Gig Seeker Pro



Band World Rock




"Brainiac Party Music – L.A.-based progressive-jazz-Balkan band PLOTZ! kicked up its typical super-tight sound and rebel spirit at Muddy Waters on Thursday"

“One might naturally bring expectations to a show by a band with the in-yer-face name PLOTZ!, especially knowing that the group hails from the experimental left bank of the Los Angeles music scene. Cathartic improvisational noise walls could be a logical musical product with such a name, but those in the know know otherwise, and the band confirmed its reputation for dazzling progressive-jazz-Balkan music Thursday night at Muddy Waters, when the group paid a return visit to the monthly Santa Barbara New Music Series.

A paradoxical delight and a brainiac party band, PLOTZ!, at least on this night, was a six-piece group of men in suits. They navigated an hour-long set of super-tight pieces full of fast, serpentine unison lines and odd-metered grooves (in keeping with the Eastern European musical manners). The band relishes its in-house blend of strong musicianship and hints of visceral firepower along the way, with moments of improvisational abandon also lining the sound.

Led by the estimable and genre-flexible trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom, PLOTZ! has established itself as a fringe-y band with an immediate appeal. Roots of the band, made up of many components connected to the musical haven of CalArts, can be traced to the influence of guitarist and CalArts professor Miroslav Tadic, originally from Macedonia. His PLOTZ! protégés are doing him proud.

On the front line, Mr. Rosenboom delivered his goods alongside Brian Walsh, on baritone saxophone and clarinet (the largest and smallest instruments on the stand), and the fine, clean-lined alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton. These guys play loud and sure, driven by a barreling but never unruly rhythm section of drums, electric bass (Orest Balaban and Austin Wrinkle, respectively) and rock-toned electric guitar — the impressive Jake Vossler, who mostly played unison lines rather than chords and dished up limber, side-winding solos.

A few brave Balkan dancers took to the Muddy dance floor, even when the meter wriggled to the beat of 5/8 or sidled up to a metal-powered Black Sabbath moment. In short, the PLOTZ! live experience is something to behold, and hopefully they’ll swing back through this venue and series to shake the rafters again. On this night, precision met crazed energy, with intellectual carbonation in tow.”

By Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News-Press
February 11, 2012
- Santa Barbara News-Press

"Not a Gyp - Plotz!’s fusion of jazz, gypsy song and rock goes nuclear..."

By David Cotner 02/05/2009

Rock music and punctuational nomenclature have long had an uneasy relationship — ? and the Mysterians, Therapy? and !!! spring to mind as bands who have somehow superseded a hell of squiggles to become forces with which to be reckoned. Latest in the grammar rock sweeps are Plotz!, a four-year strong Ventura phenomenon (yeah, me neither) that mixes jazz and rock with Eastern European and Romany influences — think Gogol Bordello with less sweat and more technical proficiency.

As the band once explained about the meaning of their name, “In German, the word “plotz” means to explode, or burst forth with energy. This very much reflects the way we play and the way we perform.” So savvy are they on their respective instruments that they’re not only players — they also teach master classes how to play, much the same way Cy Sperling is not only the president of Hair Club for Men, he’s also a client.

The players: Daniel Rosenboom on trumpets, Gavin Templeton on saxophones (of which there are many), Brian Walsh on more saxophones and clarinets, Jake Vossler on guitars, Orest Balaban on bass and Austin Wrinkle on drums. Their latest CD, Live 2008, captured at a summer session at CalArts, is fraught with grooves and growling riffs, punctuated by hoots and hollers thereat. It’s a primal, boisterous experience that pledges allegiance with cultures the world over, citing the ancient Greeks and British Iceni people as influences as much as perhaps Coltrane and McLaughlin, finding equanimity among rock gods and gods made of actual rock. They bring their talents from the far-flung edges of Ventura County — Moorpark and Simi Valley, for starters — with a modicum of noodling and a wealth of talent that, if tracks like “Weeding Out the Squeakers” and “Charon the Boatman” are any indication, threaten to overwhelm the stage itself.

So where have they been all your life, anyway? Like the Romany (Gypsy) people from whom much of their sonic stylings are borrowed, they’ve lived on the edges for four long years, honing their self-professed “electro-Balkan jam-rock” into a shit-hot beam of musical illumination that is as focused as it is wide-ranging. It’s a multicultural, multisubjectival world today, and Plotz! understand that all cultures — by dint of curiosity and understanding as well as the Internet – now take their place on the world stage, whether they’re oft-maligned Gypsies, the Republic of Ossetia, the Waziris of Pakistan or the NSK in Slovenia. “Peace, love and understanding” isn’t just a pop song — by embracing these neglected cultures, Plotz! becomes a stronger band for all its musical acumen, armed with tools to build a better band. And, as bands are built on influences, Plotz! wears those influences — Miles Davis, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Anthony Braxton — proudly on its sleeve. Yet just as the synthesis of sounds ultimately either makes or breaks a band, these influences aren’t necessarily apparent on witnessing Plotz! plotz; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

One of the most poignant aspects of the Gypsy life is the search for a home, a place in the world. Ceaseless wandering is the hallmark of the existence of the Roma people, caused sometimes by persecution, other times by sheer restlessness — something, aesthetically at least, that Plotz! has in spades. This is not to say that the music is aimless or lacking in direction — it is to say, in fact, that there is a certain joyous freedom that walks hand in hand with intellectual curiosity. The swooping charges of the brass section through the 10-minute-plus song “Boudica,” named for the warrior queen of the Iceni people, opens the Live 2008 CD in a way that’s emblematic of the remainder of the album. It’s a badge of courage that’s necessarily pinned on anyone who tries to go where so few generally do. They want to take you with them — to someplace new.
- Ventura County Reporter

"PLOTZ! - Extraordinary Renditions (album review)"

Combining an absurd amount of influences from the gypsy party tunes of the Balkans to dance jams that rock, Plotz!'s Extraordinary Renditions is a thirty-six minute experience of instrumental virtuosity sure to impress even an experienced listener.

Don't be fooled by the mechanical, eerie beginning of "Blue Web Fire," for there is nothing mechanical about the way these guys play. With sweet drum beats kicking in behind a rather involved guitar part, the song takes off with an immediate Middle-eastern feel. Jake Vossler's shredding guitar lines flow harmoniously with Daniel Rosenboom's trumpet melodies, and Austin Wrinkle slows down the pace before letting Rosenboom carry the piece away. Several fast runs and the overall pace of the song make "Blue Web Fire" a fun, action-filled song.

The disc speeds over "Memede Mori Memede" just as fast as the quartet can play before settling into "Crabman," a four-minute piece reminiscent of a day at the beach. With bassist Orest Balaban and Vossler creating a happy melody, Wrinkle supplies the easy-going beat.

"Clark the Shark" tears the lid off of the funk jar for Plotz!. Rosenboom's trumpet leads take the listener sailing through the waters of musical bliss while Vossler's speedy fingers leave you with no choice but to simply rock out and dance the night away. The same can be said for "Splash," a dance tune filled with craziness until a breakdown. The beat slows and the guitar mellows out before creeping back into the sound waves with a little funk again.

The next couple tracks on the album allow Plotz! to show off their skills as not only fast musicians, but also experienced ones. Through the speed of "Kopanitsa" and the heaviness of "Humbaba's Head," each member of the quartet gets a moment to throw his two cents into the pot and stir up a unique, diverse pair of songs. "Tarantella" and "Makedonsko Oro" follow suit: heavy and fast, with crazy themes.

"Maria, Marika" closes out the album as a unique track among the previous nine. Unlike the rest, this song features Balaban on vocals, singing the soft melody in spot-on tone. The use of an acoustic guitar instead of electric also adds depth to the song. Rosenboom maintains his trumpet wizardry as well, while Vossler shines through with the acoustic melody.

Plotz! are a well-trained, well-represented musical group. Mostly instrumental, they let their instruments do all the talking. Whether it's soloing at the speed of light on guitar, running up and down the sound board on trumpet runs, thundering through space on bass, or laying down a beat to groove to, all four members of Plotz! prove they can not only play, but also write music that carries a message.

-Erik Williams, April 2007 - Independent Clauses


2010 - "The Kid" (PMP/SNP 001)

“I think this might be the best CD I’ve reviewed all summer!”
— DJ Jay Paul, WRUV-FM, Burlington, VT

“PLOTZ! is the unlikely bastard son of Ivo Papasov and Black Sabbath…festive heavy Bulgarian jazz-rock, catchy as hell and quite accessible overall.”
— Monsieur Délire, Monsiuer Délire’s Blog

2008 - "Live 2008" (PMPCD 003)

“Live fraught with grooves and growling riffs...a primal, boisterous experience that pledges allegiance with cultures the world over...finding equanimity among rock gods and gods made of actual rock.”
— David Cotner, Ventura County Reporter

2007 - "Extraordinary Renditions" (PMPCD 002)

*****"Best Instrumental CD" and "Best Instrumental Song" from the M.A.V.R.I.C. Awards in Ventura County*****

*****"Best International Instrumental CD" from Toronto Exclusive Magazine's Music Awards*****

“These guys shine!”
— XLR8R Magazine

“…music that carries a message…an experience of instrumental virtuosity sure to impress even an experienced listener.”



A fixture in Southern California’s underground Balkan/gypsy, jazz, and rock music scenes, PLOTZ! has been rocking stages and thrilling audiences for the better part of a decade. Dedicated to a unified and harmonized world-view, PLOTZ! draws inspiration for original compositions from styles, stories, and experiences from all over the world, while maintaining firm roots in traditional Balkan folk music, jazz, and rock. Bringing rock-god energy and intensity to every performance, PLOTZ! explodes off the stage in a jubilant musical celebration of life!

Formed in March of 2005 PLOTZ! has played all over Southern California on various stages, clubs, and colleges. In early 2007, they released their first studio album, Extraordinary Renditions on their own PLOTZ! Music Productions label. This CD won international acclaim when it received "Best International Instrumental CD" in the 2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Music Awards, as well as "Best Instrumental CD" and "Best Instrumental Song" (Splash, by Daniel Rosenboom) in the 2007 M.A.V.R.I.C. Awards in Ventura County, CA. In the fall of 2008 PLOTZ! released a live album, Live 2008, and in 2010 released their third critically-acclaimed studio album, "The Kid."

PLOTZ! has continued to rock audiences all around California and is currently expanding their touring range. In the near future, PLOTZ! plans to go back in the studio to record their most ambitious project yet, including guest artists such as Hands On'Semble and Miroslav Tadic on guitar.