Hristo Vitchev

Hristo Vitchev, a composer and modern jazz guitarist from Sofia, Bulgaria, now resides in San Francisco. He leads his quartet of modern jazz musicians that includes Joe De Rose (drummer extraordinaire), Weber Iago (pianist), and Dan Robbins (bassist). Hristo has performed in guitar clinics across Europe and Japan, as well as toured the country and internationally with many different formations. Hristo has composed more than 270 original compositions and articles on jazz improvisation. He also wrote Between the Voicings, a book on choral construction and theory entitled Chord Building for Guitarists: A New Approach. The 2009 debut album by the Hristo Vitchev Quartet, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music), received excellent reviews from the international jazz community. It was also selected by E-JAZZ NEWS as one of six best jazz albums in 2009. Edward Blanco, a jazz critic, says that Vitchev is the new guitarist to join the national jazz scene. He does this with a stunning recording in Song for Messambria. It’s one of the best debut albums I have had the pleasure to review this year. It features a unique mix of ECM-style jazz, classical and Brazilian tones textures. The record also showcases each member’s unique and masterful interpretations of jazz idiom. Hristo Vitchev’s second album, featuring Weber Iago, a Latin Grammy nominee, was released in late 2009. The Secrets of an Angel features an impressionistic landscape created by the graceful and charming conversation between the guitar/piano. Brad Walseth, jazz critic, describes it as “On the heels of Song for Messambria’s debut album, guitarist Hristo Vitchev and pianist Weber Iago return for a wonderful guitar/piano duo recording – The Secrets of an Angel…while title track shimmers like an iceberg on cold sea.” The charming two-part “The Last Pirate” is a highlight. It showcases Vitchev’s romantic bent brilliantly. The nostalgic lullaby, “Leka Nosht (“Good Night”)”, recalls a distant youth and completes this fine release. Hristo Vitchev composed a large-scale jazz piece (The Perperikon Suite), in 2010 for the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival. This seven-movement jazz suite was inspired by Perperikon, an ancient Thracian town on Perperikon, which is located on the territory in Bulgaria. It combines orchestral and classical elements with jazz and fusion elements to reflect the mystery and history of this enchanting location. This record, Hristo Vitchev’s third album, was released in February 2011. It is his most sophisticated and adventurous work to date. For the recording of this project the Hristo Vitchev Quartet will be joined by virtuoso vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist Christian Tamburr. Bruce Lindsay, a jazz critic, describes the music as “beautiful”: It captures images of a city that is alive and full of activity. It is a stunning creation, the Perperikon Suite. Each tune is exquisitely crafted. The entire Suite is equally beautiful. Vitchev’s performance and response to the ancient city are remarkable. Michael Bailey, jazz critic, describes the suite as “a lot of time motifs being used throughout.” To hold the musical garment, a coat of many colours, together, tick-tock ascending or descending figures act as threads through cloth. Vitchev is able to achieve this effect without any apparent changes in his guitar tone or approach. Vitchev’s magic is achieved by simply changing the time signatures. Perperikon Suite is a soft-spoken, brainy piece of music that transcends the norm. Jazz critic Dan Bilawsky says, “Shimmering harmonys echo throughout these modern jazz marvels. And the soloists work through this accessible, exciting music with equal amounts of taste, technique, and spirit. Vitchev’s pieces have many signpost sonorities, ideas and themes that reappear in every song. This creates a sense continuity and thematic stability that surrounds individual soloists. Although the group is able to establish its own aural identity that runs through the entire album, each movement has its own strengths and unique sonic footprint. The Perperikon Suite is a story of two cities. It eventually occupies its own wonderful world within its jazz borders. Brad Walseth, a jazz critic, says that the new songs are Vitchev’s strongest yet. Tamburr adds an extra dimension to the music. Vitchev continues to amaze listeners with his unique blend of jazz and Eastern European influences, both in his songwriting and playing. Instead of going to the famous site, listeners are encouraged to go on a musical journey through Vitchev’s eyes and share the experience with them through his musical presentation. Jazz critic Ed Blanco says that Hristo Vitchev and his inspiring quintet offer an entirely new experience on The Perperikon Suite. It is an album that is easy to listen to, creative, and enjoyable to spin. Hristo Vitchev is a leader of his quartet, quintet and duo with Weber Iago. He also plays guitar with Joe De Rose, Amici, a jazz/fusion band led by Joe De Rose. Their debut album, Sounds for the Soul (First Orbit Sounds Music), was released in January 2010. It is already receiving critical acclaim internationally. Hristo Vitchev has been featured on numerous radio programs, including KRML, KCSM, and KKUP in the Bay Area, as well as Jazz FM 104, Sofia, Bulgaria. Hristo has performed at world-class jazz venues, festivals, including Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, CA, Anthology in San Diego, CA, and The Herbst Theater San Francisco, CA, as well as major jazz festivals such as the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA, 2009, and 2010.

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