You’ve reached a Premium article. To continue reading, please login or start a 3-MONTH TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION for just 99 cents/month. You’ll receive unlimited digital access plus a complimentary issue of our award-winning print magazine.
Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter and Yaron Stavi record for the album The Stone House for Moon June Records. The label recently released its 100th record. (Photo: Courtesy YouTube)
As head of MoonJune Records, Leonardo Pavkovic is constantly on the go, recruiting artists to his roster from as far away as Indonesia, Italy and Belgium while also presiding over recording sessions at La Casa Murada in Catalonia and accompanying his artists on worldwide tours. “I’ve been jet-lagged since 2002,” he laughs. “But I’m kind of a natural traveler. I’ve been to Japan 50 times, to Indonesia 35 times, and I also go very often to Brazil, where my wife is from.”
Jakarta, Indonesia, has become a particular point of interest in recent years for Pavkovic. It’s where he signed MoonJune artists like guitarists Dewa Budjana and Tohpati Ario Hutomo, keyboardist-composer Dwiki Dharmawan and the band simakDialog. “Indonesia is a very fertile country for the music,” said the gregarious entrepreneur. “And Jakarta in particular is a kind of cultural center there. It is a major city, almost 20 million people. It’s like the London of Indonesia.”
Hailing from Jajce in the former Yugoslavia (today Bosnia-Herzegovina), Pavkovic spent his college years in Southern Italy, where he developed a taste for progressive rock and jazz. Enjoying his Frank Zappa, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Terje Rypdal, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Sun Ra albums with equal fervor, he continued developing his eclectic tastes after moving to New York City in August 1990.
Pavkovic’s first job in the Big Apple was working in a restaurant, then a messenger for renowned Brazilian graphic artist and photographer Fernando Natalici’s Studio T design firm, whose clientele included The Knitting Factory, the Village Vanguard, Blue Note Records, Dreyfus Records, Intuition Records and other music industry stalwarts. Pavkovic taught himself computer graphics and soon was doing Village Voice ads and posters for all of Studio T’s clients, which put him in the company of great musicians, concert promoters, and record labels owners and executives from majors and from independents.
His inaugural MoonJune release was 2001’s Bar Torque, a duet by former Soft Machine saxophonist Elton Dean and British guitarist Mark Hewins. It was followed in quick succession later that year by two Italian prog-rock band releases — Finisterre’s Storybook and D.F.A.'s Work In Progress Live. Pavkovic traveled to Indonesia for the first time in 2003 while on tour with Soft Works, the band he helped put together with Soft Machine alumni Allan Holdsworth, Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and John Marshall. Seven years later he orchestrated the formation of another supergroup with Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua, Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman, which resulted in 2010’s live 2-Cd set, Blues for Tony.
Pavkovic has presided over numerous other MoonJune releases over the years by the likes of simakDialog (2006’s Patahan, 2009’s Demi Masa), Hugh Hopper (2007’s Numero D’Vol), Soft Machine Legacy (2007’s Steam, 2010’s Live Adventures), Italian pro-rockers Slivovitz (2009’s Hubris, 2015’s All You Can Eat), Serbian keyboardist-pianist Vasil Hadzimanov (2016’s Aive, 2019’s Lines in the Sand), Uruguay-born guitarist Beledo (2016’s Dreamland Mechanism), British guitarist Mark Wingfield (2018’s Tales From The Dreaming City) and the Sirkis/Bialas IQ featuring Israeli-born drummer Asaf Sirkis and Polish singer Sylwia Bialas (2019’s Our New Earth).
Now with Markus Reuter's Truce, recorded in Spain’s La Casa Murada, MoonJune has reached the 100-release mark. This evocative outing by the Berlin-based Touch Guitar ace and Stick Men member continues Pavkovic’s mission to explore and expand boundaries of jazz, rock, ethnographic, avant, the unknown and anything between and beyond with artists from across the globe.
“Markus is one of my best friends among musicians, and I personally consider him one of the greatest guitar innovators,” said the MoonJune label head. “Markus has magic, not only that he is gifted as innovative guitar player of an unusual guitar, 8 strings Touch Guitar, but also he is a visionary artist of visionary futuristic music that goes beyond any genre or sub-genre. Seeing him performing live over 150 times and being on a dozen of recording sessions, convinced me about how brilliant he is. And it’s coincidental that his album was the 100th rehearse but it fits perfectly into my musical philosophy. One of my best friends, one of my favorite musicians, one of my strongest albums.”
Added Pavkovic, whose own personal record collection includes 12,000 albums, “I like different styles of music,” he added. “I have very eclectic tastes. Of course, I have my preferences, but I always say to people, ‘Look, I don’t eat Chinese food every day. I eat different foods.’ That’s why we need different music. And that’s how I want my label represented. I don’t like to be jazz label, progressive label or fusion label. I just want to be a label of music that I like.”