One of the most versatile, skilled, and curious musicians in Chicago, guitarist Goran Ivanovic has built a career built upon exploration.
Born and raised in Osijek – Croatia, he was in the midst of studying at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria with masters like Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch when his parents (his father is a Serb, his mother a Bosnian Croat) were expelled in the late 90s; the family was granted asylum in the US and they settled in Chicago.
Since his arrival he’s displayed a deep interest in collaboration, steadily expanding his stylistic range well beyond the European classical music and Balkan sounds he was fluently versed in when he arrived. These days his repertoire not only incorporates those disciplines, but jazz and flamenco as well.
He’s recorded duet albums with the great Pakistani-Chilean jazz guitarist Fareed Haque as well as Greek-American musician Andreas Kapsalis. He’s a key member of the quartet Eastern Blok with Matt Ulery, Doug Rosenberg, and Michael Caskey, a combo that deftly surveys the folk music of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia in a distinctly jazz-oriented context, embroidering timeless Balkan melodies and rhythms with sophisticated improvisational gambits.
Most recently, Goran released an eponymous trio album with bassist Ulery and percussionist Pete Tashjian where he’s achieved a stunning assimilation of his many influences, creating a hybrid all his own. Reviewing the new album for All About Jazz, Budd Kopman wrote, “It is easy to get lost in Ivanovic’s technique, especially if one plays (or attempts to play) Classical style guitar, in a jazz style or not.”
The trio’s agility has also been noted. As Jeff Elbel wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, “The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages.”
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This is just one example we picked as it mentioned another EuroCircle member Ian Maksin.
October 21, 2016 Jeff Elbel
Chicago-based guitarist Goran Ivanovic has shared the stage with boundary-pushing local artists including current Claudettes’ drummer Michael Caskey in the pair’s former group Eastern Blok, as well as classical and jazz master Fareed Haque and renowned cellist Ian Maksin. The Croatian native’s stirring style incorporates jazz, traditional Balkan, flamenco and classical styles.
Ivanovic’s rich discography is often signified by “Seven Boats,” a powerful collaboration with Haque released in 2004 that made a strong impression with its unusual fusion of classical, jazz and world music influences. The title track was reprised on an eponymous 2005 release by the Goran Ivanovic Group. Other key collaborations included 2009’s duo album with innovative Greek-American Chicago-based fingerstyle guitarist Andreas Kapsalis.
Currently, Ivanovic is celebrating the debut release by his Goran Ivanovic Trio with bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Pete Tashjian. The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages including those at City Winery and the Whistler. The trio’s upcoming show is a return visit to Jazz Showcase.
The trio’s new album features concert highlights like the spirited roots-music influence of “Alvorada Americana,” in which Ivanovic tumbles through lilting arpeggios and chiming harmonics on his nylon-string guitar before the rhythm joins him in crashing acoustic rock. The moody and haunting “Patient Zero” creates a disquieted but compelling mood. “Querido Paco” pays homage to flamenco giant Paco De Lucia.
Maksin joins the trio for the undulating “Maurice’s Ragtime,” a beautifully impressionistic piece honoring French composer Maurice Ravel with its intoxicating and sublime atmosphere. If it’s not in the set list at Jazz Showcase when Maksin shares the bill with Ivanovic, patrons should demand it as an encore.”