Who was the kid on vibes?

During Festival Bled,  I have listened to and enjoyed more chamber music than I guess I have ever heard performed in concert before. It has been a really memorable experience, filled with learning and surprise and challenge and joy. I mentioned this in passing to the Director of Festival Bled and he asked “Too much?” No – not too much. 


Tonight, though, was different.

Who was that kid on vibes?

You’ve heard the term a “scratch band” – a group of jobbing musicians brought together for a gig or short tour. But this was no ordinary gig, no ordinary band. Janez Gabric teaches  jazz drums at Conservatory for Music and Dance in Ljubljana – he is also drummer with Slovenian band Laibach. Igor Matkovič, Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Conservatory. Guitarist Jani Moder has studied with among others Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Nikola Matošić plays double bass and has a massive reputation in Slovenia and particularly Ljubljana where he organises Monday Jam. And finally pianist Milan Stanisavljevic from Serbia and one of Slovenia’s leading jazz musicians.


So, no ordinary band – something of a supergroup to use that 1960s/1970s word. And no ordinary gig.

But who was the kid on the vibes?


Together they were the mentors/tutors for a group of around 12 young musicians in a rock/jazz/ethno workshop. While during Festival there were master classes in violin, viola, singing, and other instruments, this is the first time there were workshops in jazz/rock/ethno. The students had not met before this week, they are all just beginning their musical careers and advanced studies. So they are all around 18 or 19 years old.

We were in the Belvedere Pavilion (sometimes known as Tito’s tearoom). It is small – I counted 72 seats. Intimate. My favoured place is the second row – but close enough to stand up at the end of the night and shake hands with the band.


The plan Jani Moder told us, was for the band to play most of the evening. But when they started working with the young musicians they decided to play only four numbers and let the young ones do the rest. Frankly a good decision. I was there to see the established musicians, but having watched the young ones, I can’t disagree. The older guys filled in depending on the line-ups required. One violin, two or three guitars, three or four horns, a couple of keyboards at least one drummer. And some kid on vibes. 


The first part of the concert stuck to the programme. But this is jazz … so after the break when the running order became something that had been thought of at some other time and really was not that important any more.So back after the break, and there was this kid on vibes …

If writing about music is like dancing about architecture … then let’s tell the story of last night in photos.

I would love to share the music with you. maybe this is something the Festival could consider for the future. Recording performances = especially with younger musicians – is fraught with difficulties – not the least copyright. But an event like this would benefit from a soundtrack.  

Festival Bled ends Thursday night with CELLO ATTACCA! – details here

Festival Bled website 

So here are the pics.