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Vilnius Jazz Fest October 14-17 2021

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    Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 10:44am
Pandemic Vilnius Jazz 2021 just offered some old and few new names, mostly within its avant-garde tradition

The program has been opened by fest old friend Sainkho Namtchylak, this time she came as duo with Japanese Kazuhisa Uchihashi



Edited by snobb - 17 Oct 2021 at 10:52am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snobb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2021 at 1:34pm

VILNIUS JAZZ JEST GOES BIG FOR 34TH EDITION

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2021

The Vilnius Jazz Festival made a triumphant return for its 34th edition this year and as the oldest annual jazz event in Lithuania’s capital, showed another and a more international face again, with a big band on stage every night - Christoph Giese reports back 

The Portuguese spared no effort to be part of Vilnius Jazz 2021. They flew from Lisbon to Warsaw and then travelled by bus to the Lithuanian capital. That takes several hours. But with an 18-member travel group, you have to see what is financially possible to realise such a trip. The Lisbon Underground Music Ensemble, or L.U.M.E. for short, took the stress of the journey upon themselves. And it was worth it for everyone involved. For the musicians of the big band, who were in Lithuania for the first time. And for the listeners, who got to hear a wonderfully weird, improvisational-compositional music trip through the jazz history of the 20th century, spiced with ironic humour.

Improvisation is very important to the two Japanese musicians Sainkho Namtchylak and Kazuhisa Uchihashi. As a duo, the singer and vocal artist and the guitarist, saxophone player and sound tinkerer abducted the spellbound audience on the stage of the venerable Russian Drama Theatre in Vilnius into ever more surprising worlds of sound. The fact that bluesy passages suddenly emerge and how this congenial duo knows how to play with sounds - you have to get involved, but then you discover the fascination and beauty of what they do.

For three evenings, the festival offered young Lithuanian bands the opportunity to present themselves to a gratifyingly large and young audience at a second, hip venue in the late evening, always after the main concerts in the theatre. Kornelijus Pukinskis, for example, a fiery, wild saxophonist, introduced himself. Or with "BoB", an imaginative quartet that slowly built up their set with the help of electronics and sounds in order to draw the listener into the ever louder and more dynamic world of sound. Also in the theatre on the last day of the festival, young Lithuanian bands were allowed to present themselves to a jury of experts and audience members, who were also allowed to vote - in the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition. 

This year, festival director Antanas Gustys had the good idea to give Dalius Naujokaitis an entire evening at the Russian Drama Theatre. The Lithuanian drummer has been living in New York for a quarter of a century and is very well connected in the avant-garde and free jazz scene there. With a few exceptions, and of course performances in his home country of Lithuania, he is rarely seen in Europe. So the evening with him was a real discovery - and a real experience. Already with the quartet Suo Suo, with electric guitarist Ava Mendoza, electric bassist Simon Jermyn and saxophonist Jonathon Haffner, Naujokaitis thrilled with his sometimes explosive, and above all always very imaginative drumming in rocky, intricate soundscapes. But that was only the prelude to a gigantic spectacle. This in turn began in an even smaller formation as a tribute to the late Lithuanian-American film director and author Jonas Mekas. With exalted Italian reciters and choral voices, humming and flute-like sounds from the darkness of the theatre balconies. But at some point they were all on stage. The many-voiced choir, lots of wind players, half a dozen percussionists, and other musicians, over 50 in all. Always conducted by Dalius Naujokaitis or Jonathon Haffner. You can't really put the music into words, you just had to see it. How improvisation and strictly composed passages, never confined to stylistic boundaries, combined so well in such a huge body of sound, that was great to see and hear. Even the constitution of the Free Republic of Užupis, a trendy district on the edge of the old town of Vilnius, proclaimed ever more loudly by a choir singer, was integrated into this memorable performance at the end.

This NoJo Airlines Ensemble can be seen, although in a smaller cast, on November 20 at London´s Barbican, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival – even for free.

Large formations were heard on each of the four festival days this year. For example, the Large Unit of the Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, who combined ecstatic moments with ingenious structures, in which sometimes only parts of the formation were playing. Wild liberties within composed cornerstones offered an interesting listening pleasure. But such an exciting large formation can also be found right on the doorstep, so to speak. The Lithuanian Improdimensija Orchestra, created by the initiative of two masters of Lithuanian improvised music, Liudas Mockūnas and Arnas Mikalkėnas, showed the whole range of improvised music.

A worthy final chord to the 34th edition of the oldest annual jazz festival in Vilnius.

from www.jazzwise.com



Edited by snobb - 04 Nov 2021 at 1:35pm
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