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Alexander Zonjic: Doin' the D

Alexander Zonjic Alexander Zonjic
Even though flautist Alexander Zonjic lives across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario and is a Canadian by citizenship, he has considered Detroit his second home for about 30 years. He is the morning host on Detroit's smooth jazz radio station WVMV, owns a jazz supper club called Seldom Blues in downtown Detroit, promotes five to six major festivals throughout the metro Detroit area and has a successful career as a musician. Although he has been the host of the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards since its inception five years ago, Detroit is forever in Zonjic's blood.

Zonjic has to thank the people of Detroit for his continued success. He says, Detroit and its people embraced me on a profound level many, many years ago and they're the main reason that I've had such a great career. This is where I found all my early breaks. I love just being a part of this musical scene. In spite of the economic woes we're obviously having, it is still one of the great music cities in the world. Aretha Franklin lives here, Anita Baker lives here, Eminen lives here, Kid Rock lives here, Bob Seger lives here, Mitch Ryder, a world-class symphony and the list goes on and on.

Alexander Zonjic's new release salutes what's great about the Motor City. It's called Doin' the D and it's a common Detroit catchphrase that is used to describe going out on the town for the evening. He says, I'm thrilled to be a part of this whole scene, which is why the new CD is very, very, very much a tip of my hat to this great city. I continue to appreciate everything it's done for my career and I continue to support it.

In preparing to record Doin' the D, Zonjic made the call to some of his smooth jazz friends to be a part of the project. He says, when you have been recording and been in the business as long as I have, you make records for a lot of reasons. But the most important one is to make great music and collaborate with a lot of people that you're a big fan of who have been friends for many years.

Zonjic says he did what he did on his last release Seldom Blues to get people to play on his new CD, including sending out phone calls and emails. He says, Sometimes it's more than you expect. Certainly on "Doin' the D" between Kenny G and Jeff Lorber and Bob James and Chieli Minucci and Maysa and Ken Navarro and Brian Bromberg and Dwight Sills and the Motor City Horns and James Lloyd from Pieces of a Dream, I obviously got a lot of them to show up. I was completely surprised and pleased with the number of people who participated in this record, including some people with whom I'd never recorded before. While they are all friends of mine, I'm still also a huge fan of these people, I'd like to think that they took part in this project because they respect and admire my music.

For Doin' the D, Alexander Zonjic decided that keyboardist Lorber would be his producer. He says, Lorber is a huge part of this project. I have not had a producer in a number of years being such a major player on one of my projects. It wasn't really be design. At first, I wanted Jeff to be a big part of it. He's certainly been collaborating with me for a number of years. But he did wind of being the major producer on this project with the exception of two tracks. He's a major part of eight of the tracks, not to mention composing. He's got his own tunes on there and he has produced a lot of tracks.

Zonjic says Lorber did his part to listen to his ideas for the release. He says, A lot of the input certainly came from me in terms of some of the things that I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to record Freddie Hubbard's "Sunflower." I've think it's one of the classic jazz tunes that really lends itself well to a smoother, contemporary treatment. Doing "Sunflower" and having Kenny G do it as a duet with me was really a thrill. I've always been a big Guess Who fan, being, of course, the famous Canadian rock and roll band with a million hits, "These Eyes," "American Woman." One of the songs I've always liked from them was a song written by Randy Bachman called "(She's Come) Undun." I've love putting that on the new record and getting Maysa to sing it.

It's not just jazz and rock that's featured on Alexander Zonjic's Doin' the D. He says, there's everything on there. There's some world music inspired tunes. Chieli Minucci with Lao Tizer wrote a song called "Passion Island" that feature Bob James. Rick Braun and I are doing a duet on a Jeff Lorber tune called "Tourista." Brian Bromberg and Ken Navarro and I are playing on the title track "Doin' the D." A lot of different styles, I think a lot of radio tunes, but it really was a fun, but I will say an ambitious record to make.

There are not a lot of jazz artists who use the flute as a major instrument. Zonjic says, In the classical world, the flute has a huge statue, but it has struggled in recent years to be considered a solo jazz instrument on the same level as the saxophone or guitar or piano. The instrument suffers from this weird stereotype that it's somehow lightweight. Something relegated to playing bird sounds in an orchestral setting. However, anyone who hears this record will know that there are strong melodies and strong solos. In the right hands, it can be a very heavy-duty instrument. On Doin' the D, the flute is put in the right hands.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Alexander Zonjic
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