What he gave me was this dub of a dub of famed Serbian trumpeter Svetozar Lazović
|Found the original eventually|
Then just this week I find this amazing live recording from Amsterdam in 1989 where they are pretty much playing down the same tunes as was on my battered cassette (which I passed along to the next soon to be fan.) There's the Eastern Orthodox hymn at the start into the standard showpiece "Ciocarlia." Next jumping into a set of the lively "kolos" that earned him and his band several "Golden Trumpet" awards at the prestigious Guca Festival, basically a mark of the best in all Serbia. And unlike many of the bands popular with Western fans, Lazović is just playing the standard ethnically Serbian material, devoid of the sexy "coceks" of the Rromani bands. This live recording captures what I've been told is the standard of their form, in it's best presentation. Along with the awesome sound the brass is making, I've always been taken by the strong clear vocals, by who I am not sure, with the rest of the band in full chorus behind him. Of note towards the end of the concert is a tune called "Mesciccina," Not the highly stylized version made famous by soundtrack producer Goran Bregovic, but he original and much much different.
|Note the traditional garb|
By soaking in these tunes for literally years, I was in a good position to join the famed Boban Markovic Band onstage as second bass tuba when Frank London's Klezmer Brass All Stars toured with them. It came in REALLY handy when we played in Chicago and were met with a huge audience of Serbian ex-pats who weren't really interested in the Rromani tunes and Boban played an hour long set of kolos for the drunken Serbs (who threw literally thousands of one dollar bills at us as the danced around the hall.) I tag teamed the tuba with my teacher Sascha Alisinov, tapping in and out when we each needed a break.
If anyone wants to embark on the rough journey of imitating Rromani Brass traditions, I'd humbly recommend to start here and master the Serbian form, which is the basis to the more lively and sexy Rromani bands like Boban. I posit it would be like trying to learn Black American music as starting at Ornette Coleman, ignoring Ellington and Charley Patton, devoid of the context in which the music was created and how it lives as an expanding and progressive tradition to the community who regards it as it's own soundtrack. It's a vibrant tradition carried on today by Lazović's son Dragan and Boban's son Marko. What they do today would make little sense if you hadn't understood where they came from and what it's function is. Well, that's my opinion for what its worth. You're welcome to do as you like, ultimately.
For reference, American Serbs dancing the kolo: