You just don't typically hear guitar-driven improvisations over songs such as "Swanee River" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Scheen" (a big hit for the Andrews Sisters in 1938) done in a swinging Gypsy style, at least not in 2006. You do now. A Tribute To Gypsy Music features the amazing playing of Austrian guitarist Harri Stojka, a flawless instrumentalist who can improvise over literally anything. Stojka almost single-handedly breathes new life into a collection of standards and covers that you'll never 'hear' the same way again. Proving that the "deeply engrained gypsy musicality and the spirit of jazz could merge in an exciting, explosive and deeply touching mixture" is the overriding mission in the music of Stojka. The type of music found on A Tribute To Gypsy Music is not his only iron in the fire - he also lends his abilities to other projects ranging from mainstream to fusion and experimental jazz. Highly recommended. Harri Stojka was originally profiled in the August-September, 2006 edition of The Undiscovered.
In 1963, at the age of 6, Vienna-born Harri started to play the guitar. His professional career began in 1970 when he played at the "Arena" in Vienna as a member of the band Jano + Harri Stojka. Then, young Harri became a bass player for Karl Ratzer's "Gypsy Love", followed by a stint as a guitarist for Peter Wolf's "Objective Truth Orchestra". When the band split, he founded the first "Harri Stojka Express" in 1973.
In 1981, "Harri Stojka Express" was the only Austrian band to join Jimmy Cliff, Eric Burdon, Van Morrison and Carlos Santana at the Open Air Festival in Vienna 's Prater Stadion. Shortly afterwards, Harri Stojka was invited to appear at the Guitar Summit in Montreux, the Mecca of jazz musicians, where he played with the likes of Larry Coryell, Birelli Lagrene and Harri Pepl. His appearance before a very critical expert audience was a great success and earned him praise and recognition from world-class musicians and colleagues.
In fact, the LP "Live at Montreux" recorded on that occasion is an impressive document of the event, which was certainly a key point in Stojka's career. From then on, he was considered one of the most renowned Austrian jazz musicians.
Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services
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