Those, who have revelled in Ibrahim Electric’s and Liudas Mockūnas’ witty, colourful and intoxicating musical firework at the Birštonas Jazz Festival last year, now impatiently await their appearance in Vilnius Jazz.
Active rhythm, spellbinding groove, refreshing and mesmerizing timbre of Hammond organ, and highest mastery – those are Ibrahim Electric’s characteristics. Once more proving the spaciousness of jazz concept, the trio’s music revolves on the axis of jazz and the 60s soul also incorporating elements of rock, Afro, fusion and funk to produce an extraordinarily vibrant, expressive, fiery and jolly jazz-rock-funk cocktail.
Sometimes dubbed ‘European Medeski, Martin&Wood’, Ibrahim Electric recently has become one of the most celebrated jazz groups in Denmark. The bare fact, that trio’s debut album became the bestseller before its release, testifies to its popularity. Since then, the group has recorded 3 CDs among them critically acclaimed Ibrahim Electric Meets Ray Anderson (2004, live with trombonist Ray Anderson) and Absinthe (2006).
Ibrahim Electric is an indivisible entity that sometimes enlarges to a quartet as in the group’s collaboration with trombonist Ray Anderson, saxophonist Michael Blake, and percussionist Rune Olesen (in Absinthe). And in Vilnius Jazz, Ibrahim Electric will once again share the stage with Liudas Mockūnas.
All three members of Ibrahim Electric are distinctively creative personalities; all three compose music for the group and share the joy of experimenting.
Ibrahim Electric’s organist and composer Jeppe Tuxen has played piano since he was child. Motivated by Holstebro Talent-Prize (1996), he has collaborated with scores of great musicians including George Kilby, Rasmus Nøhr, and Dr. Lonnie Smith among others. The organist has earned wide acclaim for his appearance with group Endorfin, also featuring Stefan Pasborg, as well as trio with Niclas Knudsen and Matt Garrisen.
Ibrahim Electric’s guitarist and composer Niclas Knudsen is praised for his skilfulness, versatility and wide stylistic diapason embracing blues, rock, bebop and folk music. After graduating from Berklee Music College in Boston, the versatile guitarist returned to Denmark, where he has tried his hand in diverse projects such as Latin jazz with saxophonist Hans Ulrik’s group (their collaboration in Jazz And Mambo was awarded Danish Grammy in 1999). In 2005, with other Danish musicians he visited Africa where he came up with a mix-and-match of Danish folk songs, traditional African music and original compositions.
Niclas Knudsen has performed and recorded with some of the greatest jazz players of our times such as David Liebman, John Tchicai, Adam Nussbaum, Ben Besiakov, and Ray Anderson, as well as a lot of Danish musicians. Presently, in addition to intensive work with Ibrahim Electric, the guitarist collaborates with Fra de varme lande, When Granny Sleeps, Radiostar, Jesper Lundgaard trio, is a leader of Radio Timbuktu. He also teaches. Niclas Knudsen’s discography amounts to about 30 albums, including 2 personal.
Percussionist Stefan Pasborg brings an important flavour to Ibrahim Electric’s impressive musical cocktail. He is a true magician of drums. Things he does with his instrument cannot be overemphasized. Drummer and composer, he is one of the most active and original Danish jazz percussionists, appearing in numerous experimental projects. Stefan Pasborg can boast about the extensive list of his artistic partners; he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Jasper Thilo, Horace Parlan, Marc Ducret, Ray Anderson, John Tchicai, Herb Robertson, Pierre Dørge, Michael Formanek among others, collaborated with such groups as Jonas Muller Polkadelic Bebop Trio, Anker/Friis/Pasborg trio, Mark Solborg Quartet, Madsole Quartet and Christer Irgens-Muller Trio. Stefan Pasborg regularly works with Delirium, Ictus, Rød Planet, Il Bastardo and Toxikum.
Stefan Pasborg has contributed to about 20 albums. His recent releases include Triplepoint (recorded in Denmark, France, Lithuania and USA) and RPM (with Rød Planet).
Liudas Mockūnas, a regular participant of Vilnius Jazz, one of the most active Lithuanian jazz musicians, recipient of Vilnius Jazz 2006 award for contributions to Lithuanian jazz, joins Ibrahim Electric on festival’s stage. He and Stefan Pasborg have met and started playing together while studying at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. Their artistic friendship has harvested successful project Toxikum; they collaborate in Rød Planet, and time and again in Ibrahim Electric. Mockūnasis featured on Stefan Pasborg’s Triplepoint and RPM (Rød Planet).
Liudas Mockūnas is a multi-reeds player and composer. His name always guarantees a masterful performance and compositional intrigue. His musical language is a mixture of vigorous free jazz, lyricism and expressionism, conveyed in unorthodox way. Fascinated by the origins of sound and possibilities of the overtones, he has developed an original reed performance style, which does not attend to stylistic dogmas. It is saturated with multiphonics technique, expressive instrumental burnouts and unusual sound effects.
Educated as both jazz and academic musician, he is at home in various styles. In his music he erases boundaries between jazz and contemporary academic music.
Winner of a number of competitions, Liudas Mockūnas collaborates with Lithuanian and international authorities of improvised music, plays contemporary academic music, composes, teaches at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė