Vilnius Jazz presents Lithuania's new generation of jazz - quintet Riot, an assembly of the most active and fascinating jazz musicians. Promising and ambitious young Lithuanians do not limit themselves to skilful playing, as they are able to and have what to say. Through original compositions and free improvisations they find their own way of expressing their own life values. The group's artistic criteria are encoded in its title - riot. "Riot's music is a revolt against domination of modern "pop" culture and global commercialisation over the art and moral values", explain ensemble members.
Even tough ensemble members have been performing together in various projects for several years already, the group's line-up set up only at the beginning of this year. Since then, Riot has appeared in jazz clubs, and in summer concert series organised by the Polish Culture Institute, has won the Grand Prix at the first International Jazz Competition Hope of Jazz and gave concert at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic.
Even tough members of the rebellious Riot are young musicians, they already are well known to the Lithuanian audiences, and have appeared on the Vilnius Jazz stage in the past.
Jan Maksimovich is one of the most exciting and gifted Lithuanian jazz saxophonists, accomplished performer, pedagogue, and bandleader.
Jan Maksimovich was educated at the B.Dvarionas Music School, Vilnius Conservatoire and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (under P.Vyšniauskas). He took part and earned prizes in a number of competitions: J.Pakalnis competition (1994), Grand Prix in Lithuania's Saxophone Competition in Klaipėda (1999), third prize in International Saxophone Competition Brilliant note 2000 in Latvia, and first prize in International Young Jazz Performers Competition in Klaipėda (2000).
Since his jazz debut in 1996, Jan Maksimovich has collaborated with a number of Lithuanian jazz celebrities, including Vytautas Labutis, Petras Vyšniauskas, Olegas Molokojedovas, Dainius Pulauskas, Artūras Anusauskas, Danielius Praspaliauskis, Valerijus Ramoška, Liudas Mockūnas, Vytis Nivinskas, Arūnas Šlaustas, Arkadijus Gotesmanas, and appeared in international projects. The saxophonist performs as a soloist as well, takes part in various projects collaborating not only with jazzmen, but also performers of academic music. As a member of different ensembles he appeared in festivals in Lithuania and abroad, including 2004 Pori Jazz, where he performed with his own quartet.
Jan Maksimovich made his Vilnius Jazz debut in 1999 with Olegas Molokojedovas ensemble, later appeared in the festival with Vytis Nivinskas project Coltrane Impressions (2000), his own quintet (2002) and quartet (2003). Last year he performed with Baltic Asteroids.
Trumpeter Dominykas Vyšniauskas is the most experienced from the Riot members. At the age seven he made his international debut with Petras Vyšniauskas quartet at the Birštonas'88 festival.
He studied at the M.K.Čiurlionis School of Arts, S.Šimkus Conservatoire, Lithuanian academy of Music and Theatre, and Leipzig Music College. Currently he studies at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. In 2001 he was awarded second prize at the J.Pakalnis Young Performers' Competition.
Since his early debut, Dominykas Vyšniauskas has appeared in all jazz festivals in Lithuania and several abroad. He collaborated with Anatoly Vapirov, Vytautas Labutis, Petras Vyšniauskas, Saulius Šiaučiulis, Liudas Mockūnas, Igoris Brilius among others, as well as with Mezkal Jazz Unit, LRT and Kaunas big bands, Estonia's Dream Big Band, and European Youth big band Swingig Europe. As a partaker of various international projects trumpeter toured throughout Europe.
On Vilnius Jazz stage Dominykas Vyšniauskas appeared with Jan Maksimovich quartet in 2003.
Riot pianist Dmitrij Golovanov is quickly making headway in jazz world. Graduate of B.Dvarionas School of Music, he presently seeks a Master degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he studies with A.Anusauskas. In 2001 Dmitrij Golovanov was ranked the best keyboardist at the National Young Jazz Musicians Competition in Vilnius, and in 2002 with group Jazz Pictures won second prize at the Junior Jazz Group Competition in Vilnius. Jazz Pictures has recorded a CD.
Performing on jazz scene for ten years, the pianist is actively involved in Lithuanian jazz festivals and club life, has collaborated with Lithuanian jazz masters, and took part in several international projects. He appeared in jazz festivals in Birštonas, Vilnius and Kaunas, as well as abroad, including Pori jazz 2004 (with Jan Maksimovich quartet).
This is his fourth appearance at the Vilnius Jazz. Previously he has played with Jazz Pictures (2000), Golovanov-Rudis-Orlov trio (2001), with Andre Pabarčiūtė quartet (2003) and Jan Maksimovich quartet (2004).
In the past Vilnius Jazz has introduced impressive projects by Riot double-bassist Vytis Nivinskas: he made his festival debut as a leader of the project Coltrane Impressions in 2000, a year ago he played in an international group Baltic Asteroids.
Vytis came to music comparatively late - at the age of fourteen he started playing guitar, later double-bass. As a double-bassist he honed his skills at the Vilnius Conservatoire, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Carl Nielsen Music Academy in Denmark and DePaul University in Chicago, where he earned a Master degree.
He made his jazz debut in 1994. Soon after he started gathering experience playing in Vladimir Chekasin, Olegas Molokojedovas, Artūras Anusauskas ensembles, and taking part in jazz, rock, academic and contemporary music projects. As a member of various ensembles the double-bassist performed in Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Moldova, and Russia. Since 2001, he has resided and studied in Chicago, the USA, where in 2002 he formed Baltic Asteroids. He also composed, worked in Trapeze Unit, Outside In Trio, Baked Beans (lead. Jim Donovan), Matt Russell Band, etc., collaborated with such Chicago avant-garde luminaries as Bill Brimfield, Jim Baker, and William Perry. After graduating, Vytis Nivinskas moved to New York where he played with L."Butch" Morris, Kenny Wollesen, Toshi Makihara, and Dalius Naujokaitis.
Returning to Lithuania in January, Vytis brought some fresh air into Lithuania's jazz world. Besides working in Riot, double-bassist collaborates with Liudas Mockūnas, Andre Pabarčiūtė, and Traffic quartet. Since September he is on a faculty in jazz division at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Riot drummer Marijus Aleksa is the youngest member of the Lithuanian professional jazz league. He is one of the most exciting and stirring drummers in Lithuania, praised for his skill and musical thinking.
Presently a student at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, he graduated from B.Dvarionas School of Music, Vilnius Conservatoire, and Frida Gymnasium in Norway. M.Aleksa was hailed the best at the National Young Jazz Musicians Competition in 2001, won second prize with Jazz Pictures at the Junior Jazz Group Competition in 2002, and first prize at the Youth Jazz Competition Jazz Fountain in 2004.
After switching from his first instrument piano to drums, M.Aleksa made his international jazz debut at the age thirteen playing as a duo with Olegas Molokojedovas in several festivals. Since then, he appeared in almost all jazz festivals in Lithuania. He collaborated with Lithuanian jazz masters, and worked in international ensembles, including Herbie Kopf Hip-noses. Since 2004 the universal drummer plays in Skamp. With this group this year he appeared in concert in MIDEM music market, and performed in the USA.
In earlier Vilnius Jazz festivals we heard Marius Aleksa with Jazz Pictures (2000) and with Danielius Praspaliauskis-Arūnas Šlaustas quintet (2003).© Jūratė Kučinskaitė