It was always the piano for Dimitrije Vasiljevic. As a child of 5 in Serbia, his mother took him for lessons and fate took care of the rest. Raised in the Russian system of classical training, Dimi found the piano expansive enough to satisfy his desire for playing and composing. Discovering Jazz as a teen, he did his time playing in the Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra building the foundation from the original Jazz source. Soon he was enrolled at Berklee, and if there was any turning back it was then most certainly too late. Jazz (with a capital J) had its hold on him, and turning back was futile.
‘Dimitrije’s music occupies a unique space, somewhere between the classical tradition and Jazz’ (Chris Potter)
With Serbia at the crossroads of three civilizations – Russian, Ottoman, and European – unique time signatures and a blend of styles are embedded deeply in the tradition. In a sense this mirrors the origins of Jazz, with its cross pollination that met at the crossroads of New Orleans.
‘In the countryside in Serbia you can see shepherds playing odd meters without ever missing a beat’ (Dmitrije Vasiljevic)
Dimitrije Vasiljevic is conscious of this history, and yet he understands that the history carries him. From his base in New Orleans, as assistant professor of music at Xavier University of Louisiana, he looks back and finds his roots, realizing that he has something unique to present to the idiom. And so we have Accidental Nomad, the new album from the Dimitrije Vasiljevic Quintet. While his first two albums were introspective, Accidental Nomad addresses the outer world that has shaped his unintended path. And so, the history of the music is the history of the man.
Dimitrije views The Accidental Nomad as a book, with individual chapters forming a full story. As with his live performances, he is reaching out to the audience to communicate and present his unique perspective on Jazz and Life.
Release Date: May 18, 2018
Dimitrije Vasiljević - Piano, All Compositions, Co-Producer
Robert Brooks - Tenor Saxophone
José Guzmán - Electric Guitar
Andrey Gonçalves - Upright Bass
Andy Wheelock - Drums
Chris Beyt - Sound Engineer, Mastering Engineer, Producer
Dimitrije Vasiljević is a New Orleans based, award-winning jazz pianist and composer who has been hailed as “a strong jazz player with an impressive vocabulary and a powerful modern improviser who shows promise that he will be a new voice in modern jazz” (Tony Germain – Berklee College of Music). His music, “iridescent and captivating, a cascade of weaving twists and turns” (All About Jazz), represents an innovative combination of the gentle flavor of European jazz with intricate musical landscapes full of exotic rhythms and sophisticated harmony.
Vasiljević got his Bachelor Degrees both from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, his Master’s degree from NYU Steinhardt in New York City and his DMA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before he accepted the position of Assistant Professor at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, he taught jazz piano at both NYU Steinhardt in NYC and UIUC in Champaign, IL.
Vasiljević has performed concerts at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall (NYC), United Nations Headquarters (NYC), Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Krannert Center (Urbana, IL). He performs extensively throughout the United States and Europe, both as a solo pianist and with his own jazz trio/quartet/quintet. In 2008 he won third jury prize and the audience prize at the world renowned Montreux Solo Jazz Piano Competition in Switzerland, and in 2014, Tesla Science Foundation in New York City, awarded him with a Recognition of Achievement for his contribution in promoting the life and legacy of Nikola Tesla through Music. In 2015, Vasiljević was a finalist of both Luminarts Jazz Competition in Chicago and the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship competition. During his time at Berklee, he received the Jazz Performance Award and the Piano Department Achievement Award, and while working on his doctorate at UIUC, he received Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship. . He has performed with the jazz greats such as Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Charles “Chip” McNeill, Tito Carillo, Victor Garcia, Marko Djordjevic, Klemens Marktl and Brad Shepik, among others.
In addition to his composing/performing and teaching careers, Vasiljević also scores music for films (There Has to Be More Than This; Tierra Utopia), and is one of the founding members of Music Defying Boundaries, nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging individuals with experimental and improvised music through education, performance, and documentation. For the past 5 years, he was also on the faculty of Blue Mountain Festival summer music camps in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Vasiljević is a Ropeadope Records artist.