Multiple award-winning pianist Bojan Z (for Zulfikarpasic) was born in former Yugoslavia in 1968 and grew up in an environment where music was a widespread, daily activity.
Starting classical piano lessons at the age of 5, he found himself in the Belgrade rock scene as a youngster, obtained a scholarship at the age of 18 to study jazz with Clare Fischer in the US, to be awarded ‘Best Young Jazz Musician of Yugoslavia’ a few years later. At the age of 20 he left his hometown and settled in Paris, where he established himself as an inevitable element of the French jazz scene.
More than two decades later, he has an impressive record to his name. Apart from being a much sought-after sideman, collaborating with outstanding names like Henri Texier, Michel Portal and Julien Lourau, Z has made eight albums under his own name. Six of them were released on Label Bleu, covering a wide range of styles and formations. The first three, two quartets and his multi-ethnical project Koreni, resulted in Z’s status as the pioneer who brought Balkan influences into jazz. They were followed by his successful first solo album Solobsession and two trio albums on which he collaborated with contemporary jazz greats from the American scene.
His later works have been released on Emarcy/Universal, among which his acclaimed and award winning second piano solo album entitled Soul Shelter, released in February 2012, on which he plays both his beloved Fazioli piano and the customized fuzzy Fender Rhodes, also known as ‘xenophone’, that became one of his trademarks.
Recently Z also has been producing albums for other musicians, like Michel Portal’s Bailador (featuring Jack Dejohnette, Scott Colley and Ambrose Akinmusire) and Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin’s Amulette.
Z has a very personal sense of style, somehow always escaping classification. He harmoniously blends and twists his colourful musical baggage, ranging from his thorough classical music schooling, through Brazilian music and The Beatles to Balkan folklore, blues and jazz. Bojan Z, not afraid to wander off the beaten tracks, yet never losing his taste for melody and song form, definitely counts as one of the most remarkably individual talents of European jazz.