Pianist, Musician, Author
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The awareness that music has flowed through her body and soul has been apparent since childhood. Classical music is capable of a deep bond, a strong connection, between the composer, the interpreter and the listener, and this is something Nikol adores and, through her playing, what was a set of notes on a page transforms into a range of emotions, feelings and stories everyone can relate to in some way or other. The combination of being intimate, sensitive, fragile and, at the same time, strong and open, is what drives Nikol's desire to play.
SOLEIL ET PLUIE ソレイユ エ プリュイ
NIKOL BÓKOVÁ PUBLISHES HER FOURTH ALBUM “ELEMENTS” AND ESTABLISHES A RECORDING LABEL.
"Soleil et Pluie, SEP for short, arises primarily from the need for absolute freedom in all the creative processes that accompany the creation of a music album. Jan and I embark on a new adventure, which, very surprisingly, turned out to be a natural step on our journey," Nikol says, and Jan adds: “Sun and rain cannot be commanded. They have the freedom to do what they like, and no one can predict, with certainty, what will happen next. They are a source of happiness and unhappiness and can arouse emotions in people, regardless of their inclination to one or another. They are one of the most common themes of the people on planet Earth. Let the music we will release be just like that.
NIKOL'S FOURTH ALBUM
After the albums Inner Place (2019), Unravel (2020), and Prometheus (2021) comes the album Elements (2022), which Nikol composed for the newly formed group, performing under the name Nikol Bokova Quartet. This line-up consists of guitarist David Doruzka, who has already collaborated with Nikol on the album Prometheus, double bass player Martin Kocian and drummer Michał Wierzgon, who both are permanent members of the Nikol Bokova Trio.
Elements is released by Soleil et Pluie (Sun and Rain), a record label founded this year by Nikol Bóková and Jan Vala. The Elements, therefore, occupies the ceremonial role of the first album released.
The main Nikol’s inspiration for composing this music became classical elements – earth, water, air, fire, aether, and cosmos, and the vision of the artistic abilities of specific artists for whom she creates her music.
"If I were to try some genre specifications, I would say that compared to my previous albums, Elements are here and there more classic, in some places, there is more jazz, elsewhere more pop and at times definitely more rock," says Nikol, adding that, as in previous albums, her compositional style was again based on searching and discovering within her own musical world, which apparently continues to expand.
From the first review by Jindrich Göth:
"At times, it recalls King Crimson's dreaminess and philosophical thoughtfulness of the Starless And Bible Black period, at other times is rock-emphatic, pop-telling, but at each moment exciting, rich, and light at the same time. The individual motifs follow each other with ease and self-evidentness. It is not just a cluster of songs, but a carefully thought-out whole."
The third album by pianist and composer NIKOL BÓKOVÁ is released just one year after her previous one, Unravel (2020), which had been preceded by Bóková’s debut, Inner Place, nominated for an Anděl Award in 2019. Her Prometheus colleagues are the world-renowned French-horn player RADEK BABORÁK, foremost Czech guitarist DAVID DORŮŽKA, award-winning double-bassist JAROMÍR HONZÁK and extraordinary drummer MICHAŁ WIERZGOŃ. All are important representatives of two musical worlds – jazz and classical music – which Nikol has been originally and sensitively combining in her work.
The title track of the album Prometheus won the competition for the best jazz track of the year 2021, announced by the OSA (Copyright Protection Association for the Rights to Musical Works).
Album Prometheus won the Anděl Award 2021 in a jazz category, awarded by the Czech Music Academy.
"...Put simply, Unravel is a fantastic record. Nikol Bóková is clearly a talent worth watching, and, however she progresses, Unravel will absolutely stand on its own as a great piece of work. Bóková has presented something evocative and powerful here; it’s also hard to imagine a better record for the ears as we head into colder months..." TJ Abbonizio, Jazz London News
The album INNER PLACE is characterized by great compositional and interpretive maturity, while it also breathes with the fresh energy of a debut that witnesses an author discovering new musical worlds. These compositions are perfectly polished miniatures, simple in form yet echoing the harmonic and melodic complexity of classical piano literature. Her brilliant technique and dynamic keystrokes, as defined by her extensive experience in classical music interpretation, is unique to the world of the jazz piano.
Nikol's debut album Inner Place was nominated for the Anděl Award 2019 in the category of the best jazz album.
“I consider this music as ‘songs’; songs in which I can directly tell a story. As opposed to classical music, I view this as a more immediate, in some sense simpler way to express my emotions. I don’t feel any need to pertain to a particular genre.”
NIKOL BÓKOVÁ TRIO
The need to create
The trio - piano, double bass, and drums - this combination of sounds and instruments are the closest Nikol has found as a core of perfectly expressing the musical language she wishes to convey.
Martin Kocián – double bass
Michał Wierzgoń – drums
Nikol Bóková is a musician dedicated to many genres of music. As a performer of classical music, her repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary music but the 19th and 20th Century periods are a primary focus. At the same time, she is an extraordinary author of her own, unique music.
Her work draws on her training as a classical pianist and combines elements of jazz, classical music, pop music, modern rock and minimalism. Over the space of four years, she recorded four albums that met with high critical acclaim. Her debut album INNER PLACE, which was nominated for the Czech Music Academy Award, and the second album, UNRAVEL, she recorded with Michał Wierzgoń and Martin Kocián, who are foremost jazz musicians of the young generation. The third album PROMETHEUS was released in May 2021, less than a year after the release of Unravel. For the recording of Prometheus Nikol invited remarkable jazz musicians David Dorůžka and Jaromír Honzák, and world-renown French horn player Radek Baborák. In March 2022 she recorded her fourth author album in a line-up of the quartet when she decided to extend her trio by David Dorůžka.
While all previous albums were released by Animal Music label, Elements was released by SOLEIL ET PLUIE (Sun and Rain), a record label founded this year by Nikol Bóková and Jan Vala. The Elements, therefore, occupies the ceremonial role of the first album released.
Besides composition, Nikol has pursued a solo career as a pianist, she regularly appears with foremost Czech orchestras, she performs solo recitals on Czech and European stages. She's performed at the festivals such as Viva Musica!, Hybatelé Rezonance, Janáčkův máj, JazzFestBrno, Americké Jaro, or Summartónar.
In collaboration with the visual artist Jan Vala, she has co-authored audiovisual project CATAPLASM, within which she works not only as a composer but also as an editor and screenwriter.
Nikol's recent successes are the Anděl Award 2021 for the album Prometheus in a jazz category, awarded by the Czech Music Academy, the Anděl Award nomination for the best jazz album of the year 2019 for her debut Inner Place, second prize in the survey of the Czech journalists and promoters for the album Unravel, first prize in the survey of the Czech journalists and promoters for the album Prometheus, a nomination for the Jantar prize in the category of the best soloist of the year 2020 for Unravel, first prize in the competition of the Central European Jazz Showcase 2021, or an award for the best jazz composition of the year 2021 for the piece Prometheus, awarded by OSA.
JAN & NIKOL
and their collaboration
Jan Vala has been an integral part of Nikol's artistic life for many years. Because of their love for music, basically everything they do is connected to it. Several years ago they established a project called Cataplasm which now works as an audiovisual production, under which they create documentaries and many other things that revolve around music. In the spring of 2022, they founded their own record label Soleil et Pluie. It has become a huge part of their lives.
If you like what Nikol and Jan do, you are welcomed to watch their videos, listen to their music, buy an album released by their label or share what they do with others. And if you would like to support them on their creative journey, you can do so also by becoming their Patron on the platform Patreon.
May 5: Gelsenkirchen, Consol Theatre – Nikol Bóková Trio
May 6: Dortmund, Domicil – Nikol Bóková Trio
May 7: Essen, JazzNacht Zollverein – Nikol Bóková Trio
May 8: Köln, Stadtgarten – Nikol Bóková Trio
May 22: Ostrava, Czech Music Crossroads – Nikol Bóková Quartet
June 9: Mladá Boleslav, Rok na 4 doby – Nikol Bóková Quartet
July 31: Liptovský Mikuláš, Mikulášsky Jazzový Festival – Nikol Bóková Quartet
August 11: Bratislava, Viva Musica! – Prometheus Live Premiere
September 7: London, PizzaExpress Jazz Club – Nikol Bóková Trio
October 3: Prague, Hybatelé Rezonance – Nikol Bóková Solo
November 28: Ostrava, Camerata Janacek – solo with a string orchestra
November 30: Ostrava, Hudební současnost – Nikol Bóková Trio
December 1: Brno, Setkávání Nové Hudby Plus – Nikol Bóková solo