Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet
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Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet

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The best kept secret in music


"Kruziki presents blend of tango and jazz"

Friday, October 14, 2005
By Matt Steel
Special to the Gazette

Multiculturalism is no longer a feature exclusive to the big cities
in this country. It is everywhere, especially in college towns like
Kalamazoo. So it should come as no surprise to see five very talented
music-school students come together to play not only American jazz
standards but music from South America and the Near East.

This was the case on Thursday night in the cozy confines of the
Kalamazoo Valley Museum Auditorium as the Kruziki Transatlantica
Quintet performed just such a concert. Originating at Western
Michigan University School of Music, the group is led by saxophonist
Aaron Kruziki, joined by his wife, vioinist Armenuhi Kruziki, and
pianist Dave Izard, percussionist/singer Mike Shimmin and newcomer,
bassist Andrew Kratzat, who is a senior at the University of Michigan
School of Music.

The composer most represented in the program was Argentinian-tango
master Astor Piazzolla. The Quintet opened with his ``Muerte del
Angel'' in an uptempo busy arrangement. This was followed by a tango
called ``Preparense.'' They tangoed yet again with Piazzolla's moody
``Vuelvo al Sur.'' And Aaron Kruziki paid his respects to the
composer in a work of his own called ``Hommage a Piazzolla.''

Shimmin sat behind a large drum set which he rarely used. Instead he
played mostly on Middle Eastern goblet drums and tambourine.

Aaron Kruziki performed masterfully on a number of different and
exotic woodwinds.

Armenuhi is a native of Armenia and undoubtedly is the influence
behind the Near Eastern repertoire. Her Armenian-inspired composition
``Masis'' is a tour de force that served as an appropriate closing

The piano playing of Izard is extremely tasteful. As an ensemble
player, he plays to the strengths of both the piece and his
colleagues. In improvised solos, he is quite creative and never seems
to indulge himself in pointless displays of technique and facility.
In several of the Near Eastern works, he played accordion.

It certainly appears that the Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet has the
potential to succeed in the difficult world of professional
musicians. Their curious mix of various repertoires makes them novel;
their talent makes them timeless.

-, MI


1. Tierrita (3:12)- Agustin Bardi, Jesus F. Blanco
2. Bride's Wedding (8:25)- trad. Balkan
3 . Ejmiadzin (10:13)- Aaron Kruziki
4. Longa Farahfaza (3:19)- Riad al Sunbati
5. Es Puchur, Yars Puchur (8:21)- trad. Armenian
6. Mumuki (10:58)- Astor Piazzolla, Fernando E. Solanas
7. Grichester Tantz (6:20)- trad. Jewish
8 . Ime Prezakias (7:34)- trad. Greek
9. Sev Mut Amper/ Yeraz/ Oh Nare (6:49)- trad. Armenian
10. Vidatango (5:51)- Aaron Kruziki
2006 Kruzmusic All Rights Reserved

"Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet"
1. Vuelvo al Sur (6:08)- Astor Piazzolla
2. Fotografia (7:45)- Tom Jobim
3. Libertango (4:09)- A. Piazzolla
4. Hommage a Piazzolla (7:47)- Aaron Kruziki
5. Masis (6:59)- Armenuhi Kruziki
6. Preparense (3:43)- A. Piazzolla
7. Caravan (8:07)- Juan Tizol
8. All of You (8:22)- Cole Porter
9. Muerte del Angel (3:15)- A. Piazzolla
2005 Kruzmusic All Rights Reserved


Feeling a bit camera shy


Recently winning the 2006 DownBeat Magazine Award for best collegiate small jazz group while earlier in the year being invited to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education conference, as well as taking home two additional DownBeat awards in 2005 for best small jazz group and classical chamber group, the Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet uses a very diverse palette of sounds in it's repertoire. Deeply inspired by Astor Piazzolla and his tango nuevo, the Kruziki Transatlantica Quintet strives to implement jazz improvisatory elements in a chamber setting. As well, they combine traditional folk music of Argentina, Armenia, and the Balkan regions to make for a very multi-cultural experience. "Great writing, strong playing and very cleverly orchestrated. For something like that, I thought it was very strong and personal, which is good in the ever-growing world of faceless jazz musicians. It's a distinctive project and a band that could go somewhere professionally." -Fred Hersch, 2005