"As the Orient Express trains was binding Paris with Istanbul passing through the main cultural towns of the Europe, so the music of the Orient Express group is putting together the Western thinking and the flavours of the Orient" (Harry Tavitian).

HARRY TAVITIAN - piano, leader
ZSOLT MEIER - alto sax
EDI NEUMANN - tenor sax
JIMI EL LAKO - violin
MARIO FLORESCU - drums, percussion

Sax player Mihai Iordache is born in 1967 in Bucharest. At the beginning he was playing blockflote. In 1986 he meets Harry Tavitian and plays with him many times. Playing alto sax since 1987. Between 1993 and 1999 is playing with the group "Sarmalele Reci" issuing three records. Between 1994 and 1997 is playing with the group Jazz Unit
Sax Player Zsolt Maier is born 1974 in Satu Mare. Graduated in automation engineering. Beginning to play with the "Gaio" big-band from Cluj in 1995, apparition at Corynthos (Greece) jazz festival 1998. Since 1997 is playing with his own progressive rock group Kumm, issuing the audio cassette "Moonsweat March" (2000).
Sax player Edi Neumann is born in 1974 in Tulcea. At the age of 13 is becoming a fan of jazz music. Since 1990 is studying sax. Since 1996 is playing with the Jazz Unit group, issuing the CD "Changes" and "From Now On". Founder of the "Blazzaj" funk group in 1997, and of the jazz group "Bauman Quartet" in 1999.
Violin and guitar player Jimi El Lako is born in 1962 in Cluj, in a musicians' family. Violin and piano studies at the Music High School in Cluj.
Bass player Octavian Barila Andreescu is born in 1961 in Cluj, where was studying the violin and the piano at the Music High School.
Guitar player Hanno Hoefer is born in 1968 in Timisoara. Movie director graduated at Theatre and Film University of Bucharest, is directing several fiction and documentary short movies. His movie "Calling abroad" is winning more awards in Romania and abroad. Playing with some Romanian and foreign blues groups.
Together with Jimi El Lako and Octavian Barila Andreescu is founder of "Nightloosers" group in 1995, issuing the audio cassette "Sitting on the Top of the World" and "Plum Brandy Blues" CD.
Drummer Mario Florescu is born in 1967 in Oravita. Graduated at the Music Academy from Cluj, percussion class of the professor Grigore Pop. Is playing contemporary chamber music with the Percussion Ensemble of the Music Academy and the Pro Musica Nova Quartet, both from Cluj, at several festivals and concerts in Romania and abroad. He played with Vienna Europe Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with Bolshoi Ballet Company from Moscow. In 1998 is founding the Shabah group playing at the Corynthos jazz festival in Greece and at the Lisbon World Exhibition.

Jimi El Lako, Octavian Barila Andreescu si Hanno Hoefer are founders of Nightlosers group (1995) issuing "Sitting On Top Of The World" MC and "Plum Brandy Blues" CD.

The first public appearance of the "Orient Express" group was at the beginning of the 1999 year.

(Photos by Giani Oprina and Marius Macsentian.)

Press comments about Orient Express

Friday, March 5, explosive atmosphere at "Laptaria lui Enache". It was the presentation of a supergroup including the "crème de la crème » of the young jazz and blues musicians from Romania. The leader of this ethno-jazz project is one of the Romania's most appreciated jazzmen of the last 20 years, Harry Tavitian. He demonstrates that he is not only an excellent piano player, a master of improvisation, an explosive showman, but also a very inspired band leader. (Iulian Ignat - Formula As, 1999, March 29 - April 4)

Interested since twenty years by the insertion of the folkloric themes and patterns in his music, integrated last years in several multinational music groups including Eastern Europe musicians, Tavitian decided to reiterate such exciting artistic experiences together with young Romanian musicians, by Orient Express group. (Florian Lungu - Curentul, 1999, April 14)

Concerts of the group in Bucharest, Constanta, Iasi, Timisoara, Brasov, Bistrita, Costinesti, Ipotesti. Invited at Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington D.C., the most important festival of the traditions (1999, June), and at World Exhibition Hannover (2000, August).

Nine musicians from Romania are binding the tradition and the modernity in an explosive mixture (Ulrike Strauch - Expo Journal, 19 August 2000).