Branislav Lala Kovačev (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранислав „Лала“ Ковачев; November 19, 1939 in Kikinda, Serbia – September 2, 2012 in Hvar, Croatia) was a Yugoslavian-Serbian jazz musician, drummer, bandleader and composer. Widely considered a key figure in the history of Balkan Ethno jazz. As a leader of European Jazz Consensus, International Jazz Consensus and Lala Kovacev Group, he developed a distinguished fusion style by integrating complex rhythmic structures from Balkan folk music into jazz.
He showed interest in music at a young age, playing trumpet first and soon turning to drums. Largely self-taught, Lala Kovačev began his professional career as a member of the Dixieland Ensemble Dinamo when he was 17, and within two years he became the youngest member of the Radio Belgrade Jazz Orchestra led by Vojislav Simić. He moved to Germany in the mid-1960s and spent six years performing with Horst Jankowski internationally. From 1974 to 1975 he played with Max Greger in Munich and with the North German Radio Orchestra in Hanover. During this period he was collaborating with Chick Corea, Hans Koller, Albert Mangelsdorff, Wolfgang Dauner, Alan Skidmore, Boško Petrović, Michal Urbaniak, Duško Gojković and Benny Bailey.
In the early-1970s Kovačev formed European Jazz Consensus with Alan Skidmore, Gerd Dudek and Adelhard Roidinger. This avant-garde jazz group released two albums: Four for Slavia (1977) and Morning Rise (1977). International Jazz Consensus came as continuation of the first quartet and released one album Beak To Beak (1981) featuring Allan Praskin, Adelhard Roidinger and John Thomas. Lala Kovacev Group was created following year and released three albums: Balkan Impressions (1982), Balkan Impressions Vol.2 (1983) and Izvorni Folklor i Jazz (1985) (by wikipedia)
Is it possible to get tired of virtuoso flautist Chris Hinze? Not for me… here is an outing from 1976 featuring the amazing guitarist Sigi we have seen before, Eberhard Weber performing his customary ECM-style electric bass smooth melodiousness, and Lala Kovacev on percussion. Oddly enough most of the compositions are from Mladen Gunesha, with only the 5th track (sampled here below) by Hinze. The former is not a name familiar to me though I note he has a german wikipedia entry, he is clearly a european composer and arranger from former yugoslavia. (by an unknown person)
In other words: Another hightlight in this blog !
Recorded February 1976 at Studio Barbarossa Munich
Chris Hinze (flute)
Lala Kovacev (drums, percussion)
Sigi Schwab (guitar)
Eberhard Weber (bass)
01. Danielle (Kovacev) 5.50
02. Fatima (Kovacev) 7.05
03. Wide And Blue (Kovacev) 6.25
04. Tales From Nowhere (Kovacev) 10.30
05. Thanks For Being Being (Hinze) 5.05
06. Do It Nice For Me (Kovacev) 5.35
(November 19, 1939 in Kikinda, Serbia – September 2, 2012 in Hvar, Croatia)