Alexander Zonjic to perform ‘intimate’ show at Dégagé Jazz CaféWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
Alexander Zonjic became a flutist by accident.
Starting out as a “rock ’n’ roll guitar player,” Zonjic was visiting his parents in Windsor, Ontario, when a man (who recognized him on the street as “the guitar guy”) walked up to him and asked if he wanted to buy a flute.
“I said, ‘How much do you want?’ He said ’50 bucks.’ I said, ‘I only have $9,’ and he said ‘I’ll take it,’” Zonjic said. “That’s really how it started.”
And so it was that at 21 years old, he said, he went in a “completely different direction.”
“I fell in love with the idea of playing it,” Zonjic said. “About eight months after that I auditioned for the University of Windsor [for] classical music studies.”
Since then, Zonjic has played with jazz greats like Kenny G., Keiko Matsui and Jeff Lorber, according to a news release.
“From that point on, the flute became a bigger part of my musical personality,” he said.
Zonjic said even though his successes have come out of his flute playing, the guitar still holds significance, and he still plays it at shows.
“I do consider myself a flutist, there’s no question about it,” Zonjic said. “I mean I’m an artist in general, I still play the guitar.”
Zonjic said he’s not quite sure that he’s a jazz musician.
“I play music that is jazzy; I play things that can be considered jazz,” Zonjic said. “But my preoccupation really is more with being a great artist than being a jazz musician.”
All that matters, he said, is the music.
“It’s the old cliché,” Zonjic said. “There’s only two kinds of music: good music and bad music.”
Zonjic will play at Maumee’s Dégagé Jazz Café on March 22 and 23 for the first time. He said his shows will include selections from his latest album “Doin’ the D.”
“The music is real high-energy,” Zonjic said. “I will pick up the guitar occasionally and play some rock ‘n’ roll blues.”
Zonjic said his relationship with Toledo goes as far back as the ’80s.
“We’ve been wandering in and out of Toledo quite a bit,” Zonjic said. “People told me about [Dégagé Jazz Café]. I ran out there on a little visit a couple of months ago and I just found the room to be so charming.”
Zonjic said he is excited to play at the intimate setting.
“In all fairness, I enjoy every setting,” Zonjic said. “We’re not popstars; we’re artists in a literal sense. We just love playing in general.”
Zonjic said smaller venues provide intimacy.
“There’s a lot of magic, a lot of energy as well,” Zonjic said. “I love that up-close-and-personal kind of vibe. It’s like playing in someone’s living room sometimes.”
Zonjic’s friend James Lloyd will join him for the shows as keyboardist. Lloyd is a founding member of the band Pieces of a Dream and has produced much of Zonjic’s music. Zonjic’s regular keyboard player was unavailable, so Lloyd, who lives in Youngstown, will join the band.
“My last three records all have a very big James Lloyd stamp on them,” Zonjic said. “He’s written a lot of songs that we play in my show. I always love playing with him and welcome the opportunities.”
Audiences can also catch Zonjic at Evolution Toledo on March 28.