Serving as the artistic director for nearly a dozen music festivals and concert series throughout Michigan ordinarily keeps contemporary jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic super busy from March through September in addition to maintaining his own active performance schedule. But with most of the events shelved this year due to coronavirus concerns, Zonjic was able to find time to finish his first album in more than ten years. “Playing It Forward,” his 13th album, will be released October 9 on his company’s Hi-Falutin Music label.
“When we got into this pandemic, people really started to play it forward. For us, our connection with Detroit has always been this back-and-forth relationship and us finding ways to give back. We love the people of Detroit and do a lot of fundraisers for more than a dozen nonprofit organizations. My son and I came up with ‘Playing It Forward’ and I like the energy of it. It’s a very forward momentum record. There’s a lot of energy,” said Zonjic, a three-time Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards winner (including International Broadcaster of the Year) and a15-time Detroit Music Awards winner.
Indeed, “Playing It Forward” is a high-energy jazz, funk, fusion and soul collection featuring six original tunes, five of which were penned or co-penned by Lorber.
You can check out a preview and listen to Zonjic tell stories about the tracks.
Although recording was complete and the mixing process was underway prior to mid-March’s COVID-19 shutdown, the questions then arose about when and how to release the album. A lot has changed in the recording industry since Zonjic’s 2009 release “Doin’ the D” and in the midst of a global pandemic, he wasn’t sure if and how best to proceed.
“The pandemic really changed things. This was a new experience for me because I normally don’t have the time to do focus groups and to research the stuff that I had to research because of all the other things we normally have going on with our various festivals and concert series this time of year. I asked a lot of questions. I interviewed a lot of big artists on my radio show that airs on Detroit’s 910AM Superstation and all of us had the same question, which was ‘Is this a good time to release a record?’ In my case, I worked so hard on it for so many years and spent so much money on making it that I wanted the fun of assembling a team to release it. I’ll admit that it’s been quite a learning curve, but I’ve really been enjoying it. I don’t plan to wait another ten years to do another album. I probably enjoyed the process of making this record as much as I do all the fun that comes from releasing it.”
“Motor City Sway”
“Playing It Forward”
“Living In The Past”
“Rolling In The Deep”