Kaja Draksler (Slovenia):
Kaja Draksler - p
Kaja Draksler, born in 1987, is an outstanding young Slovenian jazz pianist and composer. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in jazz piano at Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, The Netherlands, and is continuing her Masters in composition in Amsterdam, focusing her classical composition Master's thesis on the legendary pianist Cecil Taylor. Her research examines structure within free improvisation.
In 2008 she was spending a semester at Purchase Collage in New York, studying jazz piano. In 2005 she finished High School for Music in Ljubljana (jazz departement) and Diocesan Classical Gymnasium Ljubljana.
In 2012 she performed her first solo piano project on Jazz Festival Ljubljana, to be released with Clean Feed Records in 2013. In 2011 her Acropolis Quintet was chosen as one of the three best European groups for 12 Points! Plus program. In 2010 she premiered (as pianist and composer) her Concerto for Piano and Katarchestra entitled "Perseus". From September till December 2009 she was living in New York, studying privately with Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran. In November 2009 she released her third record as a leader with Acropolis Quartet and guest Sanem Kalfa- "Türkü". In April 2009 she won the prestigious Deloitte Jazz Award. Same year she was working with Vince Mendoza and Metropole Orchestra. In summer 2008 she released her second album "Akropola", presenting her original music with her quartet. Since 2007 she's been working with European Movement Jazz Orchestra (debut CD with Clean Feed Records out in 2011- "Live in Coimbra") for which she's been comissioned to write music. In 2007 she released her first CD with her group Katarchestra (presenting herself as composer and conductor). The same year she composed a Concerto for accordion and orchestra entitled Orpheus and Eurydice, recorded and performed by Janez Dovc and Slovenian Philharmony Orchestra. In the Netherlands her study has been supported by prestigious HSP Hyugens Scholarship.
She is the leader of Acropolis Quintet, the founder of BadBooshBand, as well as active member of European Movement Jazz Orchestra (EMJO) and Kasu. She's been commissioned to write for Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, EMJO, Looptail, Big Band RTV Slovenia, Italian Instabile Orchestra, Romana Krajncan, Jararaja, Janez Dovc and others. She has been performing in Slovenia, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Romania, The Netherlands, Croatia, Macedonia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Portugal, Estonia, Norway, Ireland, Egypt and USA.
"She delivered an impressive patchwork of classical and folk-infused miniatures, alternating with Cecil Taylor-esque percussive accelerations, competing left hand/right hand lines, and beautifully creative inside the piano passages, finishing with Thelonious Monk-like improvisation and a brief Bach encore."
“According to the jury, Draksler is a remarkable instrumentalist with a great sound spectrum. She inspired the rhythm section with her stimulating ideas and unusual time signatures in her original compositions and arrangements of Chopin and Monk.”