Big Band GveriLLaz (SVN)

Sudnay July 21st, 2024 - 14:30 - Main Stage

Big Band GveriLLaz was founded on 1 January 2014. The group consists of 18 young professional musicians. The intent of the group is to devise and execute conceptual music projects, combining topmost works written by the giants of contemporary and modern jazz music with original compositions written by the band members. The group’s name refers to the word ‘guerrilla’ which for the band members symbolises courage and independent spirit.

Big Band GveriLazz’s first project consisted of compositions written by Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer and Michael Brecker. The first band conductor was the co-founder Dano Ličen. David Jarh took up the challenge, and in the meantime Dano Ličen fully dedicated himself to managing of the band. David Jarh and Goran Krmac led Big Band GveriLLaz through their first important concerts while being at the same time also members of the group’s instrumental section.

In 2015 Big Band GveriLLaz was engaged in mastering the music of Frank Zappa. Peter Ugrin, one of the most prominent jazz violinists in Europe today, agreed to become the conductor of the newly devised music project. In 2018 Big Band GveriLLaz took the first prize at IBBC International Big Band Competition in Corendon, Netherlands. The band was awarded with the first prize in Top Class category. Today Big Band GveriLLaz is a unique group which ambitiously allows the audience to enjoy topmost works that modern and contemporary jazz composers have to offer.

American contemporary composer and saxophonist Edward Palermo contributed to some of the compositions of Frank Zappa music project. About one third of the band’s repertoire was written by the Swedish jazz guitarist Patrik Ehrnborg. They convey melancholy and complexity of the Scandinavian character. Other compositions were written for Big Band GveriLLaz’s by its Music Director Peter Ugrin, pianist Anže Vrabec and guitarist Marko Čepak.

Critics comment on the Big Band GveriLLaz’s Frank Zappa project:

"Big Band GveriLLaz's new music project is extraordinarily diverse. One can enjoy swing, funk, latin rhythms and softly performed ballads which goes contrary to average age of group's members. Not only does the group shine freshness and positive energy, they have also mastered the subtle tricks of dynamics." (Tina Lesničar, DELO)

"The group's sound is mighty and dynamically balanced. They play with unbelievable passion, making an impression of a long-running, mature music ensemble." (Tomaž Gržeta, ODZVEN)

"Big Band GveriLLaz's Frank Zappa project is ambitiously devised. The group upgrades and modernizes the tradition of the big band ensembles using lively rock input." (Darinko Kores Jacks, VEČER)

Festival organizers comment on Big Band GveriLLaz as a whole:

"20th Jazz Cerkno opening night premiered Big Band GveriLLaz's Frank Zappa project. I can still remember Peter Ugrin's (group's conductor) solos. Audience was very pleased with the concert and had no problem showing it from the start. I must say that the organization of this particular group is exceptionally professional." (Simon Kenda, JAZZ CERKNO)

"Big Band GveriLLaz's execution of the Frank Zappa project lived up to the group's reputation. Peter Ugrin conducted with confidence, leading the group into nuances I had not expected to hear from such a "young" ensemble. It is safe to say that the guerrilla group surprised me very much; positively." (Gregor Grašič, JAZZ KAMP KRANJ)

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