Saxophonist, flutist, vocalist and composer Jasna Jovicevic originally hails from Serbia. She earned a BA in Jazz Saxophone from the Franc Liszt Music Academy in Budapest and a MA in Composition from York University in Toronto. She has participated in Artist in Residence programs in New York and San Francisco. Awards include the 1st Prize at the International Ethno Music Competition in Milan, Italy and a 3rd Prize for Best Jazz Composition by the Hungarian Jazz Federation. Among the artists she has worked with include Al DiMeola, Chico Freeman, Cecil Bridgewater and Billy Harper. Invented Reality is her debut disc and partly funded by The Serbian Ministry of Diaspora.
The wide varieties of the 12 self-penned eclectic compositions are based on her traditional Balkan roots. Four of the pieces, Suite "The Journey," are for a string quartet along with Jovicevic’s saxophones, wooden flute or voice. When the strings play alone the emphasis is in no way jazz and are obviously Western European classically influenced with their contribution being one of modal harmonies and, at times, folk-inspired sounds. When Jovicevic joins them on saxophone at the end of the first movement, we hear a unique blending of her signature swirling sounds and the beautiful way it mixes with the string soundscape she has created. The second movement is obviously very folk influenced and her flute adds a depth of meaning the human voice can never match. The pizzicatos of the third movement serve as a lovely contrast to the preceding movements, and the avant-garde nature of the last movement is a fitting and well planned ending to a serious composition that deserves to be seriously considered for addition into the world’s string quartet repertoire.
On the eight other more traditionally jazz oriented tracks Jovicevic is joined by the rest of the members of her quartet. Toronto based bassist Rich Brown has worked with James "Blood" Ulmer and Steve Coleman and the 5 Elements. He is a rock solid presence throughout which everyone in the ensemble plays off of. Hungarian pianist Robi Botos’ harmonic language closely matches that of Jovicevic. Together the two make a fine match that easily find ways to intermingle their shared harmonic concepts into a unified whole. York University teacher Anthony Michelli, on drums, has a light touch that complements Jovicevic’s own feathery sound.
As a saxophonist Jovicevic has a light and feathery sound that swirls more than delineates line. Her penchant, in her improvisations, is for diminished-scale usage which she sometimes reduces to is for pentatonic scales self-derived from the diminished scales. Not a flame-thrower type of player, she is, however well skilled with her ensemble creates lovely and moving musical artwork. "The City Of You," is a perfect example of the type of jazz she creates. This medium up-tempo composition is gives her rhythmic and harmonic freedom in the solo section that none-the-less maintains the integrity of the delightfully quirky melody. Her ensemble is locked in tight with her during her travels, and the result is one of friends playing introspective, and at times melancholy, music that leaves the listener wanting more. She truly deserves to be heard in a wider context.