Sofia’s excellent Music Academy has brought up many brilliant musicians, among them the country’s best Folk, Jazz, Fusion and Funk heros. Yassen Velchev’s musical career started long before he entered that same institution. He started playing the piano at age five and was almost drowned in awards and honours, which were given to him in Bulgaria and abroad.
Calling him a Jazz-Funk musician is what I would like to do. But that would not do him justice. Yes, he did found some of the greatest Pop and Jazz-Funk acts in this country: Akaga and Grupa TE. But he also plays classical music. So, the right word for his profession would be musician, under normal circumstances. Since the composer and pianist is a genius with an absolute hearing and unmatched abilities, the right word for his profession still has to be invented.
I ran into Yassen quite often, back in the days, when I co-organized a large Jazz, Funk and Soul festival in Sofia, and I will never forget his performances or the energetic after show parties, during which he played with Level 42, Mezzoforte, Al McKay and other stars. And what about that one-hour-version of Toto’s “Georgy Porgy”, which he played with Incognito? A killer jam!
But, Yassen Velchev does not only hit piano keys, but he also digs huge holes with his giant excavator. Seriously.
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