23/11/2022New York's Slavo Rican Assembly Unveils Rapturous Debut Full-Length On Riverboat Records

It's great we have this term 'jazz' to categorise what we have trouble putting into words and yet, the NYC-based Slavo Rican Assembly evades said pigeonholing, taking its dazzling compositions to new dimensions on "Intercosmic". The group's rapturous debut full-length on Riverboat Records is an extraordinary blend of temporality, in that it successfully channels ancestral voices to create a tantalizing and no doubt contemporary melting pot of sound. Led by pioneering Slovenian saxophonist/composter Jan Kus, the seven-piece outfit "unites [the latter's] extensive experience from the NYC Latin jazz scene with his traditional South Slavic roots."

What started as "a joke about Jan becoming 'Puerto Rican by osmosis' and the group's bassist Dan Martínez becoming 'Slavic by osmosis' because of the musicians they regularly performed with" actually began to take on a life of its own. As Jan puts it, "the focus of Slavo Rican Assembly is the exploration of the similarities and differences between the music of the Puerto Rican (and wider speaking Caribbean) and South Slavic cultures, merging the two into a cohesive, brand-new sound.” The resulting nine tracks, however, are more than just the simple mix and match of two distinct musical cultures. 

"Intercosmic" reveals a certain "emotional charge and spiritual depth that these musical traditions both possess,” Jan Kus explains, paired with the audible musicianship and experience of the artists in play, like strapping a jetpack to tradition and settling in for the ride. Slavo Rican Assembly includes guitarist Gabriel Vicéns and percussionist Victor Pablo, Slovenian drummer Žan Tetičkovič and Serbian vocalist Aleksandra Denda as well as prodigious Cuban pianist, Ahmed Alom. We had already added their sublime reinterpretation of "Vo naše selo" – a folk song from Prizrenska Gora performed in collaboration with the ROSA Vocal Group – to our "Greedio X September '22" Spotify selection, but couldn't resist adding the full album to our editorial catalogue, which you can now stream below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom