The quartet is one of Tamara’s oldest formations, with whom 25 years ago she presented a new way of thinking and composing for the first time, where she successfully connected inspiration with her homeland's local, Istrian spirit of music and dialect together with the universal jazz expression.
In 1998 the Quartet released Tamara's second album "Ulika", named after Tamara's grandmother, and since then the quartet has been preforming in an unchanged line up consisting of: Tamara Obrovac (voice, composer), Matija Dedić (piano), Krunoslav Levačić (drums) i Žiga Golob (double bass). After some years of pause the reunion of the quartet (summer 2011) gave life to a new creativity and a different way of interpreting the compositions from CD Ulika. The re-found joy of making music together, expressed through virtuoso playing, unlimited freedom of expression, humour and improvisation, characteristic of all members of the quartet, gave birth to a Ulika revival project idea - to gather now mature musicians from Tamara Obrovac Quartet in order to re-interprete old composition from a new, more mature artistic prospective.
“Ulika revival", album was recorded by Stefano Amerio in ArteSuono studio in Udine and released in 2014 for Swiss Unit records; CD has received excellent critiques in several relevant international jazz media, among many others from All About Jazz Jazzthetik, Jazz podium, and the band had official release tour in Zagreb Lisinski hall, Vienna, Porgy & Bess, and Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom. Their latest performances proved again that music of Tamara Obrovac quartet reaches further than the constricted borders of musical classification, spreading the spirit of the Mediterranean region over geographic and musical boundaries.
Since 1997. the quartet preformed at numerous national and regional stages, and held a number of well received concerts at some of the renown international jazz festivals and clubs (such as Luneburger Jazz Nights, Jazzahead Bremen, Dusseldorfer Jazz Rally, Jazz au Chellah Maroko, Jazz Festival Steyr, Jazz meets World Prague, etc.)
Here is what London jazz news noted after Jazz au Chellah concert in front of more then thousand thrilled visitors: "She is an audience-captivating phenomenon.With her trio she brought a different kind of energy and soon had the crowd pleading for more. Obrovac has a phenomenal stylistic range and has the temerity to want to take her trio into any number of moods."
In 2013 the quartet held very successful showcase concert on JazzAhead Bremen which was announced by the Tony Duddley Evans, Jazzahead jury member, artistic Adviser to Jazz lines Birmingham and Cheltenham Jazz Festival with following words; it was a difficult task to chose the bands, but one band stud-out, Tamara Obrovac quartet. I was most impressed by Tamara Obrovac's performance at the Jazzahead showcase.Tamara draws on the folk traditions of Istria but puts them in the context of a jazz trio and the resulting music is a very original and attractive blend of jazz and traditional music".
Twenty-five years after the quartet’s debut album Ulika, which presented the unique musical style of Tamara Obrovac, and ten years after Ulika Revival, we have before us Nuvola, Tamara Obrovac's new original album, the third one with her Quartet.
Nuvola is Tamara’s 14th album, recorded at the Istrian National Theater in Pula late last year. This is what Tamara says about the album and her cooperation with the long-time quartet members;
“Though the compositions are a bit more complex, they follow my existing expression. It is always a pleasure to play with Matija, Kruno and Žiga, with whom I have shared an uncompromising dedication to music for the past 26 years. This ensemble has shared tremendous understanding, communication and joy in playing music from the very beginning, and it continues to do so to this day.”
Seven original compositions are featured on this album, from the opening Na nebu postelja, through La nuvola (Cloud) from which the album takes its name, Zatancaj, Dvi divojke and Niki drugi svit, to the closing Oče moj and Kovarskih litanija. Tamara Obrovac is the author of all the compositions and lyrics on Nuvola, with the exception of the lyrics of the compositions La nuvola and Kovarske litanije which were written by Daniel Načinović, an acclaimed Istrian poet and Tamara’s regular associate.
Croatian well-known jazz columnist Davor Hrvoj wrote the opening text of the CD, in which he highlights the new creative step that Tamara Obrovac took with Nuvola,
“Just when you think there could be no major change or a new creative twist after her countless performances and albums, with which she surprises us again and again, Tamara manages to delight us with new creativity. While she still retains her distinctive approach, her new songs are completely different from everything she has done to date. They are more contemplative, more spiritual and more suggestive. The unveiling of the soul in these compositions is more noticeable than ever.”
The Quartet’s first concert promoting Nuvola before the large musical audience took place at the JazzHR Festival in the Tvornica culture Zagreb on March 29. 2023, folowed by the sold-out concerts in Split (Hrvatski dom) and Zadar (Providurova palača) 27. and 28. April, showing once again all the splendor of their musical performance in front of the thrilled audiences.
Their performance proved again that music of Tamara Obrovac quartet reaches further than the constricted borders of musical classification, spreading the spirit of the Mediterranean region over geographic and musical boundaries.
Tamara dedicated the album to her father Ivan Obrovac, a renowned artist from Istria who died in 2019. His painting is featured on the album cover.
The album was released on the Cantus label in collaboration with the Croatian Composers’ Society and Austrian label Alessa records.
The album is now available in Cantus’ web shop (https://www.cantus.hr/index.php?opt=shop&act=show&id=757&lang=hr) and on digital platforms (https://bfan.link/nuvola-1).
"The revival is a great success, a masterly collection of strikingly affecting songs."
- All About Jazz, Bruce Lindsay
For many, Croatian singer Tamara Obrovac is still "a new voice," even though "Ulika revival" is her ninth record - and what a record it is! One of exceptionally creative and picturesque sound.?With her quartet, the Istrian singer - with 12 songs she has written herself - evokes charming and colourful sounds that blend both the dialects and melodies of Croatian music with contemporary jazz. In every single moment of listening to the record it is wonderfully evident how these different influences blend into quite exciting and playful pieces of music. Excellent!
Tamara Obrovac is quietly and secretly grown into one of Europe's greatest ethnic jazz singers....Basically melancholic, her music simultaneously impresses with inner strength and passion that brings with it the story of the mentality of an entire region.
- Jazz Podium
"Tamara Obrovac quartet: The unique synergy of music and emotion"
Freedom and improvisation. Yesterday, the Lisinski Hall enjoyed jazz to the full. The rarely seen synergy of musical virtuosos and relaxed Tamara was completed by the whole-hearted energy they got in return from the grateful audience. To quote the second number performed at the concert, "without a word" a micro-cosmos of music and pleasure was created, which is impossible to put into words. Beautiful musical experience. As often at Tamara's concerts, "Crno zlo" ("Black Evil") threw the audience into ecstasies. ... What gives an additional quality to this song is Tamara's very own approach to jazz: through "Crno zlo", her fascinating ability of improvisation manifests itself in all its beauty, enrapturing the audience,making it laugh and thrilling it completely.
- Z. Jagodić, index.hr Thursday, February 16, 2012.
"Jazz is back! Tamara Obrovac and Matija Dedić in Grožnjan"
Their music represents the very essence of jazz... They all showed it with their virtuoso approach, full control over the instruments (and the voice) and by the ability for fast transformation into different styles. Inspired by the setting and her willing colleagues, Tamara was absolutely brilliant in stunning improvisations which included scat, vocalises and narrative approach, ranging from the archaic tradition of Istrian music, through baroque and classical music to jazz, funk and rock. Their music combines the very essence of jazz with the need to „expand the acquired knowledge", the importance to know the history and theory of music, to be familiar with different musical idioms, to have stage manners and the ability to create dynamics and communication both with the colleagues and with the audience, to take risks, to plunge into the unfamiliar and new, to elevate music onto a higher level...
- D. Hrvoj Novi List, 02.09.2011.
"On the crossroads of genres "
Ulika is simply an extraordinary album, which defies every traditional critical meter; a fascinating project of an exquisite musical journey, carried out with unhibited musical imagination and the luxurious talent of Tamara and her band.
- Zlatko Gall, Split, Feral tribune, August 1998.