Dainius Pulauskas. Suite for jazz group and symphony orchestra
History of union between jazz and symphonic music begins with P.Whiteman's orchestra and G.Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and today it counts its eighth decade. However, Lithuanian attempts in this field have been very meagre so far, with more typical form of it being an initiative of academic musicians to inlay jazz ensemble or a soloist in an orchestra (as in compositions by A.Rekašius, O.Balakauskas, V.Bartulis, and Z.Bružaitė).
Thus this year Vilnius Jazz festival's opening concert is unique in that it presents synthesis of jazz and symphonic music inspired by a jazz musician. The concert will feature Lithuanian experts of their own art - Dainius Pulauskas' jazz group and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, led by maestro Gintaras Rinkevičius.
Without doubt, Suite for jazz group and symphony orchestra, carried in Dainius Pulauskas' mind for several years, will meet the expectations of both jazz and academic music aficionados. In seven-movement suite the listeners will experience symbiosis of jazz and symphonism, in which sound palette of the celebrated jazz group will merge with lush tones of the symphony orchestra. In this score the composer addressed not only rich timbral possibilities of a symphony orchestra in general but also the orchestra's strong facets - its percussion section as well as vibraphone and marimba. In this composition, based on synthesis of academic and free forms, the composer toys with various jazz elements - rhythmic criss-cross between orchestra, jazz group and soloists, and jazz reefs tinted in orchestral colours. In Dainius Pulauskas' new composition the attentive listener will recognise auto-quotes adorned with new orchestral colouring.
Dainius Pulauskas is one of the most outstanding Lithuanian jazz musicians, skilful pianist and keyboardist, exceptional leader and extraordinary composer. He started playing piano and violin in his childhood, and graduated from Vilnius conservatoire and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre as a pianist. D.Pulauskas tried his hand at composition and arranging while playing in Oktava orchestra, which he joined in 1981. Since 1996 he has led his own ensembles - a quintet which soon grew into a sextet and became one the most outstanding and active Lithuanian jazz groups, a kind of an ambassador of Lithuanian jazz. D.Pulauskas-composer can be credited for the ensemble's success.
Known as the leader, keyboardist and composer of the aforementioned ensemble, Dainius Pulauskas is active as a pianist as well. While still a student he won the Piano Improvisation Competition. As a member of Oktava he has toured throughout the world. Since his jazz debut with Skirmantas Sasnauskas' Jazz Quartet in 1990, the pianist has collaborated with almost all Lithuanian jazz celebrities.
Besides working with his own group, D.Pulauskas also plays solo. The pianist has released solo album Moods (2000), appeared in international jazz festivals (Piano Stars Festival Liepaja'99 (Latvia) and International Piano Jazz Festival in Prague (2001). He also collaborates with trumpeter Valerijus Ramoška, plays in Leonid Shinkarenko's ensembles and the LRT big band.
The musician has earned a number of awards: Bravo (1998) for the best Lithuanian jazz musician (first and the only award for jazz musician); Grand Prix for the best arrangement of Yesterday by J.Lennon and P.McCartney at the International Competition Yesterday Pärnu'99 (Estonia); Grand Prix at the Birštonas Jazz'2000; with his own Sextet he garnered Gold Disc awarded by the Lithuanian Musicians' Union (2001) and LT tapatybė 2004 for promulgation of Lithuanian jazz awarded by the Lithuanian Institute.
"Pulauskas and his colleagues play the best fusion you could find. Variety of their expression means is staggering. It is a topsy-turvy of madcap swinging and rhythms, and the purest, unembellished jazz. It is obvious, that the leader of the group pianist Pulauskas and his friends are all excellent arrangers; there is always place for improvisations in their precisely calculated arrangements.< > It was long ago that I have heard jazz masters of such a talent", wrote Swedish critic Bo Levender about Dainius Pulauskas and his group.
Dainius Pulauskas Group made its debut as a Quintet in Birštonas Jazz festival in 1996. Soon it grew to a Sextet. Its first album Penetration released in 1997 marked the beginning of a resolute spurt. Almost in no time Dainius Pulauskas Group became one of the leading Lithuanian jazz groups and earned wide international recognition. The group released 4 CD's - Penetration (1997), 1999 (1999), Autumn Suite (1999), Colours (2004) and 1 DVD Trajectories (2004).
Trumpeter Valerijus Ramoška is an original member of Dainius Pulauskas Group. He has been active on jazz scene since 1990 appearing with Egidijus Buožis', Danielius Praspaliauskis', Vytautas Labutis', Vladimir Chekasin's, Vladimir Tarasov's, Petras Vyšniauskas', Skirmantas Sasnauskas' ensembles to name but a few, playing in Traffic quartet, and international project DenissJazz World Project. The trumpeter also works in LRT big band, and is on a faculty at the Vilnius Conservatoire.
Saxophonist Vytautas Labutis has played in Dainius Pulauskas Group since 1998. He has collaborated with almost all Lithuanian jazzmen; is a member of Leonid Shinkarenko Jazz 4, Vilnius-Jazz Quartet, Lithuanian Art Orchestra and Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra; participates in international projects: Jazz Baltica Ensemble (lead. D.Murray, N.Pedersen, M.Schneider, D.Bates, and others), Octet Ost III, East-West Vapirov Project, New European Saxophone Quartet and Moscow Composers Orchestra. V.Labutis also collaborates with various composers of academic music. Since his international career was launched with P.Vyšniauskas Quartet in 1982, as a part of various ensembles he has performed all around Europe, the United States (Ford Montreux Jazz Festival in Detroit), Australia, Asia (jazz festivals in China and India); has recorded 40 albums, among them - 3 personal.
V.Labutis is an extraordinary leader - often a centre of various jazz events - a multi-faceted musician: inventive improviser, composer, pedagogue, multiinstrumentalist, unequalled wind player and keyboardist. V.Labutis is a universal musician at home in both free improvisations and fixed structures, chamber formations such as Lithuanian Jazz Trio and duo with double-bassist E.Kanevičius and large ensembles such as Lithuanian jazz stars' Octet (formed in 1997) featured in his album Terra Vandetuja, a project for young Lithuanian jazzmen Orkestretto, programs with St.Christopher Chamber Orchestra, project for Vilnius-Jazz Quartet and folk group Sutaras.
Besides jazz the saxophonist plays academic music with symphony orchestra, contemporary music ensembles, takes part in performances, is a member of the ensemble of Indian music, writes music for film and theatre. For his contributions to Lithuanian jazz V.Labutis was presented with Birštonas Jazz'96 Grand Prix.
Bassist Leonid Shinkarenko has joined the Dainius Pulauskas Group a year ago. During his professional career, spanning almost quarter of a century, the acoustic and electric bass virtuoso and composer has collaborated with musicians of various trends, took part in 60 recordings. He started his career in jazz in 1981 as a member of his teacher Vladimir Chekasin's Quartet. In 1982-1989 he played in a legendary Petras Vyšniauskas' Quartet, later in Džiazo nublokšti Quintet, Vilnius Jazz Quartet, Lithuanian Art Orchestra, Gedo Syndicat, Lithuanian Jazz Trio, as well as collaborated with Indian music ensemble Svara (2001) and Vilniaus mušamieji (2003).
As a leader L.Shinkarenko made his debut in 1997 with an album Saggitarius, presenting original compositions. Leonid Shinkarenko Jazz 4 featured on this recording was a basis for Shinkarenko's future ensembles - Quintet, Septet. As a member of various ensembles, the bassist performed on jazz scenes throughout Europe. Besides performing, L.Shinkarenko is involved in a pedagogical work, and also organises Nida jazz marathon, which has grown into Nida jazz festival.
Linas Būda has been drumming in the Dainius Pulauskas Group since 1994. In the past a member of rock ensembles, the drummer turned to jazz in 1987, played in S.Sasnauskas', D.Praspaliauskis', E.Kanevičius' ensembles. Linas Būda often joins other Lithuanian jazzmen in various jazz projects, is a member of LRT big band, and appears in international projects.
A member of the Dainius Pulauskas Group Arkady Gotesman is a universal drummer and ingenious percussionist. He has played on a professional jazz scene since 1982: worked in Trimitas wind orchestra and Oktava ensemble, and started playing jazz in G.Abarius Trio. Since 1990 he has collaborated with P.Vyšniauskas and V.Ganelin and since 1994 - with D.Pulauskas. Known as a conceptual musician, A.Gotesman has played with a number of diverse musicians, such as Ch.Bauman, R.Dahinden, J.Siron, V.Ganelin, P.Vyšniauskas, V.Volkov, V.Gaivoronski, Fr.Studer, J.Sooaar, and almost all Lithuanian jazz masters; participated in numerous recordings. As a soloist and a member of various ensembles A.Gotesman took part in many jazz festivals. In additions to playing jazz, he performs contemporary academic music, appears in contemporary music festivals, writes scenarios for performances and installations, and collaborates with actors and modern dancers, as well as symphony orchestras. Arkady Gotesman writes music for theatre and performs it live on stage.
The well-known jazz group will be joined by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) whose founder, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor is Gintaras Rinkevičius. Even though the main core of the Orchestra's repertoire consists of opuses by classical through contemporary composers, the creative collective does not desist trying unusual experiments in the symphonic music sphere such as genre synthesis. Among LSSO's previous undertakings are Giedrius Kuprevičius' Decaphonia for ten jazz soloists and symphony orchestra performed at the Kaunas Jazz festival; performance with the legendary rock group Electric Light Orchestra, appearance in a program Classical Metamorphoses together with pop and rock singers.
During 16 years of its existence, the LSSO gave more than 900 concerts at home and abroad. Every season the Orchestra adds new works to its repertoire: symphonic masterpieces, large-scale vocal-symphonic compositions, concertos, and works by the distinguished Lithuanian composers. Among the Orchestra's exceptional projects are all symphonies by Gustav Mahler and Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as 9 operas - an unprecedented undertaking by a Lithuanian symphony orchestra. The Orchestra often collaborates with the stars of the music world. The LSSO has recorded 15 CDs.
In 1996-2003, Rinkevičius was the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Latvian National Opera. In 1997 and 2000 for his contributions to Latvian musical culture he was awarded the Great Music Prize of Latvia. In 1998 Rinkevičius made his Swedish Opera debut in the Göteborg Opera, and in 1999 he accepted invitation from the Oslo Opera. Since 2002 Gintaras Rinkevičius has been the Chief Conductor at the Malmö Opera in Sweden. In 2003, Gintaras Rinkevičius was invited to conduct at the Russian Bolshoy Theatre and the Moscow Ballet. He also has produced and conducted shows at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.
In 1998 Gintaras Rinkevičius was decorated with the Order of Norwegian Kingdom "for achievements" (Den KGL Norske Fortjenstorden), and in 2004 - the Order of the Portugal (Ordem do Merito Comendador). Maestro is a bearer of the Three Star Order of Latvia.© Jūratė Kučinskaitė
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