated from German:  Google & CMB



    The plaintive sound of Jonathan Golove’s electric cello touches your heart to begin the engrossing Myrnofant’s Kiss, the latest from trombonist Michael Vlatkovich’s quartet. When Vlatkovich, baritone saxophonist David Mott and drummer Christopher Garcia join in on no victims just volunteers, it’s in support of that feeling and the piece drifts along in a sort of collective dream until Golove reasserts himself with a strong, soaring melody that brings the music to a satisfying conclusion. This is the second full-length CD for this unit. The quartet recorded Alivebuquerque in 2003, also for pfMENTUM, and had a single track on a 2007 compilation on the Zerx label. Even while getting together only once in a while, the quartet has an admirable unity of purpose and direction. The main attractions are the formidable solo abilities of Vlatkovich and his bag of trombone tricks and Mott’s huge authoritative sound on baritone, but it’s the group as a whole that’s really the star of the show. Take the headlong rush of stop scaring the toddlers and farm animals. The slithering power generated by the intertwined lines of all four players gradually peters out in favor of a happy drum solo to take the piece out. The round robin of instrumental combinations in the middle section of the jumpy hold on to your chair watch out for snakes leads to a vigorous free-for-all before the closing theme. The title track is a series of finger snapping licks with a typically sly and counterintuitive trombone solo prodded by Mott’s gruff counterlines. A lengthy chase sequence in the otherwise mysterious on the corner of a purple saturday is another high point. The down and dirty groove of an illness with a countdown is a personal favorite. The quartet’s down-tempo swagger sets the mood, and Vlatkovich, Mott and Golove move into a collective improvisation with abandon. Mott’s refined baritone is the main voice on the restrained leave the worrying to the professionals, and the set concludes with a tree falls in the forest while an orange rolls in circles watching a pickle kiss a banana goodbye. Another tricky original (and another wild title) from the fertile imagination of Michael Vlatkovich, this features a characteristically engrossing solo by Golove, shifting rapidly between his finger and bow on his electric cello, and an exuberant spot by the leader, prodded by Golove and honks by Mott’s baritone. Mott follows with his own distinctive and authoritative sound, and under everything lies Garcia’s carefully calibrated accompaniment. Myrnofant’s Kiss offers boldly creative music by an inventive and attentive quartet. Warmly recommended.  pfMENTUM CD095;

    Michael Vlatkovich (tb) David Mott (bars) Jonathan Golove (el clo) Christopher Garcia (d); Toronto, ON, no dates specified; no victims just volunteers/ stop scaring the toddlers and farm animals/ hold on to your chair watch out for snakes/ myrnofant’s kiss/ on the corner of a purple saturday/ an illness with a countdown/ leave the worrying to the professionals/ a tree falls in the forest while an orange rolls in circles watching a pickle kiss a banana goodbye; 48:59.

    Stuart Kremsky



    Spontaneous pictures of the music: A group of colorful feathered exotic birds stands at a waterhole and chattering (the winds). In the background children play with stones, which they throw into the percussion. In the sky, a paper dragon (the electric cello) is fluttering, already slightly shredded. The heat flickers and dulls the brain. The scenarios that this music designs for me are similar. The cover, with its Herbie Hancock bow, does not get in the way of this lively chaos at all. Mysterious world of jazz composition.

    Zipo - more-5286

    Translated from German:  Google & CMB



    Note:  This review below is for both:  Myrnofant's Kiss and Mortality

    Here’s some free form music from trombonist Michael Vlatkovich…

    Michael Vlatkovich brings his trombone to team up with the unique mix of David Mott’s baritone sax, Jonathan Golove’s electric cello and Christopher Garcia’s drums for eight free thinking originals. The two horns are able to mix rhythms and grooves at times that come across like some free bop as on “Hold On To Your Chair…” and even get bluesy on “An Illness With A Countdown.” Lots of allusions to Spike Jones come up on the fun loving and irreverent pieces such as “A Tree Falls In The Forest…” and the title track while other adventures sound tentative as Golove bows eerily on “No Victims Just Volunteers.” Mingus leading a Spike Jones Orchestra?

    Vlatkovich adds much textures to the second album, as you get NO drum, and instead lots of woodwinds, brass, keyboards, percussion and Carol Sawyer’s elastic and wordless voice on these seven tunes. Hints of Carls Stallings comes up on the driving “Sometimes a Red Nose…” and the team gets swinging and bluesy with Bill Plake’s tenor and Dominic Genova’s bas on “Hiding Out As A Verb.” Sawyer’s voice gets blurpy and fluttery on “Goodbye” and “Adeptly Disguised As Chairs” with the team sounding like Eastern European modern classical on “Or Do You Have Change For A $20.” Ideas bounce like a Super Ball.

    by George W. Harris • October 20, 2016…Michael+Mlatkovich%3A+Mortality,+Myrnofant’s+Kiss



    Note:  The review below is for both:  Myrnofant's Kiss and Mortality

    Vlatkovich is a very busy bee already for decades. Born and educated in St. Louis, trombonist Vlatkovich lives and works in Los Angeles since 1973. Before 2000 his releases are few. Since 2000 they are many. And from 2005 the Pfmentum-label turns out to be become more and more his home label. His output illustrates that he is a capable of starting up many ensembles and groups. He is a restless organizer bringing musicians together. For ‘Myrnofants Kiss‘ Vlatkovich worked with a quartet: David Mott (baritone saxophone), Jonathan Golove (electric cello), Christopher Garcia (drums) and Vlatkovich himself – as always - on trombone. It is the

    second release by this quartet. In 2003 they recorded  ‘Alivebuquerque ‘, also released on Pfmentum.  All compositions on this new statement are by Vlatkovich. The music sounds like composed chamber music. Jazz elements are reduced, although there is room for improvisation. But there is no swing like in other works by Vlatkovich, except where Vlatkovich takes a solo. The music remains a bit at a distance. Sounds academic and doesn’t trigger an immediate emotional response. Also I didn’t became a fan of the electric cello. In contrast, the ensemble on ‘Mortality’ plays much tighter and with a stronger drive. This CD Vlatkovich recorded with his Ensemblio: Dan Lucas (trumpet), Jill Torberson (French horn), Bill Plake (cornet), David Riddles (bassoon, flute, soprano sax, clarinet), Andrew Pask (alto sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet), Bill Roper (tuba,

    bombardino), Harry Scorzo (violin), Jonathan Golove (cello), Tom McNally (guitar), Dominic Genova (bass), Wayne Peet (piano, keyboard), Carol Sawyer (voice), Ken Park (percussion), Vlatkovich trombone and composition. It is an ambitious and complex work where Vlatkovich

    combines different styles and elements into one giant eclectic whole with a sense for adventure. Enough exciting moments, breaks and humorous quotes pass by. Also fine interplay is to be enjoyed. Vlatkovich is a fascinating soloist and a solid composer with a wide range of possibilities

    to his disposal.




    Sometimes the Canadian expatriate anecdote gets tuned on its head when artists from other countries establish themselves here. One example is American David Mott, a long-time York University professor whose bravura baritone saxophone command is featured on many records. California trombonist Michael Vlatkovich’s Myrnofant’s Kiss (pfMENTUM CD 095 is one. Not only was the disc recorded and produced in Toronto, but Jonathan Golove, who plays electric cello on the date, teaches at the University at Buffalo. Another Californian, Christopher Garcia, is the drummer. Working through eight of Vlatkovich’s quirkily titled compositions, emphasis is placed on the contrapuntal interaction of the low pitches from trombone and saxophone with the overlapping suggesting a rhino and an elephant trumpeting as they leapfrog. These timbres are displayed on tracks such as Hold on to Your Chair Watch Out for Snakes where Vlatkovich’s spluttering spectral glides and Mott’s bagpipe-like tremolo bellows provide a unison pitch shattering of the ambulatory theme. Here, as in many other instances, Golove’s spiccato roughens the narrative as he contributes to the march time propelled by Garcia. Vlatkovich’s slide command is such that he can express Dixieland-styled gutbucket slurs to challenge Mott’s tongue splaying and Golove’s string winnowing on Stop Scaring the Toddlers and Farm Animals as comfortably as he extends the range of his instrument into vocalized multiphonics alongside the saxophonist’s agitated whines that eventually slow down the piece. Pitchsliding their way through tunes that wed pseudo-waltz time to pseudo-martial music to piledriver themes as frantic as any bop line, the quartet members come up with music that’s both sinewy and hummable. With melodies recapped for familiarity even as they indulge in instrumental bravura, tracks are experimental without being off-putting. Vlatkovich’s and the others’ philosophy can be summed up in his penultimate song title: Leave the Worrying to the Professionals. This musical professionalism thrives among Canadian improvisers, although many have to leave home to get a proper hearing.

    Author: Ken Waxman



    This unknown and curiously titled piece by Michael Vlatkovich is a relaxing freestyle jazz experience. Myrnofant’s Kiss is the 9th album of a long career of published jazz, this edition starts with the appropriately slow “No Victims Just Volunteers” that slowly increases in tempo across the tracks, reaching a crescendo at “Hold on to Your Chair Watch Out for Snakes”. Then slowly winds down and comes to a close ending with the interestingly long winded “A Tree Falls in The Forest While an Orange Rolls in Circles Watching a Pickle Kiss a Banana Goodbye”. While not a roller-coaster of emotion or an extreme journey in either experimental or limit pushing territory, Myrofants Kiss is a fine piece of easy listening and relaxing jazz.


    Recommended If You Like: Pat Metheny, David Sanborn

    Recommended Tracks: hold on to your chair watch out for snakes, leave the worrying to the professionals

    Do Not Play: none

    Written by Kade Eby on 09/22/2016



    Michael Vlatkovich, meanwhile already 65, will relentlessly continue composing and playing adventurous jazz. He composes, is band leader, an appreciated jazz connoisseur and widely appreciated trombonist. He comes out in many guises, from solo, small ensembles to full ensembles. For 'Myrnofant's Kiss', he goes to work as a quartet, with which he recorded the same 'Alivebuquerque' album in 2006, which was also a DVD canned in 2008. Vlatkovich focuses on understanding opportunities, seeking to break the boundaries of pure jazz and focus on what is possible with melody, interaction of the different relationships between the musicians scan each other and listening to each other and push a creative peak. Eight songs are the result of this search, focusing on the baritone saxophone of David Mott and Trombone Vlatkovich. Drummer Christopher Garcia and cellist Jonathan Golove stay more in the background, without completely disappearing, and occasionally also to claim a vital contribution. This CD is therefore a challenge for jazz purists and an adventure for those who can think more broadly and listen. With Ensemblio Vlatkovich released a first album in 2011. The sequel to "An Autobiography Of A Pronoun" is understood in the same way. Vlatkovich writes out scores, which serve as a basis for further improvise. No mean feat as we count how many members it has Ensemblio: 14! Among them, of course, a lot of wind, which never provide excess. Every note seems, even though it is improvised, studied and accounted for. Therefore the ensemble sounds like a real unit that brings jazz, despite the large number of members and instruments, yet produces calmness and tranquility. The music may perhaps complex stabbing each other, that's when listening hardly noticeable. Vlatkovich himself must also be pretty excited to hear his complicated score interpreted by these musicians and as it were translated from the cuff to readily accessible jazz.

    Patrick Bruneel    Email:     Translated from Dutch:  Google & CMB



    Never heard anything about Michael Vlatkovich before this "Myrnofant's Kiss". An initiation that allows us to know a very active musician and composer within the avant-improv tour made in NYC and Canadian; trombonist whose unorthodox timbre makes the school of George Lewis and Leroy Jenkins echo in the air, combining it with varied and eventful personal solutions. The quartet here is composed by the very talented Jonathan Glove on the electric cello, David Mott on the baritone sax, from the drums of Christopher Garcia, and the trombone of Michael Vlatkovich. It is not the first time they have played together, also dissecting Michael's harmonies on "Alivebuquerque", always on pfMENTUM, saw the same training at work. I do not know this work from 2009 but I can say with conviction, that listening to "Myrnofant's Kiss" slips away quite well, arousing interest in the variety of structures that Vlatkovich proposes to his colleagues and that they all then reinvent together. It is no coincidence that the press info we recieved emphasized the intent to build for each piece of work (8 in all) different forms and sound architectures, they are more rough and free, or collective and swinging, or even progressive progression. The prize of the best wins: the dialogues of No Victims, Just Volunteers; the free anarchy in Stop Scaring the Toddlers and ... with a remarkable drumming in the credits; An Illness with a Countdown, with a marvelous and dense baritone dying under the darting serpents of the cello; the bolted march in crescendo Leave the Worrying to the Professionals. Enjoyable.

    SITE:  KATHODIK   English Translation Google / CMB

    From: marco paolucci



    Michael Vlatkovich is a trombonist and composer of St. Louis active since 1973 in Los Angeles, part of that experimental niche present since the fifties in the West Coast. He is a regular member of the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble and the Rob Blakeslee Quartet, but he also collaborates with artists of various expressive tendencies: Bobby Bradford and Gerry Hemingway but also Solomon Burke, Ricky Lee Jones and Medeski, Martin & Wood. His recent recording activity is documented by Jeff Kaiser's pfMentum label and these two ensembles represent well his lines of research: Myrnofant's Kiss is the most recent while Mortality was recorded in 2014.  Evaluation: * * * ½


    For this recording in Canada, Vlatkovich assembled a quartet comprising three generations of soloists: veteran David Mott, a well-known baritone virtuoso with a long career as a musician and teacher, drummer and percussionist Christopher Garcia and younger cellist Jonathan Golove, a musician who works both in classical contexts and in free improvisation. The repertoire is given by eight adventurous pieces of the leader with sometimes bizarre titles: a generally vibrant music, where the free improvisation of post-free cutting is linked to moments of abstract chamber music. The structure of the pieces is varied. Austere classical cut compositions coexist with others structurally simpler (thematic fragments from which the free interactions between the soloists start) but timbrically lacerating and full of unexpected solutions. There are also traditional moments with long solos on regular rhythmic bases or personal re-readings of the blues. A more incisive and communicative music that in the past, also involving those who do not follow the post-free avant-garde.

    By ANGELO LEONARDI September 19, 2017   Translation Google & CMB



    Never heard of Michael Vlatkovich before this "Myrnofant's Kiss". An initiation that allows us to know a very active musician and composer within the avant-improv made tour in NYC and Canadian; Trombonist whose unorthodox stamp echoes George Lewis's and Leroy Jenkins's air in the air, bringing to him personal and varied personal solutions. The quartet consists of the great Jonathan Glove at the electric cello, David Mott at the sax baritone, Christopher Garcia's drum, and the trombone of ours. It is not the first time that it plays together, sweeping its particular tuning: "Alivebuquerque", always on pfMENTUM, saw the same training at work. I do not know the work of 2009 but I can say with conviction that listening to "Myrnofant's Kiss" slips pretty well, wondering about the variety of solutions Vlatkovich proposes to experiment with his colleagues. It is no coincidence that in the press info we emphasize just the intention to build for every piece of work (8 in all) different forms and sound architectures, they are more pride and free, or collective and swinging, or even progressive . They win the best prize: No Victims, Just Volunteers; The free anarchy in Stop Scaring the Toddlers and ... with a remarkable drumming to the queue titles; An Illness with a Countdown, with an admirable and dense baritone dying under the guitars of the cello; The blazing march in growing Leave the Worrying to the Professionals.


    April 18th 2017 Reviewer: Sergio Eletto



    This unknown and curiously titled piece by Michael Vlatkovich is a relaxing freestyle jazz experience. Myrnofant’s Kiss is the 9th album of a long career of published jazz, this edition starts with the appropriately slow “No Victims Just Volunteers” that slowly increases in tempo across the tracks, reaching a crescendo at “Hold on to Your Chair Watch Out for Snakes”. Then slowly winds down and comes to a close ending with the interestingly long winded “A Tree Falls in The Forest While an Orange Rolls in Circles Watching a Pickle Kiss a Banana Goodbye”. While not a roller-coaster of emotion or an extreme journey in either experimental or limit pushing territory, Myrofants Kiss is a fine piece of easy listening and relaxing jazz.

    September 26, 2016  Kade Eby


  • ART



    CD095 DISC

  • mortality

    CD091  (2015)

    Available in CD format in envelope.


    TRACK 07





    CD091 (CD) (2015)




    The people in the front are going to have a good time.

    The people in the back are going to have a good time too.


    Michael Vlatkovich – trombone / compositions

    Dan Clucas – trumpet

    Jill Torberson – french horn

    Bill Plake – tenor sax

    David Riddles – bassoon / flute / soprano sax / clarinet

    Addrew Pask – alto sax / bari sax / bass clarinet

    Bill Roper – tuba / bombardondino

    Harry Scorzo – violin

    Johnathan Golove – cello

    Tom McNalley – guitar

    Dominic Genova – bass

    Wayne Peet – piano / keyboard

    Carol Sawyer – voice

    Ken Park – all percussion


    Wow. Where to start? Apropos of its title, Mortality is huge. Vast. Complex. Quixotic. Musically, it's a mega-ambitious work that fuses operatic vocals, several styles of jazz, heavily-scored contemporary classical music and flat-out improvisational wailing in the most appealing ways possible. Interestingly, Michael Vlatkovich, a West Coast trombone virtuoso and composer / improvisor of considerable merit, is a guy who devotes considerable time to small group projects of various types—most notably tenor saxophonist Rich Halley's quartet—plus his own septet with Ron Miles, and a quartet with guitarist Tom McNalley. Yet, Vlatkovich's large ensemble projects, though few and far between, are always risky, grandly adventurous and eclectic to a fault. Transvalue Book III, (Thank You Records, 2008), for example, is an insane mashup of spoken word and avant-jazz-rock fusion for 15 instrumentalists and 10 vocalists. As in much of Vlatkovich's music, dark humor frequently bubbles up close to its surfaces, but it's also an eminently listenable and inspiring musical experience that I've returned to on many occasions. Mortality is similar, only without the spoken word. Like the entire Transvalue series, Mortality is ambitious, multi-layered and simply dares the listener to let it recede into the background.


    Listening to the intricacies of this music, the blazing improvisations, the razor-sharp orchestrations, and the forward- leaning élan of the rhythm section, I was happily reminded of Frank Zappa's large-scale jazz-rock albums such as The Grand Wazoo (Reprise Records, 1972), Them or Us (Barking Pumpkin Records, 1984), and Make a Jazz Noise Here (Zappa Records, 1991). Though I am not sure how Vlatkovich feels about Frank Zappa, both "Adeptly disguised as chairs and tables the audience listened quietly" and the title track contain some sly references to Zappa's more avant-garde compositional efforts: convoluted, rhythmically complex tutti horn parts suspended over buzzing snare drums and ringing mallet percussion, prominent clarinet, bassoon and operatic vocals, and ensemble improvisations interrupted by seemingly random interjections of tambourine, woodblocks and all manner of small percussion. Yet, on the title track, in between the ensemble passages, we hear lush, expansive unaccompanied improvisations from cellist Jonathan Golove, trumpeter Dan Clucas, and tenor saxophonist Bill Plake. Elsewhere, Vlatkovich breaks the ensemble down into smaller sections to support his own sparkling improvisations, or those of Plake, McNalley (who really shines on the album's first track), pianist Wayne Peet and bassist Dominic Genova.


    There's plenty of other stuff going on here that doesn't sound like Frank Zappa. "Hiding out as a verb" pits strings against horns over a crazy stop-start rhythm. Blazing horn improvisations (most notably by alto saxophonist Andrew Pask) sail over the top of the action, adding further tension to an already tense situation. There are numerous respites from this crazy intensity. Bassoon, voice, strings, and clarinet figure prominently on the sweet-and-sour "As quickly as it came," which sounds a little like a movie soundtrack before slowly morphing into something closer to 20th Century avant-garde chamber music. "Sometimes a red nose and big shoes aren't enough" is a mournful chamber piece that conceals a small, but crucial, piano melody. Vlatkovich the trombonist steps out on "Goodbye," a stark and simple duet with Peet that ends this bustling beehive of an album on an oddly introspective note.

    All About Jazz, Dave Wayne, June 29, 2015



    The change of location is due to the fact that Jeff Kaiser has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Music Technology and Composition at the University of Central Missouri.


    This has no effect on quality, as the trombonist MICHAEL VLATKOVICH continues to set the standard. First with Mortality (pfmentum CD091), again with his Ensemblio, a 14-man acrobat group, who master the seance between composition and improvisation perfectly.


    Because sometimes a red nose and big slippers are not enough and must be offered higher. It's always the clown eating that 'Out of the wall into the night' has just disappeared from the cover.


    You can hear all the eight songs with Carol Sawyer as a crowing chicken in the middle of the mess, trombone, trumpet, Waldhorn, saxophone, bassoon, flute, clarinet, tuba & bombardondino with and without violin, cello, guitar and keyboard And percussion according to Vlatkovich's instructions for use.


    With complex fancies, striking grooves and solos, from scratched to elegiac. To the former, I use an exclamation mark with the guitarist Tom McNalley, for the second one with the cellist Jonathan Golove, who takes the worn mood of 'as quickly as it came', which carries into an exotic Elysium where the soprano rattles with the bassoon. Afterwards distributed staccato, bigband sound with Kipp-Effects between flow, break and more strange events.


    The sounds that Wayne Peet elicits from the piano are, in any case, strange. Afterwards, at nightfall, on Ken Parks drum drums. The wind blisters bubble all the way to the end, but they are "Mortality" again, with boredom, until the funeral procession sets in motion, and the trumpeter Dan Clucas blows the hinge but the widow is very pleased with the good news. "Hiding out as a verb" corresponds to the predecessor album "An Autobiography Of A Pronoun" (2011), but the trombone still speaks, but only triggers at the chicken farm, until everyone is enthusiastic about the hunt for the verb. As a 'goodbye', Vlatkovich blows only too windy piano again as deeply struck by Anton Foyl's progress, but since when would a void be a musical option.

    Reviewed in BA 91 (10-2016) Rigobert Dittmann    Translated from German:  Google & CMB



    Esteemed West Coast trombonist Michael Vlatkovich's second release with the large ensemble outfit Ensemblio, features a cast of largely, So. California artists including tuba performer Bill Roper and keyboardist Wayne Peet, who is also credited with the engineering duties on this pristinely recorded studio set. Nonetheless, Vlatkovich tosses more than just a few curveballs into the mix.


    The ensemble frequently subdivides into smaller factions during mini-motifs, but the program is an off-centered case study when considering how numerous genres are merged into avant-garde or customary modern jazz frameworks along with the ever-present improvisational quotient. Whether it's Tom McNalley lashing out with a fusoid guitar solo or percussionist Ken Park steering an Afro-Cuban interlude, Vlatkovich also intersperses Zappa-like horns arrangements with brief nouveau classical passages. Moreover, Carol Sawyer's wordless vocals and harmonizing efforts also serve as an additional instrument.


    Diversity and a flock of dynamics emphasize many of these pieces. For example, "As quickly as it came," sounds like it could be an exaggeration (spoof) of an old time Broadway musical, topped off by Sawyer's chorale type overlays. But "Sometimes a red nose and big shoes aren't enough," is a pumping jazz rocker via succinct horns and ballsy choruses, streaked with oddball overtones. Yet the piece is built around Park's extended drum soloing—executed in classic big band fashion where the musicians proverbially give the 'drummer some' by pushing and prodding him during his polyrhythmic jaunts. Otherwise "Hiding out as a verb," contains a touch of chamber jazz and a forum for trumpeter Dan Clucas to stretch out, nicely augmented by Peet's lush piano phrasings and the band's playful call and response maneuvers. Although "Goodbye," is modeled with a mini-big band mindset, devised with shuffling grooves, thrusting horns and odd-metered time signatures.


    Overall, there's a lot to digest. However, the ensemble keeps this energized aural feast going with an uncanny mode of attack by bridging certain mainstream jazz processes into an ultra-modern exposition, complete with hearty improvisational segments and off-kilter detours amid a production that delivers good cheer throughout.


    Track Listing: Adeptly disguised as chairs and tables the audience listened quietly; As quickly as it came; Or do you have change for a $20?; Out of the wall and into the night; Sometimes a red nose and big shoes aren't enough; Mortality; Hiding out as a verb; Goodbye.


    Personnel: Michael Vlatkovich: trombone; Dan Clucas: trumpet; Jill Torberson: French horn; Bill Plake: tenor sax; David Riddles: bassoon, flute, soprano sax, clarinet; Andrew Pask: alto and bari saxophones, bass clarinet; Bill Roper: tuba, bombardondino; Harry Scorzo: violin; Jonathan Golove: cello; Tom McNalley: electric guitar; Dominic Genova: bass; Wayne Peet: piano, keyboards; Carol Sawyer: voice; Ken Park: drums, mallet percussion, all other percussion.

    By GLENN ASTARITA  September 11, 2016



    Particularly dense with different musical motifs is this album recorded in September 2014 by an ensemble of 14 elements that performs eight tracks of the trombonist (but the cover shows seven with some discrepancies on the times). Chamber episodes are mirrored in vehement orchestrations, with fragments of free or modern mainstream, in a schizoid accumulation that reminds us of Frank Zappa. The richness of the motives involved is sometimes inhomogeneous and some pieces develop without an apparent logical direction. For example, the brilliant tension of the first part of "Or Do You Have Change for a $ 20" (with a lively intervention by Andrew Pask) goes out in a swamp of noise and chamber abstractions until the hurried closure. "Sometimes a Red Nose and Big Shoes are not Enough" seems to promise orchestral developments but the collective is limited to supporting the long drum solo with short cuts. Fortunately, it is not all that much more consistent than the experimental chamber music of "As Quickly As It Came" or the final "Ghost Track" lyric with protagonists Vlatkovich's trombone and Wayne Peet's piano.

    Evaluation: * * *

    September 19, 2017 By ANGELO LEONARDI Translated By Google & CMB


  • ART



    CD091 DISC

  • ask 7

    michael vlatkovich septet

    CD089  (2015)

    Available in CD format in envelope.


    TRACK 04

    missing C the limbless percussion...




    CD089 (CD) (2015)



    The people in the front are going to have a good time.

    The people in the back are going to have a good time too.


    Michael Vlatkovich – trombone / compositions

    Ron Miles – cornet

    Wade Sanders – bass trombone

    Mark Harris – alto sax / clarinet / bass clarinet

    Glenn Nitta – tenor sax

    Kent McLagen – bass

    Chris Lee – drums


    On 09/06/2014 in Denver, the MICHAEL VLATKOVICH SEPTET made Ask 7 (pfMENTUM CD089) thinking about questions such as: Why does the past, the 'dishearteningly omnipresent never-to-be-forgotten... past', not pass away? Why does the woman...? ('madam why') Why can’t I dance? ('... just couldn’t dance') Why is there no reason? (‘the eventual supremacy of reason’)


    To solve such puzzles, you have to blow the brain free. With Ron Miles on cornet, Wade Sander on the bass trombone, Mark Harris on alto sax, clarinet and bass clarinet and Glenn Nitta on tenor saxophone following Vlatkovich they do just that. The Tip: Take five.


    Kent McLagen’s bass and Chris Lee Drums modulate to a single pulse. These two can definitely dance, even on a tightrope or on a cloud. The whole project was molded with great calm, as if the strategy was to make room for the questions to answer themselves. This dreamy brooding, above all, the bluesy, soulful, swinging musing of the trumpets, sets up a sonorous melodiousness. With the flexibly arranged and nested cooperation of the winds, it is as if Vlatkovich has created a new Sudoku dance style for reeds. Sometimes it reminds me of Mingus’ jumping on plastic ideas, with Jimmy Kneppers trombone playing a prominent role.


    It is safe to say that in this --Question Time for the 21st Century-- so to say, I can see, in it’s nuanced vitality and sophistication that the modernist twin stars shine here.

    [BA 85 rbd]

    (Translation from German: Google, Bing and cmb freely.  I was unable to find the source.)



    Ask 7, Michael Vlatkovich Septet

    Some jazz artists you can count on to make quality music year-after-year. They may not always win popularity contests, yet their music lives and breathes well. Trombonist jazz-composer Michael Vlatkovich is one of those. With his own bands/projects and now as a member of the Rich Halley group he comes through consistently. Being a West Coaster he may not have as large a presence on the scene than if he was in New York, for example, but that has nothing to do with the music.


    So today another fine one, the Michael Vlatkovich Septet's Ask 7 (pfMentum CD089). It is Michael, his trombone and compositions along with a multi-wind outfit of Ron Miles on cornet, Wade Sander on bass trombone, Mark Harris on alto sax/clarinet/bass clarinet, Glenn Nitta on tenor sax, Kent McLagen on acoustic bass and Chris Lee on drums.


    It is a game outfit that handles the composed ensemble music well and has a deep pocket of good improvisers to get the music moving. These are some of Vlatkovich's most compelling compositions, modern and on the outside edge but also somehow timeless in a classic sort of way.


    Combine the music with some very nice voicings and performances, good solos and a loosely swinging rhythm team and you have some excellent music. That is what you get. Vlatkovich's trombone is in good evidence and as always has high artistry. The other wind players get some good things going solo-wise. Harris and Nitta get my ear especially.


    Hearing this I felt strongly that Vlatkovich would write some excellent big band charts but no matter because we get a very full-sounding septet that allows for some very ambitious and successful Vlatkovich music here.

    It's one of his very best and so I heartily recommend you hear it. Encore!

    Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards. Friday, May 22, 2015, 6:03 AM


    Michael Vlatkovich Septet, Ask7  (pfMentum 2015)

    Every year, I receive three or even four releases from trombonist / composer Michael Vlatkovich. I worry a little.


    Thank God for "Ask 7."  It confirms the strength of the artist.


    Compositions infused with light and relaxed sighing melancholy (the long Madam Why), marching briskly from big band jazz (The Missing C Limbless Percussion Just Could not Dance), without ever losing sight of a certain elegance (The Supremacy Of Eventual Reason) and a fascinating contemplative lyricism (the slow contraction of the final Maybe Another Time).


    Michael Vlatkovich, Ron Miles, Wade Sanders, Mark Harris, Glenn Nitta, Kent Mclagen, Chris Lee.


    A multitude of horns and a rhythm section.

    A beautiful postcard from the West Coast’s most creative.

    September 2, 2015, Marco Carcasi, Translation:  Google/cmb


    Michael Vlatkovich Septet – ASK 7:  This is definitely a different dynamic that Michael has goin’ on with this release… the player list (alone) is humongous!  I’ve been reviewing his music for a long time, with the latest being in issue # 153; this release is the closest I’ve heard him to “big band”, though his trombone pierces through his arrangements on tunes like the splendid opener, “Mementos“… this one is also an excellent recording, easily accessible by the more “normal” jazz listener or the rabid improvised fan of jazz – lol.  The bouncy energy on “Supremacy of Reason” will capture your aural fancy & hold right on for the full 5:01; I just loved the lead sax lines on this one, too!  It was the stilted marching-band, and smooth/rapid changes of “Chair Red Blue Medley” that got my vote for personal favorite of the seven compositions offered up, though… I give Michael & his crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this great release.

    Rotcod Zzaj


    And one more, for now, from Mr. Vlakovich …

    The instrumental textures offered by the Michael Vlatkovich Septet are simply gorgeous on Ask 7. Stellar cornetist Ron Miles and Wade Sander’s bass trombone joins Vlatkovich’’s trombone in the brass section. The reed contingent is Glenn Nitta on tenor sax and Mark Harris on alto and clarinets, with the reliable swing of bassist Kent McLagen and drummer Chris Lee underneath. All the compositions, and presumably the sumptuous charts, are by Vlatkovich, who successfully balances dramatic tension, a sly wit, and the wild card of unpredictability in his writing. Note that the line-up omits a chordal instrument, leading to an exceptional sense of openness in the music. Vlatkovich has been carving his own path on the improvised music scene for many decades, recording frequently as a leader in a wide variety of settings since his 1981 debut, primarily for his own Thank You imprint and the California label pfMENTUM. I’ve been a fan since I first heard him in the Rich Halley 4, where I was impressed by the startling turns of his solos and his command of tones from smooth to growling. With this septet, in addition to some fantastic solo work like Ron Miles’ bluesy passage on madam why and Vlatkovich’s broadly phrased solo on missing C the limbless percussion just couldn’t dance, much of the attraction here lies in the full ensemble negotiating Vlatkovich’s always tricky structures. Simply put, the music on Ask 7 will keep you guessing at what’s coming around the next corner, it will make you happy when it gets there, and when it gets to the end of 53 minutes worth, you might want to start again from the beginning to hear what you missed the last time around. Big fun from Mr. Vlatkovich, as always, and heartily recommended.

    pfMENTUM CD089; Ron Miles (cnt) Michael Vlatkovich (tb) Wade Sander (b tb) Mark Harris (as, cl, bcl) Glenn Nitta (ts) Kent McLagen (b) Chris Lee (d); Denver, CO, June 9, 2014; innumerable mementoes of the distant ought-to-be forgotten but dishearteningly omnipresent never-to-be forgotten past/ madam why/ 1 ¾ southeast 593,212 avenue apartment zz ask for 7/ missing C the limbless percussion just couldn’t dance/ chair red blue medley/ the eventual supremacy of reason/ maybe another time; 53:09.

    Stuart Kremsky



    I like jazz, but I like music better. That is, I prefer good music to any particular idea of music. And I think Michael Vlatkovich is of the same mind.


    He's a trombonist, which is the greatest jazz instrument in my book. Sure, that's a weird personal bias; though trombone is not among the many instruments I have attempted to play. I just really like the sound of trombone in jazz. Delfeayo Marsalis's first album, Pontius Pilate's Decision, is one of my favorites. But I like Vlatkovich's work better. He isn't afraid to range. And he's not afraid to let his compadres shine. All the greats give space to their sides, and Vlatkovich gives ample space to the other horns in his outfit. The bass and percussion can be a bit more rote, I guess, but the horns do shine.


    This is a more contemplative set than the last album I reviewed. But this is also a completely different set. The horns have a direct dialogue with the listener, which is the great treat of a bigger jazz band. When things work, it seems like one is hanging with the crew.


    Vlatkovich isn't afraid of missteps. That's why his albums are always intriguing. They might not quite hit the mark--not a problem here--but they are always worth a listen or ten. There are those who would like jazz to be some hidebound enterprise. Vlatkovich is making sure it isn't.

    Reviewed 4/13/15 Jon Worley




  • ART



    CD089 DISC

BEST OF 2015

KALX 90.7FM Berkeley

Michael Vlatkovich Septet - Ask 7

BEST OF 2015

  • elasticity

    CD087  (2013)

    Available in CD format in envelope.


    TRACK 01

    Track 1

    Poem 1




    CD087 (CD) (2013)



    The people in the front are going to have a good time.

    The people in the back are going to have a good time too.


    Mark Weber – poetry

    Michael Vlatkovich – trombone / compositions

    with Ion Zoo:

    Carol Sawyer – voice

    Steve Bagnell – tenor sax / bass clarinet

    Lisa Miller – piano

    Clyde –bass


    “elasticity” (pfMENTUM CD087) is not just another case of poetry & music.  Not when the poet MARK WEBER and the trombonist & composer MICHAEL VLATKOVICH are the prime movers.


    The poet from Albuquerque recited lines such as:


    the ancient lizards

    licking ants on the embankment cutting across

    our backyard in this suburb, the atomic

    energy subdivision, the neutron and

    electrons and proton swirling around my

    tin can lids


    with sensitive timbre...


    And then there is the music.  Vlatkovich offered up his trombone while Ion Zoo materialized musically.  Ion Zoo is a collaboration based in Vancouver with the soprano Carol Sawyer, Steve Bagnell on tenor Ivan & bass clarinet, Lisa Miller on piano and Clyde Reed on bass. This allowed a wide range of expression and many unique voices all working off of Weber's poetry. Sawyer is no murmurer, she contributes her jazzy artistry with Bel Canto tendency and lots of vibrato. This modernist bitchiness can revive life, as modernism combines art with cool Jazzcats:


    how the termites chew

    on our houses, our bones,

    our memories, chewing up

    the shadows of Cezanne it table


    as effortlessly as Cage's "Sonatas and Interludes", or a favorite LP by Stockhausen, Charlie Parker solos, a novel by Dostoevsky... perhaps this represents the last poetry that matters. 'Poem 15' comes last as a blatant freakout. Weber describes with self-irony, his over-intense take on yoga:


    I looked like one of the devil has chosen

    This quest for sacred inner peace

    cartwheels in all directions


    And the music is quite equal to the image of just such a Yogi performing just such cartwheels.

    [BA 85 rbd]

    (Translation: Google, Bing and cmb freely.  I was unable to find the source.)


    The fusion of modern poetry and modern jazz can be filled with variables that can sometimes make for disappointing results. The poetry of course must be strong and recited with a certain panache; the music must fit into the picture without slavishly following the poetry, at least that is my take.

    All such things happen and happen well with the collaborative synergy between poet Mark Weber and trombonist-composer Michael Vlatkovich, on the album Elasticity (pfMentum 087).


    Weber writes prose-ish free verse that describes scenes from everyday life while also injecting poetic personal inner states and cosmic wanderings and speculations. There of course is no one particular form of poetry that is meant to go with jazz, just like there is no one form of jazz that should go with poetic recitation. The combination of Weber's poetry and Vlatkovich's music makes an excellent match.


    Vlatkovich on trombone joins together with the band he calls Ion Zoo. Carol Sawyer sings, Steve Bagnell wields the tenor sax and bass clarinet, Lisa Miller is on piano and Clyde Reed on the double bass. Much of the music is through composed with some free improv to be heard in the interstices. It works wonderfully well as music but also sets the varying moods of Mark Weber's poetic utterances.


    It is the meeting of two parallel worlds. Both music and poetry are not so much synchronized as they are two sides of a complete aesthetic statement.


    It is one of the more successful such meldings I have heard. That is a testament to all involved, but of course especially Weber and Vlatkovich. Don't miss this one, whether you are a lover of poetry and jazz combinations, a fan of Mark Weber's or Michael Vlatkovich's or both, or even if you just want something different. It's a good one!

    Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards at 6:13 AM


  • ART



    CD087 DISC

BEST OF 2015

BEST OF 2015

KALX 90.7FM Berkeley

Mark Weber & Michael Vlatkovich - Elasticity




Copyright © 2018 Michael Vlatkovich

Design by Chuck Britt