Martin Lubenov's Jazzta Prasta (Austria):
Martin Lubenov – accordion
„Jasta prasta“ is a Bulgarian slang expression and means “confusion, hubbub, everything upside down”. Behind this auto ironic title one finds one of the most original Balkan jazz groups of today. Jazzta Prasta – only absolute professionals can name their project like this, knowing that each composition, each sentence is perfectly elaborated, but due to their joy of playing and improvisation skills appear as if done offhand.
In the context of Balkan jazz, Jazzta Prasta stands out for their easy optimism, smart humour, infantile-frisky juggling and dropping and then, in the last moment, catching again the Balkan pathos and melos. Their technical brilliance, vibrant compositions and unorthodox arrangements keep capturing the audiences.
In their music Jazzta Prasta fuse old South-East-European traditions, music of the Roma living in the southern part of the Balkans, ideas of the broad fund of swing and modern jazz, tango nuevo, salsa, Parisian musette, and elements of Greek and Turkish music.
In 2005, Jazzta Prasta won the Austrian World Music Award.
Martin Lubenov, dubbed the king of Balkan swing, was born in Sofia (Bulgaria). He studied classical music and jazz in Bulgaria and Austria.
In 2001, the accordionist moved to Vienna in order to study and soon became a link between the music of Yugoslav and Macedonian communities and the Austrian folk and world music scene. Fast his talent got around and numerous musicians and bands invited him to collaborate, including the Wiener Tschuschenkapelle or Sandy Lopičić Orkestar. In addition to this, he has been a member of the Jony Iliev Band in Bulgaria.
Before long, the accordion virtuoso has found his niche, which he has topped up working with Jazzta Prasta and Martin Lubenov Orkestar, playing ethno music with jazz elements. The latter collective has been enjoying success from its very formation in 2003.
In 2006, Lubenov was awarded the prestigious French “Prix Gus Viseur”. In 2008, he realized joint projects together with Austrian saxophonist Wolfgang Puschnig and some important names of the international accordion scene such as Richard Galliano (France), Renato Borghetti (Brazil) and Danças Ocultas (Portugal). The Bulgarian documentary Jazzta Prasta on his life and career between Sofia and Vienna was presented at the International Sofia Film Festival in March 2009 and at the Womex film market in October 2009.
Serbian guitarist Aleksandar Stojić is irreplaceable in projects saturated with Balkan wit. Among other groups he also plays in Martin Lubenov Orkestar, and Quartet of Edin Bosnić, one of the leading Bosnian jazz keyboardists.
Stefan Thaler was born in Wolfsberg (Austria). He studied jazz double bass in Klagenfurt Conservatory and the Royal Conservatory The Hague. The double bassist took part in master classes led by Marc Johnson, György Ligeti, John Patitucci and Avishai Cohen.
In 1994, as a member of Klaus Paier project he won Casteldidardo Competition (Italy), and in 2000 earned second prize with Caroline de Rooij Group in Hilversum Competition (the Netherlands).
Since 2000, he has resided and worked in Vienna as a freelance musician, composer and producer. Thaler composes and arranges for his Elektronikaprojekt thaBoom, Caroline de Rooij Group, Voxon, Radio Agora, Oktet Suha and other groups, plays in Vienna Art Ensemble.
The musician collaborated with Richard Galliano, Wolfgang Puschnig, Klaus Paier, Karlheinz Miklin, Roland Neuwirth, Barry Harris, Andrea Bocelli, Peter Kraus, Fred Schreiber, toured in the USA, Portugal, France, Spain, England, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Pakistan, Turkey among other countries.
Harald Tanschek was born in Graz (Austria). He studied classical guitar and began to play drums at the age fifteen. He got his first drum lesson at the age nineteen and was admitted to the jazz department of the University of Music in Graz. After graduating from the Jazzacademy in Graz he continued his education in Berklee College of Music in Boston (USA).