Slavic Soul Party!
Is it just us, or does every hipster musician want to be a Gypsy these days? Punk bands, DJs, indie rockers, hip-hoppers. By name, Slavic Soul Party's particular angle on the Balkan boogie craze is, well, soul. If you listen to their albums, however, you might think these New York hipsters were formerly in a funk band. The truth is that the members of SSP are a bunch of jazzers with very impressive resumes. Drummer Matt Moran has supported none other than the legendary Lionel Hampton, along with a host of experimental musicians. Trombonist Curtis Hasselbring has supported Bobby Previte and Tom Harrell. Clarinetist Chris Speed has played with Myra Melford and Dave Douglas. Accordionist Ted Reichman has accompanied Uri Caine. And cornetist Rossen Zahariev has gigs with John Medeski and Abbey Lincoln on his resume. Bulgarian-born Zahariev is actually SSP's closest connection to the folk music they play. After a string of gigs in Manhattan, the group took a trip to Macedonia, which resulted in their 2002 debut, In Makedonija, on the Knitting Factory's label. Two more albums followed on Barbes Records.