If you watch Mikan Zlatkovich play the piano, the first thing you will notice is his uncanny mastery of the keyboard – the way he expresses himself with so much confidence, freedom, and creativity. He has the ability, through his strong improvisational skills, to bring his fellow performers, as well as the audience, into the moment, discovering unexpected harmonies, making music that encompasses the essence of what jazz really is.
Among the jazz notables he has performed with are Louis Hayes, Curtis Fuller, Tony Scott, Clifford Jordan, Chet Baker, Ernie Wilkins, Ralph Pendland, Red Holloway, and Charles McPherson. McPherson describes him as: “. . . a very good musician. What I like most about him is his fire and spirit.He seems to truly have a grasp of the essence of jazz piano.”
Born in Pristina Serbia, Mikan listened to American radio in Eastern Europe as a young child. His father, an amateur guitarist, exposed him to the music of the jazz greats and he was instantly fascinated by the sound. Together they captured this music on reel to reel tapes, which Mikan would then transcribe by ear, picking out the nuances and rhythms in the solos of artists such as Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery, and McCoy Tyner. He learned to speak “jazz” through their music until he eventually found his own voice. In the early 90’s, Mikan followed the jazz to New York City where he spent years honing his skills.
Since relocating to the West coast in 1997, Mikan has been a tireless force in the San Diego jazz scene, complementing the talents of fellow resident jazz greats such as Daniel Jackson, Charles McPherson, Marshall Hawkins, Peter Sprague, Gilbert Castellanos, and Bob Magnusson, as well as fronting his own jazz trio. Expressive and inventive, He has also become the accompanist of choice for jazz vocalists.
HAVE HANDS, WILL TRAVEL
- Mikan is a great jazz ambassador.
- He is available to perform in any and all configurations, either with his own trio/quartet or with local players.
- He can present a broad repertoire that includes songs from the Great American Songbook, jazz standards, blues standards, classic ballads, pop songs, rhythm and blues, bossa nova and samba classics, as well as his own original compositions.
- Because of his strong improvisational skills, Mikan excels as a composer and arranger. In the recording studio, producers and engineers consistently marvel at his imagination and speed at delivering creative tracks.
- He always presents himself with class and dignity, both in appearance and demeanor, and he communicates with a rare honesty. Elegant and original, his music is simply a joy to listen to.
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