Slovenian-born drummer Zlatko Kaucic who has made numerous musical contributions to dance, TV shows, films, poetry, and documentaries and collaborated with several jazz composers like Paul Stocker, John Lewis, Tete Montoliu, Paul Bley, Steve Lacy, Paul McCandless, and many others, has delivered a very private musical experience with his album Pav. Entirely composed, arranged, and performed by Kaucic, he writes in the liner notes “This album is dedicated to my dear friend Zmago Sfiligoj who died in 1998 at the age of only 40. A native of Goriska, Brda (in Slovenia) like myself, he was a man of extraordinary creative power, a brilliant sculptor and designer whose work also shared the intensity, diversity and wholeness of the peacock’s tail.” Hence, the image of a full feathered peacock shown on the cover of the album.
Kaucic’s musical journal begins with the track “Skoplje” . The pageantry of odd-timed tribal drumbeats and exotic Middle Eastern toned flutes are set afloat. The mild changes in the pitch and velocity of the instruments pageantry are graphed with an eclectic free-style penmanship. Kaucic has a way of going into a meditative state which allows him to make contact with his inner ear that tells him how to shape the sounds so as to create the image of the story he wishes to tell. “Skoplje” simulates the interchanges between woodwind and percussive instruments. The music is not strung by a melody but rather from the intercourse of two components coming into contact with each other. Kaucic’s vocals can also be heard in the background as if chanting with a spiritual intonation.
“Rojstvo Anje” projects an image of nature in motion. Kaucic reveals, “’Rojstvo Anje’ is a birth of my cousin and the ‘jungle’ sound represents growth inside the belly. Kaucic insists that he did not compose these pieces to create ambience but it is uncanny how his compositions can create stories that are personalized for each listener. For him, the pieces are reflective of his friend Zmago Sfiligoj and his experiences in Slovenia. But to the listener, they are pieces that simulate their own lives, like the song “Solitude.” The crystalline chimes have a gentle flow like a fairytale’s lullaby. The movements become more upbeat through the progressions and develop more full bodied sounds. The notes are sunny and shimmer with bright tones. Streaming together, they become a light show of exotic dances and then taper down back to a gentle flowing lullaby pace.
Some of the swirling whistles have a Polka phrasing like in “Home Land,” you get many Far-Eastern and Middle-Eastern aspects in the estuaries of his compositions like the somber drum rolls of “Macau Dream,” the sprinkle of wind chimes on “Dissonant Sisters,” and the exotic drumbeats of “Bohinjski Kravji Bal” which build anticipation and suspense as the drum rolls rise and then plateau with a series of jangly woodwind instruments coming on board. Kaucic’s vocal mood is melancholic and has a spiritual voicing like on the track “Scatenato Irlandese.” There is a country twang in the cymbal spreads on “Metal Rap” reflective of country dances, while the changes in the drum configurations for “Drum Metamorphosis” and “Vencek Rocnih” clack, simmer, scat, squawk, and chill along each successive bar of notes.
Zlatko Kaucic’s solo album Pav is an emporium of sounds and eclectic phrases as he changes their degrees of elegance and rashness and creates interplays that project images in the listener’s minds. The images will be unique to each listener which is something that free jazz allows the composer to do. For Kaucic, these orchestrations being to him images from his life. For the listener, the sounds will bring to them images which are familiar in their lives. In this way, Kaucicambiance’s compositions are a Mirror of Erised where each listener will hear what’s in their heart’s desire vaporizing from its ambient channels. - Jazz Review