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

Nikolay Rubanov - Aleksey Ivanov


Nikolay Rubanov - saxes
Aleksey Ivanov - percussion, drums

Russian musicians are rare birds on the Lithuanian jazz scene. Our knowledge about current jazz trends in this country is scant or perhaps even wide of the mark. This duo proves that the spirit of free jazz is still alive in Russia, and daring ideas and pundits of experiments are still extant.

Saxophonist Nikolay Rubanov is a true enthusiast of avant-garde. He plays soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones as well as bass clarinet, ethnic flutes and keyboards. With an exception of the piano, of which he took private lessons in his youth, he is an autodidact instrumentalist.

He studied physics at the Sankt Petersburg State University, but his heart was always with musical improvisation. While still a student he even formed group Pčioly i gelikopter (The Bees and the Helicopter). Finally, he bid good buy to physics and dedicated himself to music.

Since 1986, Rubanov has played in rock group Aukcyon (Auction) concurrently taking part in a number of other projects. For two decades he has led grotesque jazz-rock group Sojuz Kosmičeskovo Avangarda (The Union of Cosmic Avant-garde), played in an esoteric duo Ru-2 with vocalist and percussionist Polina Runovskaya, and since 2002 has been a member of Saks-Mafia (Saxophone Mafia) saxophone quartet with Sergei Letov, Eduard Sivkov and Yuri Jaremshchuk.

The musician enjoys improvising with other performers. He is the leader of the Sankt Petersburg Improvisers Orchestra and a pedagogue at the School for Improvised Music.

He has collaborated with many an international jazz master including Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Ned Rotenberg, Peter Brötzmann and Charles Gayle.

With various groups Rubanov appeared in festivals in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the USA, Finland, Israel, Sweden and the UK (London Jazz Festival), recorded more than two dozens albums.

Drummer Alexey Ivanov is also a musician of wide interests. He collaborates with Grigory Kofman’s theatre Goff Company (Berlin), where he is not just a background musician, but rather a storyteller in sounds. In addition, he is a member of the legendary post-industrial trio FIGS, Sojuz Kosmičeskovo Avangarda, Tatyana Kalmykova’s SVA, trombonist Ramil Shamsutdinov’s Nado dumat (One Has to Think) and The Frozen Orchestra.

The drummer feels at home in art rock and free jazz. His music vocabulary features jazz-rock gestures, virtuosity and precision, laconic solos and ironic elements produced with the help of various toys.  

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