36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022
Vilnius Jazz'2006

Mockunas & Pasborg TOXIKUM Special (France / Lithuania / Denmark):

Liudas Mockunas - reeds
Marc Ducret - guitar
Paul Brousseau - keyboards
Stefan Pasborg - drums

Toxikum was formed in 2000 as a result of a creative collaboration between Lithuanian saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas and Danish drummer Stefan Pasborg. Before long the group earned recognition – its namesake album was voted Jazz Discovery of the Year 2004 in Denmark, and critics showered Toxikum with compliments: “ If Pasborg and Mockū nas lives up to their promising future, they will be able to create masterpieces” , wrote Anders Kierkegaard, Jazz Special.

Toxikum, associated with masterful performance, compositional intrigue and intellect, is relatively well known amongst Lithuanian jazz aficionados. The group played in Birštonas Jazz in 2002 and 2004; its nucleus – Liudas Mockūnas and Stefan Pasborg – has repeatedly appeared in various contexts. However, every time a meeting with Toxikum is a new temptation. Vilnius Jazz presents the group’s new version – Mockunas & Pasborg Toxikum Special, a quartet of brilliant artistic personalities in which the nucleus of Toxikum is joined by two grands of French improvised music – guitarist Marc Ducret and keyboardist Paul Brousseau.

Saxophonist, clarinettist and composer Liudas Mockūnas is among the most remarkable Lithuanian jazzmen, exponent of modern jazz and free avant-garde; in his music he erases boundaries between jazz and contemporary academic music. Fascinated by the origins of sound and possibilities of the overtones, he has developed an original reed performance style, saturated with multiphonics technique. According to critics, “he works with highly unorthodox mixtures, with sounds ranging from expressive instrumental burnouts over filmic horror to apocalypse-hymns and transcendent bells. His music may be unpredictable with an energized mixture of free jazz, lyricism and mid-European expressionism.”

The saxophonist received education in both jazz and academic music at the M.K. Čiurlionis National School of Arts in Vilnius, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. He also honed his expertise in various master classes and private lessons. He made his jazz debut with a pupils’ jazz ensemble (led by Vladimir Chekasin) at the age of 8, since the age of 15 has regularly appeared in jazz festivals, and since 1996 has been active as a bandleader.

Liudas Mockūnas has been deservedly called an ambassador of Lithuanian jazz – he often appears in various international formations, initiates various international projects. His international career has accelerated a great deal after he started his studies in Copenhagen in 1999. Together with Danish drummer Stefan Pasborg he formed a group Toxikum in 2000. In addition, L.Mockūnas is a co-leader of Rød Planet, Baltic Trio, Artomic, Revolver and Idiot Quartet, collaborates with Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Pierre Dørge and New Jungle Orchestra, appeared with Swinging Europe Big Band and with World Saxophone Quartet took part in the international big band project La Villet Jazz Festival. His partner list includes Marc Ducret, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Mart Eilertsen, Jaak Sooäär, Mikko Innanen, Jeff Arnal, Dietrich Eichmann, Scott Colley, Ryoji Hojito, Nasheet Waits, Mats Gustafson, Chris Speed, Mike Svoboda, and Andrew Hill. As a member of various ensembles, the saxophonist toured in Europe, the USA and China.

Liudas Mockūnas has collaborated with many Lithuanian jazz musicians. He is a co-author of Saga, a CD introduced at this year’s Vilnius Jazz.

Liudas Mockūnas was a prizewinner at the J.Pakalnis Wind Instrument Competition in 1993 and 1995, and as a participant of the Berklee in Germany seminars (led by Gary Burton) he earned the scholarship for studies at the Berklee Collage (USA). In 2000, he captured second prize in both the International Saxophone Competition Brilliant Note in Latvia and the International Jazz Soloist Competition in Klaipėda. In 2001, together with the trio MAP (L.Mockūnas, J.Anderskov, S.Pasborg) he won first prize at the European Tournament for Improvised Music in France. In 2004, Liudas Mockūnas was awarded the Mūzų malūnas prize for his artistic involvement, and also earned Rhythmic Music Conservatory Friends’ Prize for creativity.

In addition to jazz, the saxophonist plays contemporary academic music (works by B.Kutavičius, A.Martinaitis, R.Merkelys, etc), has performed with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, St.Christopher Chamber Orchestra, contemporary music ensemble Gaida and Chordos string quartet. He also writes music for theatre and film. Since 2004, he has been on a faculty of Jazz Department at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Those who have heard Marc Ducret Trio at the last year’s Vilnius Jazz have been looking forward to a new meeting with this unique guitar virtuoso. One of the foremost composers of contemporary music and today’s most original improvisers Marc Ducret has collaborated with Toxikum for several years. He is heard on Toxikum album, has appeared with the group in Birštonas Jazz 2004.

Self-taught, extraordinarily gifted musician does not restrict himself to a particular style, writes distinctive and unexpected music – attacking with ferocious electric guitar outbursts or drifting into subtle impressionistic abstractions, resounding with rock hits or approaching post-bop, bursting into noise avalanches or playing with bits and pieces from the world of flamenco and classical music.

Empowered by acoustic and electric, bass and baritone guitars, one of the most unconventional guitarists produces a unique sound, embracing all imaginable music forms from rock and classical music to contemporary academic, electronic and free music.

B orn in Paris in 1957 Marc Ducret began his professional career in 1975, playing bass in dance bands, rock and folk groups, accompanying singers and singing himself, and working as a studio musician. This experience was his ‘Alma Mater’. As a guitarist he debuted in 1986 playing with Patrice Caratini Octet. The same year he became a member of the first French Orchestre National de Jazz , and formed his own trio, becoming a regular performer on the domestic and international concert and festival scene . The following year his trio recorded its debut album La Théorie du Pilier .

Marc Ducret soon gained recognition – he was awarded Django Reinghardt Prize in 1987, in 1988 and 1989 Jazz Hot magazine voted him the best French jazz guitarist, and in 1989 he was hailed as SACEM star. His career picked up and before long a soloist became much demanded abroad.

Since 1991, collaboration with American saxophonist Tim Berne brought Marc Ducret recognition in the motherland of jazz. He has since worked in a number of formations led by Tim Berne, including duo, Big Satan, Caos Totale and Bloodcount. Marc Ducret recoded several solo albums, released on T.Berne’s Screwgun label. A regular member of New York Factory , Marc Ducret today is one of the few European musicians regularly playing overseas.

Marc Ducret also collaborates with such luminaries as Larry Schneider, David Friedmann, Michel Portal, Joachim Kühn, Franco Ambrosetti, Didier Lockwood, Miroslav Vitous, Enrico Rava, Adam Nussbaum, Django Bates, David Sanborn, Joey Baron, Michel Godard, Dominique Pifarély, David Linx, Bobby Previte and many others, works with various groups, including AKA Moon, Acoustic Quartet with Louis Sclavis and Dominique Pifarély , Andy Emler Quintet, François Jeanneau orchestra Pandémonium , Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Daniel Humair’s and Antoine Hervé’s ensembles, François Corneloup Quartet, performs as a duo with percussionist Bobby Previte and his quartet Latin for Travellers.

In addition, Marc Ducret performs solo and with his trio and tentet Seven Songs, exploring the music of the ‘60s with a very personal touch.

Recently Marc Ducret has been teaming up with a talented keyboardist Paul Brousseau. He is a self-taught musician, an interpreter of a wide array of musical styles, constructive composer and enthusiastic inventor of sounds.

Using various keyboards, synthesiser, guitars, percussion, real time sampler techniques and electronics, he develops unique sonorities by grinding up and modulating sounds and producing noise.

He has one finger convincingly in many musical styles whilst pushing to the very limits of their established codes and protocols. The keyboardist is searching for a secret formula, which perhaps does not exist: an amalgam of innovation, tradition, and good sense of humour.

Paul Brousseau performs as a soloist, plays as a duo with Ramon Lopez, collaborates with Louis Sclavis’ and Marc Ducret’s ensembles, leads his own quintet. He has collaborated with Christophe Marguet, Bruno Chevillon, Claude Barthélémy, Matthieu Metzger, David Linx, Eric Echampard, Jean Phillipe Morel, Jacques Rebotier, Maxime Delpierre, Vincent Courtois, Vincent Boisseau, Eric Brochard, Yan Gillet, etc.

Drummer and composer Stefan Pasborg, Toxikum’s co-leader and “engine”, is one of the most active and original drummers on Danish jazz scene, appearing in a variety of experimental projects.

Pasborg started drumming at the age of three, studied with the legendary Danish drummer Alex Riel, latter with Ed Thigpen; graduated from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in 2002. Like Mockūnas, he started his professional career at a tender age.

31-year-old drummer can boast the list of his partners – he has performed and recorded with internationally renowned musicians like Jasper Thilo, Horace Parlan, Marc Ducret, Ray Anderson, John Tchicai, Herb Robertson, Pierre Dørge, Michael Formanek, collaborated with Jonas Muller Polkadelic Bebop Trio, Anker/Friis/Pasborg Trio, Mark Solborg Quartet, Madsole Quartet, Christer Irgens-Muller Trio. Besides playing in Toxikum, Stefan Pasborg works with Delirium, Ictus, Rød Planet ,Il Bastardo and Ibrahim Electric, which appeared in this year’s Birštonas Jazz. In a variety of formations S.Pasborg has performed throughout Europe and the USA.

For a number of years Stefan Pasborg drummed in La Fontaine jazz club in Copenhagen where he collaborated with an array of Danish and international musicians. Since 1998, he has led Sound quartet. He is a co-founder of both Copenhagen jazz club Kanten and ILK label, which focuses on music by young generation Danish composers. In addition, he teaches at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory.

S.Pasborg has been awarded several prizes, including Danish newspaper Berlinske Tigende Golden Prize (1996); the soloist prize at the 16 th European Jazz Contest in Leverkusen (Germany, 1997); the Rhythmic Music Conservatory Talent Prize (2000); the first prize at the 5 th European Tournament for Improvised Music in France (2000); was voted New Jazz Name of the Year (2004).

© Jūratė Kučinskaitė



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