Wednesday, 13th November 2019

Studio “M”, 8pm



Ratko Divjak, drums

Joe Kaplowitz, organ; Adam Klemm, saxophone

Gabor Bunford, saxophone; Vladimir Samardžić, bass guitar



©Tanja Likeb

Born in 1947 in Vukovar, Ratko Divjak went to school in Osijek where he finished his secondary education. He studied flute in the same town, first in elementary and then high music school. He took up drums in 1964, becoming an irreplaceable jazz drummer after his studies at the Jazz Institute in Graz.

He started playing drums in rock and pop bands, getting acquainted with jazz by listening to records just like most of the jazzmen of that time. He left for Zagreb in 1968, where he joined in the Ića Keleman Orchestra, and a year later he started working with Boško Petrović as well. He was a drummer in Petrović’s groups, namely, his quartet, as well as in B.P.Convention, and was a member of his international ensemble Nonconvertible All Stars.

With that ensemble he appeared at the international jazz festivals in Prague, Montreux, Budapest, Vienna, Western Berlin and Ljubljana. In Zagreb, he recorded with Leo Wright and Slide Hampton, also appearing with the Pop Asanović Trio at the international Jazz Festival in Szeged. For a short while Divjak played in the Radio Television Zagreb Dance Orchestra, appearing with them at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival 1971.

At the recommendation of Petar Ugrin, Divjak was invited in the late 1973 by legendary Jože Privšek to come to Ljubljana and join the Radio-Television Ljubljana Dance Orchestra, appearing regularly at the Ljubljana Jazz Festivals, sometimes with guests such as Jiggs Whigham, Duško Gojković, Woody Shaw, Mike Stern, Ernie Watts, Stjepko Gut, and many others. In Ljubljana he has collaborated with the Ugrin-Divjak Quintet, Greentown Jazz Band, New Swing Quartet, and the Tone Janša Quintet. He has played with great band leaders and conductors such as: Herb Pomeroy, Michael Abene, Ed Partyka, Peter Herbolzheimer, Mercer Ellington, Maria Schneider, Jerry van Rooyen, Carla Bley, Mike Westbrook, David Murray, George Lewis, Bill Holman, Bob Mintzer, Lalo Schifrin, etc.

With different formations Divjak has appeared at the international jazz festivals in Monterey, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Montreux, Berlinu, Bologna, Belgrade, Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, with musicians such as: Art Farmer, Gary Burton, Stan Getz, Joe Pass, N.H.O.P. Pedersen, Sal Nistico, Albert Mangelsdorf, Dave Liebman, Tony Coe, Ferdinand Powel, Gianni Basso, Richard Davis, Joe Pass, Mike Stern, Steve Swallow, Slide Hampton, and many others.

Besides an impressive jazz drumming career, Ratko has been one of the legends of the Yugoslav rock, pop and fusion scene. He started with the Osjek based Dinamiti, only to continue with the groups Time, September, Sončna pot, Jugoslovenska pop slekecija, Tihomir Pop Asanović, etc. He has recorded with the majority of the Yugoslav pop-rock scene, being the drummer on over 1000 recordings in the archives of RTV Slovenia alone.

And as Ratko puts it: How many studio recordings, film and stage music, vinyl records, CDs… I don’t know, because I never counted. As for awards, I don’t want to talk about that, because the greatest reward for me has always been a good gig and a satisfied audience. These are the awards I have always received with pleasure.



Joe Kaplowitz is one of the most sought-after musicians on the Croatian jazz scene. He is active as a composer and arranger, and records with a number of successful musicians in the region.

Kaplowitz got professionally engaged in music at the age of fifteen, while he was living in Washington. He played with a number of famous American blues and jazz musicians such as: Eddie Daniels, James Moody, David Fathead Newman, Greg Bandy, Koko Taylor, Lucky Peterson, Abraham Burton, Wess Anderson, Wycliff Gordan, Mark Rapp, among others. After 1999, he led the bands performing in the White House and the cult clubs: Blues Alley, The Knitting Factory and The House of Blues. From 2002 to 2004 he lived in New York where he founded the Joe Kap Organ Trio, recording the album Street Noise and appearing on a number of famous stages.

In 2006, Joe moved to Croatia where he founded the Lekap Quartet with his wife Lela. Since then, he has been performing and recording with a number of renowned Croatian singers and instrumentalists. With the band Davor Križić Experiment he recorded the album of the same name in 2014, which has earned them three Porin Awards.

Highly regarded in the field of classical music, Joe Kaplowitz joined the quintet Simply Brass in 2011, playing the tuba. With this band he played at the Juliard in New York in 2012, at the University of Quebec in 2013, and in 2015 on a tour of seven cities of the People’s Republic of China.

Since 2014 Kaplowitz has been a permanent member of the HRT Jazz Orchestra, writing numerous arrangements and compositions for it. Playing with this orchestra he has collaborated with renowned artists of the international music scene such as: Boris Kozlov, Alex Sipiagin, Ernie Watts, Lasse Lindgren, Doug Richards, Rex Richardson, Burt Van Leer, Terrell Stafford, Lars Moller, Ed Neumeister, Michael Abene, and Stjepko Gut, among others.

In 2012 Kaplowitz got the prestigious award Status for his contribution to music, in the category of jazz, as a pianist, and in 2014 as a pianist and tubaist. In 2017 he got the Porin award for the best jazz composition entitled Donna Lee Is Pissed Off from the debut album of the group 4in3+1 named Eat It, It’s Still Good. In the spring of 2018 he recorded a new album of his original music entitled Organic Intelligence with the HRT Jazz Orchestra, the release of which is announced in mid-September 2019.



Adam Klemm was born in 1976 in Novi Sad. Upon completing his secondary education at the Music School Isidor Bajić in Novi Sad in the Clarinet Department, he continued his studies at the University of Music And Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. In 2005 he earned a Master Degree in Arts – Jazz Saxophone.

During his Graz studies, he received a scholarship from the Austrian Ministry of Culture and went on to study at the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Upon his return from Finland, he played with the legend of the Austrian jazz scene, guitarist Karl Ratzer and released a CD with the Sarajevo-based jazz group Minorit. He has performed with: Dennis Rowland, Gianni Basso, Lee Harper Little Big Band, Karl Ratzer, Barbara Hendriks, Ladislav Fidri, among others.

As a bandleader of The Adam Klemm Banda, he had his first release Hot Coolen for the independent label Sensor Records in 2007. The second CD Nostalgija (2015) was released with his wife Sandra Klemm for the independent label Celinka. The third project, Instant Pleasure (2019) was released under the ZKP RTV Slovenia label.

Klemm has been an endorser of P. Mauriat saxophones for Southeast Europe since 2008. A permanent soloist of the RTV Slovenia Big Band since 2008, he also teaches saxophone and jazz band in the music school GCEW in Ljubljana and is a regular mentor at the Jazz Camp Kranj. Klemm is a member of the Novi Sad Jazz Festival Council.

As a member of the RTV Slovenia Big Band, he has had the honour to share the stage with jazz greats such as: Mike Stern, Ernie Watts, Joe Lovano, Ronnie Cuber, Patti Austin, Peter Erskine, and Nicholas Payton, among others.



Gabor Bunford graduated in clarinet and saxophone from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.

He is one of the most prominent saxophonists on the domestic stage, who collaborates with the most prominent musicians of our show business.

He was awarded the Dr. Ferenc Bodrogvári award, by the city of Subotica in 2010 for his work in education.

He is a permanent member of the Novi Sad Big Band and has been the Art Director of Jazzik International Subotica Jazz Festival since 2010. He currently works at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad as a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Classical Saxophone Department.



©Stefan Andrić

A bass guitarist, composer, music editor and educator, born in Novi Sad (Serbia), an alumni of the Berklee College of Music in Boston (Bass Guitar Department Achievement Award in 1997 and BMG Jazz Award in 1998), Vladimir Samardžić is one of the most prominent bass players in Serbia and in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia.

He started playing the bass as self-taught at the age of 19, and after only 4 years (1993) he was engaged by the Dance Orchestra of Radio Novi Sad. The same year, he met Vasil Hadžimanov, which marks the beginning of cooperation that lasted for several years (2010) which spawned 4 albums with the VHBend for PGP RTS. He was a member of the legendary rock group Smak led by R.M.Točak in the period 1995-1997 (album Bioskop Fox 1995).

He has worked with the orchestras: The Mambo Stars, Balkanopolis and the Belgrade Philharmonics, and has been an associate of the Novi Sad Big Band for many years. He has been a leader of the authorial jazz quintet Pannonia Project (album The Bridge, 2010) and a member of the world music trio Moraitika (2 albums).

He has performed/recorded with the artists: Radomir Mihajlović Točak, Kornelije Kovač, Slobodan Trkulja, Slobodan Stojanović Kepa, Dado Topić, Vlado Georgiev, Željko Samardžić, as well as vocal soloists Bisera Veletanlić, Teresa Kesovija, Brankica Vasić-Vasilisa, Aleksandra Radović, Frajle, Tijana Bogićević, Tanja Banjanin, Daria Hodnikand Jelena Tomašević, who he still actively performs with.

Vladimir has collaborated with a number of first-class musicians from the region and wider, among whom are: Elvis Stanić, Ante Gelo, Dušan Jevtović, Nenad Gajin Coca, Dalibor Dado Marinković, Amar Češljar, Marko Đorđević, Bodan Arsovski, Tony Kitanovski, Laki Akoš, Teodosi Spasov, David Rhodes, Luis Bonilla, Sami Amiris, Sean McGowan, Felipe Salles, Mark Milan, Maxim Zetel, to name just a few.

He has appeared at all major jazz festivals in Serbia and the region, a number of jazz and world music festivals in Europe as well as the World Expo in Nagoya (Japan) in 2005 with the Vasil Hadžimanov Band.

He has been active as a bass guitar instructor, and the teacher at the Bass Workshops and the major music Jazz Master Class events (Pannonian Bridge, Novi Sad 2007-2008 I Jazz Ex-Tempore, Opatija 2006, 2012).

Since 2013, he has been the Jazz Programme Music Editor of Radio Novi Sad, RTV Vojvodina, as well as a member of the jazz fusion quartet Chewbakka 4, featuring the Croatian musicians: guitarist Ante Gelo, keyboardist Maasej Kovačević and drummer Dalibor Dado Marinković.

In 2017 he initiated his new authorial project Soularity, gathering old friends – guitarist Nenad Gajin (Paris) and drummer Dalibor Dado Marinković (Zagreb).