Vladimir Chekasin - Vladimir Tarasov (Lithuania):
Vladimir Chekasin - saxes
On the initiative of Vladimir Chekasin, the Duo returns to the stage after the interval of many years. These influential artists share the glorious years of collaboration as a Trio with Vyacheslav Ganelin, as well as the aesthetics of the Vilnius jazz school nurtured by the Trio. It displays the interaction of jazz and academic music, which has played an important in the creative work of both musicians.
The new project continues Chekasin’s work in this field. He finds inspiration in Sergei Prokofiev’s music. To this day he has been concocting the dialogues of jazz and classical music with pianist Petras Geniušas.
“This synthesis allows many possibilities”, claims Chekasin who is able to combine musical motifs of seemingly very different origin.
“There is nothing spontaneous”, says the Maestro. “Technically it is a challenging work. My music was never spontaneous: everything is practiced and rehearsed”.
According to him, the same applies to this project.
Vladimir Chekasin, a saxophonist and composer, director and pedagogue, and one of the most influential Lithuanian jazz figures, is a backbone of the Vilnius jazz school.
Born in Sverdlovsk, Chekasin settled in Lithuania in 1971. Together with Vyacheslav Ganelin and Vladimir Tarasov he formed the legendary GTČ Trio that was a cornerstone of the Lithuanian jazz school. The partnership, that lasted 17 years, has earned the Trio a reputation of the best non-American jazz groups of all times. In 2002, the Trio has had a reunion again.
Chekasin has also extensively performed with his Quartet, formed in 1981, appearing in almost all major jazz festivals in Europe.
The saxophonist was regularly ranked the best jazz musician in the Soviet Union. Chekasin’s discography amounts to over 60 albums, recorded with his own ensembles and various other performers. The musician has performed throughout Europe, in the USA, Japan, India and Cuba.
Chekasin’s music is featured in Pavel Lungin’s feature films Taxi Blues and The Wedding. He composed musical for drama actors The Life of Man after the drama by Leonid Andreev. Recently, Maestro has been focusing on collective improvisations merging diverse music genres and art fields, playfulness and sadness, irony, sarcasm and poetical element.
Pedagogical work is one of the most important fields of his activities. Chekasin has devised an original method for jazz instruction. Since 2003, he has taught jazz improvisation and ensemble at the Vilnius College where he educated a galaxy of renowned Lithuanian jazz musicians. For many years he was on a faculty of the Balys Dvarionas Music School, where he has led jazz ensembles.
It would be difficult to find a jazz musician in Lithuania who has not been influenced by the Maestro. He tutored Petras Vyšniauskas, Vytautas Labutis, Gediminas Laurinavičius, Leonid Shinkarenko, Neda Malūnavičiūtė, Liudas Mockūnas and Andrė Pabarčiūtė among other renowned Lithuanian jazz figures.
In Chekasin’s ensembles performing is inseparable from composing and improvising – the experienced teacher educates creative and unorthodox personalities.
In 1975-1989, he taught saxophone at the Lithuanian State Conservatoire (currently the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre), for five years led the Conservatoire’s legendary Big Band. In Soviet times this collective was an oasis of freedom, and a forge of jazz stars.
In September 2013, Chekasin was decorated with the medal “For Contributions to Vilnius and the Nation”. Moreover, he is a laureate of Birštonas Jazz Festival, a recipient of St. Christopher Award, and Gold Disc from the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union.
Composer, percussionist and visual artist Vladimir Tarasov has for many years collaborated with both jazz and academic music representatives. Maestro composes for orchestra, writes music for film and theatre.
In 1991, he joined the Lithuanian Composers’ Union. The same year he formed The Lithuanian Art Orchestra uniting Lithuanian jazzmen and classical musicians. The Orchestra has introduced its latest programme Aleatoric Games at the Vilnius Jazz 2012. This time Tarasov will continue the ‘games’ with his long-time stage partner Vladimir Chekasin.
Born in Arkhangelsk, Tarasov settled in Lithuania in 1968. In 1971, he was one of the three members of GTČ Trio. In 1998, he authored an autobiographical book Trio.
Between 1999 and 2002 Tarasov was in charge of the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania, where he also directed plays. The musician has collaborated with Staatstheater in Stuttgart (1995), Majestic Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York (1995), Josef Nadj Centre Choreographique National Orleans in Orleans (1998) among other performing art institutions.
Since 1991, Tarasov has participated in personal and collective visual art exhibitions. He creates audiovisual installations finding their themes on his journeys to exotic countries.
The artist has displayed his works in Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Centre Georges Pompidou and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, Venetian Biennale, EXPO-2008 in Saragossa, Bass Museum of Art in Miami, Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Contemporary Art Centre Dom in Moscow, National Contemporary Art Centre in Moscow, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and other art centres. 2008 saw “Baltos lankos” publication of Vladimiras Tarasovas: tarp garso ir vaizdo (Vladimir Tarasov: Between Sound and Image).
Tarasov taught and gave workshops in Bremen Music College, Podevil Art Centre in Berlin, Visual Art Institute in Orleans, University of California, University of the Pacific, and art academies in Düsseldorf and Vilnius, etc.
The artist regularly participates in various theatre, jazz and visual art projects in France, Italy, Germany, Russia and the USA. The musician has initiated a number of projects involving people of letters from Lithuania and abroad.
The percussionist has collaborated with Andrew Cyrille, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Lauren Newton, Butch Morris, Thomasz Stanko, Didier Petit, Mark Dresser, Gyorgy Szabados, Masahiko Satoh, Kazutoki Umezu and Anatoly Vapirov among other luminaries of jazz and improvised music.
As a composer and improviser Tarasov is best appreciated in his solo percussion projects. His discography amounts to almost twenty solo albums, 34 with GTČ Trio, and more than 60 with other Lithuanian and foreign jazz and classical musicians.
In 2009, the Russian publishing house “NLO” presented Tarasov’s third book Tam-Tam. The same year he was the first representative of Lithuania to be awarded prestigious Russian prize “Triumph”, for achievements in art and literature. He is a recipient of the Birštonas Jazz Grand Prix, and last year received Vilnius Jazz Award for contributions to Lithuanian jazz.