Are you asking, what does Lithuanian jazz sound like these days? The answer, my dear sonic nomad, is right here. You’re about to listen, if you are not listening yet, to the Note Jazz from Lithuania 2020 compilation, the key to the rich and diverse Lithuanian jazz tradition.
The compilation is well balanced to cater for everyone’s tastes. It has a strong focus on the free jazz genre that has become synonymous with our country’s music scene. This is very much linked to the history of Lithuanian jazz and, in particular, to the creation of the legendary Ganelin-Tarasov-Chekasin Trio in 1971. Three guys – the pianist and composer Vyacheslav Ganelin, the percussionist Vladimir Tarasov and the saxophonist Vladimir Chekasin – basically rewrote the jazz rulebook and had a tremendous influence on the bulk of Lithuanian musicians who inherited a non-canonical jazz attitude.
Given that, the Note Jazz from Lithuania 2020 compilation presents its compliments to the deeply rooted free and avantgarde jazz tradition and gives a great overview of what has been going on recently with these genres. The album includes a mind-blowing double bass solo by rising Lithuanian star Aurelijus Užameckis; a provocative and shocking act by the trio Dalius-Naujokaitis-Naujo / Jonathon Haffner / Adas Gecevičius; an organic electro-free jazz track by Jan Maksimowicz and Dmitry Golovanov; musique concrète and jazz symbiosis by the miraculous young sax quartet Katarsis4; and, last but not least, the most prominent Lithuanian reed player Liudas Mockūnas, who presents a thrilling improvisation accompanied by the Spanish piano virtuoso Agustí Fernández.
If you consider yourself to be traditional jazz lover, you mustn’t be concerned at all. The Lithuanian scene has much more than just collectives or musicians drifting towards the free or avantgarde direction. Note Jazz from Lithuania 2020 gives a chance to discover swing era specialists The Schwings Band; to meet the gifted singers Viktorija Gečytė and Viktorija Pilatovič; to sink into a romantic mood with an intimate ballad by the Mindaugas Stumbras Trio feat. Mindaugas Vadoklis; or simply to satisfy your curiosity by listening to world/folk-style compositions by CinAmono and Girmantė Vaitkutė & the Andrej Polevikov Trio.
Note Jazz from Lithuania 2020 has enough room for those who are looking for a modern sound as well. You’ll find an R&B/soul composition by saxophonist Leonardas Pilkauskas; a strikingly cosmic nu-jazz track by the Lithuanian-Irish trio, formed in Scotland, Quark Effect; a nostalgic fusion piece by the well-known sextet Brave Noises; and a ground-breaking work by the big band Reinless.
Before pushing play, if you haven’t done that already, one note of warning – what is heard cannot be unheard. So, prepare yourself for an unforgettable ride on the Lithuanian jazz roller-coaster. Alea iacta est!
Compiled and released by
Lithuanian Jazz Federation
Music Information Centre Lithuania
Note Jazz from Lithuania 2020 is a collaborative effort between the Lithuanian Jazz Federation and the Music Information Centre Lithuania. By combining Jazz from Lithuania, an annual compilation of the Lithuanian Jazz Federation and Note Lithuania, a promotional music series of the Music Information Centre Lithuania, two organisations celebrate their partnership and expansion of the promotional scope.
Supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania