October 3, the first day
October 4, the second day
|October 5, the last day of the festival
Every festival has an official and an inofficial opening: old friends meet in the hotel or at the way to the stage, before the official program starts.
Ismailov, Bjork, Feiler, Batashov, Manoukhian
Vladimir Resitzki and Aleksej Batashov opened the festival with a speech to the audience, with some memories of the past 15 years of jazzhistory in Northrussia and with a traditional ceremony: bread and salt for a good result.
Batashov and Resitzki
Needless to mention once more, that this festival, organized by Vladimir Resitzki since 15 years, is the most interesting Jazzfestival in Russia (and one of the best organized festivals, too). Resitzki always presented a lucky choice of new jazz, traditional jazz, new music; local musicians played here as well as international stars. By this, the jazzfestival opened a window to the world. Please note, that the first one happened in 1982, in the socalled years of stagnation! I am sure, these events brought some movement into this leaden time!
This year, as the JazzDays were announced to be the last festival, a haze of melancholy was in the air. The festival took not place in the Seamen's Club like the years before but in the City Cultural Center and in some ways, the list of participating artists was like a list of old friends. Maybe the unspoken motto was to gather old friends for a last time more than to present innovative musicians or young ensembles. This is not a critique!
And than the music started: the Chamber Orchestra Arkhangelsk presented a piece of Gya Khancheli, the melancholic composer from Armenia. V. Anufriev, the leader of this ensemble, is very open to new music and the musicians are brilliant.
Vladimir Makarov, cello, is one of the old friends. For more than 20 years follows his ideas, as a musician and as a painter. This year, he came with a dancer and a big roll of aluminian foil. First he unwrapped his wrapped cello, than the dancer joined. This performance failed somehow: no matter what the dancer did, Makarov just concentrated on his playing.
There was a third performer: a curious cat strolled around the stage or sat down and listened. She had what I call stage-feeling: she always choose the very visible places on stage to sit.
Enver Ismailov, the guitar player from Ukraina, gave a great concert.
His music is full of energy and vitality, he plays the tunes of the crimea-tartars, blended with rockrhythm or improvisations. He loves to play with a double-neck guitar or with two guitars at the same time, and sometimes his virtuosity is stronger than artistic content and he is criticized for that, but:
he wins the heart with his charisma.
I will present some of his tunes here soon, as he presented me some of his tapes, and there will be a more intensive portrait of him at Av@ntart.
The Sergej Shuranov-Trio from Moscow followed the current russian trend: to mix traditional or ethnic music with some modern elements. Elena Katsalina (voc) and Galina Masitova (violin) had the traditional part: a great voice and a virtous violin, accompanied by a depressive, strict electro-bass. A russian folksong ("where is my man?"), a vivid violin from Kemerovo and a lulling guitar. Not very inspired and not very sensitive.
This gig was interrupted by some people from the audience, who just climbed the stage and asked for autographs: a new way of behaving for me.
And than there came Sergej Manoukhian, the armenian musician, with a great love for Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. He plays keyboard and he sings with his whole heart.
Sometimes, I have a problem with this kind of music: I ask myself: why do they play this? Why do they play american pop, as they are no americans, as they have other roots and other traditions? The musicians are often very virtous, but why they do this?
Concerning Manoukhian, the answer is evident: he invokes the soul, and his soul lives in Hollywood, in a bar.
That is his credo and people believe him. The audience loves him, as they understand that this man lives his music. May it be anachronistic or not...
Marylin Crispell, the worldknown piano-player, was invited to perform with Vladimir Resitzki and Vladimir Tarasov. But she simply forgot to apply for a russian visum and couldn't come.
So the last gig of the evening was a quartett: the two Vladimirs together with a bassplayer and a guitarist.
Aleksej Batashov declared the stage to be closed and invited the audience to the small hall, where a night-program was going to take place.
We retired to the backstage room, where tobacco smoke, friends and wodka waited for us.