|Skirmantas Sasnauskas Quartet (Lithuania):
Skirmantas Sasnauskas - voc, tb, bagpipe,
Juozas Milašius - g,
Šarūnas Kačionas - bn, dbn,
Zigmantas Augaitis - frhn
Skirmantas Sasnauskas Quartet will symbolically open the fifteenth Vilnius Jazz Festival: exactly the same Quartet in 1987 has opened the first Vilnius Jazz Festival, held in the hall of the Academy of Sciences. During those fifteen years, the leader and trombonist of the Quartet became known as a representative of experimental jazz, a very colourful creator of ethnic jazz and a vocalist. This year Skirmantas Sasnauskas will try a new style: he is going to present the Festival audience an original synthesis of jazz, folk and academic music. For that purpose he had gathered a very unexpected quartet, which he himself called "as colourful as life". Here, together with jazz musicians and improvisers, even such extreme ones as the guitarist Juozas Milašius, will also perform academic musicians: the bassoonist Šarūnas Kačionas and the hornist Zigmantas Augaitis. To tell the truth, both "classics" know "the language of jazz": they are the members of Vladimir Tarasov's Lithuanian Art Orchestra (LAO). This Skirmantas Sasnauskas Quartet was gathered specially for Džiazas Lietuvoje (Jazz in Lithuania), the cultural program for the Frankfurt Book Fair. However, the Quartet has already performed in The Shortest Night'2002, the International Contest in Pärnu, Estonia, where they won the third award for their lullaby
For many years Skirmantas Sasnauskas have been performing together with Juozas Milašius, whose performing used to be an object of hot discussions. Juozas Milašius has experimented the total free jazz, and the potential of noise, as well as various ways of creating alternative sound. He used to provoke both sympathies and opposition of the audience, was known as the most non-compromise Lithuanian jazz musician. Recently he does not frequently appear on the Lithuanian jazz venue. Juozas Milašius debuted in 1986, together with Petras Vyšniauskas Quartet. He is a guitarist, composer and the author of various performances. Juozas Milašius worked with Vladimir Chekasin, Vytautas Labutis, Vladimir Tarasov, Tomas Kutavičius, etc. ensembles, used to play solo and, together with the drummer Dalius Naujokaitis, used to experiment in various genres, even on the stage In 1989 he founded his own ensemble, called Gitarmanija. This year he enlarged his instrumentation with computers and recorded his first solo CD, which he called the j.m.eilė. Juozas Milašius has performed with various ensembles and on various European jazz venues.
The academic pole of the Quartet is represented by the bassoonist Šarūnas Kačionas, who studied music at M.K.Čiurlionis Gymnasium of Arts, Šiauliai Conservatoire and the Lithuanian Academy of Music. He also studied privately and at Mozarteum, the summer course in Zalcburg. The musician is a laureate of various local and international contests. From 1983 he works as a musician with the National Symphonic Orchestra, and from 1988 he is a concertmaster of the bassoon group of the State Symphonic Orchestra. Since 1993 he teaches at the Lithuanian Academy of Music. In 1993 Šarunas Kačionas established the Wooden Winds Quintet, in 1995 the Bassoon Quartet, called Vilniaus Fagotynas (the Vilnius Bassoons), and in 1999 he organised Fagotissimus, an international project that has no analogues. Šarunas Kačionas is a performer and promoter of the Lithuanian contemporary academic music.
The hornist Zigmantas Augaitis studied music at M.K.Čiurlionis Gymnasium of Arts, and at N.Rimski-Korsakov Conservatoire in St.Petersburg. He used to work at Klaipėdos Laudies Opera (Klaipėda Folk Opera), performed with the Klaipėda Brass Winds Quartet. Since 1990 he is a concertmaster of the horn group of the State Symphonic Orchestra, and he is also a member of the Wooden Winds Quintet. The musician is a laureate of various local and international contests.
Skirmantas Sasnauskas's Quintet prepared for the Festival "the leader's composition", where the variety of jazz styles was combined with academic and folk music.
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė