SLOVAK VIOLIN PLAYER STANO PALÚCH IMPROVISES A MIX OF FOLK AND JAZZ MUSIC

Getting into swing with a violin

THE STANO Palúch Project opened the last night of this year's Bratislava Jazz Days festival with a performance that had the audience screaming for more. Spectators were mesmerised by the violin of the gifted, innovative yet still relatively unknown Palúch.
The young violinist is a rising star on the Slovak music scene. His uncanny ability to master any musical style, even those not traditionally associated with the violin, makes him especially interesting.


Stano Palúch
photo: Ctibor Bachratý

THE STANO Palúch Project opened the last night of this year's Bratislava Jazz Days festival with a performance that had the audience screaming for more. Spectators were mesmerised by the violin of the gifted, innovative yet still relatively unknown Palúch.

The young violinist is a rising star on the Slovak music scene. His uncanny ability to master any musical style, even those not traditionally associated with the violin, makes him especially interesting.

The folk singer Zuzana Mojžišová (see above) included him in her new, world-folk music project. And the Nothing But Swing Trio recorded a CD with him.

Palúch also has his own band, a trio called Pacora. In addition to Palúch, the line-up includes Moldavian dulcimer player Marcel Comendant and double bassist Róbert Ragan. They improvise, drawing inspiration from traditional, folk roots and swing arrangements.

All three members have studied classical music, been active in the jazz field, and import influences from their own folk traditions - Palúch from Kysuce, Ragan from Banská Bystrica, and Comendant from Moldava.

By the end of this year they plan to start recording an album. They also want to add a "soft folk voice" to their melodies and percussion one day.


Solárik, Ragan, Comendant, and Palúch fit well together.
photo: Martin Janoško

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): How do you feel after your premiere at Bratislava Jazz Days?

Stano Palúch (SP): Personally, I'm quite satisfied. Everything went fine, even though I prefer playing for smaller audiences. The PKO is just too big.


TSS: You introduced your band, as a project. How long have you been working on it?

SP: Well, we called ourselves the Stano Palúch Project because we couldn't think of anything better for the extended version of our band Pacora [for the purposes of the festival, they added drummer Peter Solárik]. The festival's organisers were in a hurry to print the posters. In an emergency case like this we did what is common - we named ourselves after the band's initiator.


TSS: A specially prepared project. Did it mean you had to prepare a special set for the festival?

SP: No, it was our repertoire - we just added drums.


TSS: Could you define the music you play? What genres do you draw on?

SP: Well, when I met Marcel a year ago at the music academy in Banská Bystrica, we started to play swing, just for fun. Then we came up with the idea, as we had both grown up playing folk, to do things that stemmed from our roots, but at the same time improvise. I've always wanted to improvise. But we're still in the early stages really.


TSS: You mentioned that you started playing swing when you hooked up with Marcel. Neither the violin nor the dulcimer is a traditional jazz instrument. What made you choose jazz?

SP: Yes, if you're talking about the dulcimer that's true. But jazz on a violin is completely normal abroad. In the US, there are lots of jazz violinists we just don't know about because their albums aren't sold over here.

Also, in Europe, there was the great Stephane Grapelli, the king of jazz violin. He didn't play sax be-bops, but had his own language, a style that left people gaping in wonder. His recordings of improvised music were my starting point. I knew that I wanted to play something like that.

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