Fiery Balkan brass, irresistible beats, Roma accordion wizardry and great jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! America’s No. 1 brass band for Balkan-soul-gypsy-funk. This dynamic nine-piece brass/percussion ensemble is recognized for virtuosity blended with spontaneous fun.
At the Lakewood Cultural Center, Slavic Soul Party! reimagines Duke Ellington’s iconic “Far East Suite” by combining Eastern European brass with the uniquely American sound of jazz in what TimeOut NY calls “a pretty heavenly match.”
Ellington’s suite, created with Billy Strayhorn, was intended for a 1963 State Department “jazz diplomacy” tour. Although the tour was cut short, the funky and brilliant big-band music inspired Slavic Soul Party!’s most recent recording “SSP! Plays Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite,” blending Eastern European, Romani and American sounds. The sleight of hand that Slavic Soul Party! achieves with deft arrangements and strong Balkan playing is wonderfully disorienting. But where is this music from? Slavic Soul Party! has always had a complex answer to that question, enthusiastically tangling issues of originality, expression and identity. The group has performed everywhere from Serbian schoolyards, prison courtyards, Turkish palaces and Russian baths to the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Chicago Jazz Festival.