The Bopportunists are a saxophone led trio dedicated to exploring the rich vein of groundbreaking compositions that emerged during the Bebop era of the 1940's. Their repertoire exclusively features the classic melodies of such jazz giants as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Tadd Dameron, John Lewis, and many more. Whether they're playing the 'bop tunes' that transcended the era to become standards across the entire jazz landscape, or more obscure works that are rarely played nowadays, the Bopportunists put their own stamp on the material through the use of unique arrangements, whilst at the same time attempting to stay faithful to the original concept and style of the music.
The saxophone trio format - saxophone, bass, drums - was first popularized by the great Sonny Rollins (who was himself a product of the Bebop school, being one of Charlie Parker's most influential disciples) on his classic albums 'Way Out West', 'A Night At The Village Vanguard' and 'Freedom Suite', and has since been used to great effect by John Coltrane, Lee Konitz, Ornette Coleman, Steve Grossman, Grant Stewart and many others. Without the chordal instruments commonly found in jazz groups (i.e.. piano or guitar), the onus is on the soloist to outline the harmonic structure of the music, which is always a challenge, especially when navigating the labyrinthine chord sequences of composers such as Thelonious Monk. In this exposed setting, the musicians must walk a fine line between fulfilling their prescribed roles and following their creative instincts to push the music to fresh areas. This particular trio developed these skills on the bandstand, holding down a monthly slot on Prague's only waterborne jazz club - The Jazz Boat - a residency that continues to this day after nearly a decade.
About the musicians...
Over a career spanning more than twenty years, Welsh born tenor saxophonist Osian Roberts has performed and recorded with many of the jazz world's leading figures, including Cedar Walton, Kirk Lightsey, Hod O'Brien, George Mraz, Valery Ponomarev, George Freeman, Peter King, Peter Washington, Jeb Patton, John Marshall, Grant Stewart, Mike Carr, Brian Charette, Jim Mullen, and many others. In addition to his work as a sideman, Osian is a frequent collaborator with Czech Hammond organ great Jan Kořínek, and also co-leads a quintet and sextet with renowned British trumpeter Steve Fishwick, which can be heard on several albums on the Hard Bop Records label. He can also be found in the reed sections of many notable big bands, having worked with The Glenn Miller Memorial Orchestra, The Ronnie Scott's All-Stars Big Band, Michael Bublé, Paul Anka, The Czech Radio Orchestra of Gustav Brom, and most recently The Jazz Dock Orchestra.
Tomaš Baroš continues the tradition of great Czech bass virtuosos that excel in the jazz idiom, a lineage that starts with the likes of Jiří (George) Mráz, Miroslav Vitouš, and Jan Arnet. The son of renowned Czech jazz trumpeter Julius Baroš, Tomaš was exposed to jazz from a very early age, taking up the double bass at the age of twelve. After studying with members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for two years, he joined his father's working quartet, and two years after that won the bass category in a state wide classical competition. From these auspicious beginnings, his reputation has grown steadily and he is now considered one of the best bassists in Europe, boasting a prodigious technique and huge sound reminiscent of his influences Ray Brown and Christian McBride. To date he has worked with an array of international jazz stars including Benny Golson, Kevin Hays, Rick Margitza, Antonio Farao, Vincent Herring, Gene Jackson, and Eric Allen to name a few.
Despite his youth, Marek Urbanek is already one of the most sought after jazz drummers in the Czech Republic, and is quickly developing an international reputation thanks to his technically dazzling yet always tasteful and swinging style, firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. Marek's first 'big break' came when he was invited to become a permanent member of legendary Czech pianist Najponk's trio, a chair he still holds, and with whom he has released several albums. He is also a valued member of several other successful Czech groups, in addition to leading his own project #B Experiment. Marek is often called to tour with visiting international artists, and in this capacity has performed with Alba Plano, Alexander Bone, Melanie Scholtz, Brian Charette, Valery Ponomarev, John Marshall, Pat Bianchi, and many others.
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