Traditional Balkan music played in decidedly untraditional ways is the hallmark of Matt MoranÆs Slavic Soul Party. "We arenÆt a purist interpretive ensemble," says Moran. "WeÆll pick a Romanian tune and play it like a Macedonian band, or weÆll take a Bulgarian tune and play it like a Bulgarian band, or weÆll pick an Armenian tune and play it like a Macedonian band playing a Turkish tune."
Matt Moran, the founder of the Slavic Soul Party, received a Master of Music magna cum laude degree in jazz composition in 1995 from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Joseph Maneri. In June of 1995 he moved to New York where he has performed as a leader and sideman for festivals such as the What is Jazz? Festival, Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Panasonic Village Jazz Festival, the Vision Festival, and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors. An accomplished tapan (a double-headed bass drum) player and vibraphonist, Moran has performed with Ellery Eskelin, William Parker, George Russell, Lionel Hampton, and Gunther Schuller in the U.S. and in Europe. MoranÆs interest in Balkan music came about when he heard the popular Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares records in the early 1990s. He began Slavic Soul Party in the fall of 1998.
Moran also currently leads the groups Moran/Speed/Noriega, Sideshow, and 9 Olives. Additionally Moran is a member of John HollenbeckÆs Claudia Quintet and the Mat Maneri Quintet, and he often plays tapan with the Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, the Skaros Ensemble, and the Kolevi 6. Moran is active as a performer and teacher in the Balkan folk music and dance scene.