European Union Quartet


September 9, 2009

9 pm Dolans Upstairs, Euro 13/10

Iman Spaargaren – Saxophone
Gavin Barras – Bass
Marek Dorcik – Drums
Ulrich Elbracht – Guitar 


The European Union Quartet was formed in 2007 when British bass player Gavin Barras and Dutch saxophonist Iman Spaargaren met whilst studying in Rotterdam. Assisted by the tutelage of jazz masters Hein van de Geyn and Billy Hart, they were inspired to form their own quartet, made up of musicians from other parts of the European Union. Slovakian drummer Marek Dorcik and German guitarist Ulrich Elbracht subsequently joined the group, and in April 2008 a tour of England’s North West jazz venues was arranged, followed by a studio recording of original compositions released in November 2008 on GLP Records The band is touring extensively throughout the UK and mainland Europe in 2009 to promote their debut album.

Review in magazine “Muziekwereld” – by rakenDra Smit. Nr. 1 – 2009

This quartet was put together in 2007 during the North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, under surveillance of bass virtuoso Hein van de Geyn. The British bass player Gavin Barras and Dutch saxophonist Iman Spaargaren got inspired to continue working together and form a European band. This happened when Slovakian drummer Marek Dorcik and German guitar player Ulrich Elbracht joined the group. Together they toured in the UK and recorded a studio-album which contains own material.

On this debut without title nine jazz compositions are to be heard which are tasteful in arrangements as well as execution. The sweet semi acoustic sound of the guitar is very characteristic for this album, the same sound we know from Martijn van Iterson for example. The melodies played by saxophone and guitar in unison create a dreamy and romantic atmosphere, which is worked out in tasteful improvisations of both soloists and is accompanied by a strong rhythm section.

Musically and production wise very good.

City Life Album Review

Album Review: – European Union Quartet: European Union Quartet (GLP)

CityLife Rating:  3 out of 5

AT once genuinely European – with Dutch saxophonist Iman Spaargaren, German guitarist Ulrich Elbracht, Slovakian drummer Marek Dorcik and Brit bassist Gavin Barras – and local: all the members bar Spaargaren are based in Manchester.

The music they make errs towards MOR modernism, but is also mysterious and lyrical.

Typically, saxophone and guitar spin ethereal lines in unison, before one or the other is carried airborne by warm, cushioning rhythm.

Elbracht is lovely and limpid; Spaargaren is pure-toned and keeps his power in check. Gigglin’ shows how full-blooded they can be, while Anything You Like manages to be simultaneously delicate, elegant and storming.

Song For Sheila virtually swoons, which says much for Sheila. In all, a finely judged mix of freedom and restraint.

Gilad Atzmon

beautiful !!!


Steve Mead, Artistic Director, Manchester Jazz Festival, UK

EU4: a great young band with a warm, acoustic sound, a sensitive dynamic awareness and an engaging repertoire of fresh, tuneful, contemporary compositions. The band members have gigged-in their ensemble playing well and it shows: their performance has a relaxed and confident air, yet sounds fresh every time and is destined to reach out to audiences far beyond their continent.”