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Marc Ducret, one of the most compelling representatives of modern jazz, has been collaborating with Liudas Mockūnas, the headman of the Lithuanian contemporary jazz and improvised music, for a number of years. They have been playing together in numerous projects from Toxikum and Copenhagen Art Ensemble to the duo’s improvisations. This tandem appeared on Vilnius Jazz scene in 2005, and released an album of duos in 2011. However, this is the first time Mockūnas shares the stage with Marc Ducret Trio.
Formed 21 years ago, Marc Ducret Trio is considered to be the flagship of contemporary jazz. It has appeared in scores of European festivals, as well as in Africa, India and Japan. The Trio involves cardinal French jazzmen, monumentally influencing the development of European jazz.
Composer and guitarist Marc Ducret is among today’s most original improvisers. When on stage he makes an impression of a man-orchestra. Empowered by acoustic and electric guitars the self-taught virtuoso does not restrict himself to a particular style, plays distinctive and unexpected music.
Ducret’s music embraces all imaginable music forms – attacking electric guitar outbursts, subtle impressionistic abstractions, rock hits bursting into noise avalanches as well as bits and pieces from the world of flamenco and classical music.
The guitarist began his professional career by playing in folk groups, rock and dance bands, accompanying singers and singing himself. This experience was his ‘Alma Mater’.
In 1986, Ducret joined the French Orchestre National de Jazz, and also started frequenting domestic and international festival scene. He soon gained recognition – was awarded Django Reinghardt Prize in 1987, in 1988 and 1989 Jazz Hot magazine elected him the best French jazz guitarist, and in 1989 he was hailed as SACEM (The Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry) star.
Since 1991, the collaboration with American saxophonist Tim Berne brought Ducret recognition overseas. He has since worked in a number of formations led by Berne, including Caos Totale, Bloodcount, Science Friction and Big Satan Trio (featuring drummer Tom Rainey). The tandem recorded 12 CD. The guitarist also recoded several solo albums, released on Berne’s Screwgun label.
Today Ducret is one of the few European musicians regularly playing in the motherland of jazz. He has collaborated with David Sanborn, Django Bates, Joey Baron, David Friedmann, Michel Portal, Joachim Kühn, Franco Ambrosetti, Didier Lockwood, Miroslav Vitous, Enrico Rava, Adam Nussbaum and Michel Godard, as well as AKA Moon, Louis Sclavis and Dominique Pifarely Acoustic Quartet, Andy Emler Quintet, Francois Jeanneau Pandemonium orchestra, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Ensemble Cairn, François Corneloup Quartet, Bobby Previte Quartet among many other notables. Ducret is a member of trombonist Samuel Blaser Quartet (in 2010 it appeared in Vilnius Jazz).
The guitarist’s artistic horizons are extremely wide. In the past he formed and led Seven Songs Tentet, exploring the music of the ‘60s with a very personal touch. He has performed solo in opera production, worked with traditional Chinese music performers, and recorded several soundtracks. Currently, he also collaborates with Ictus Ensemble.
Lady M is one of his latest projects after Shakespeare involving vocalists and instrumental ensemble. In 2011–2014, inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s writings, Ducret recorded five Tower albums (Ayler Records) with several ensembles.
Recently, Ducret got fascinated with multimedia art projects. He recorded Qui Parle?, the album combining music with voice intonations, literary text and rhythm. In his project Un sang d’encre the guitarist also employed dance, video and religious texts. He authored text for Morse, Vers les ruines, Histoire for voice, cello and guitars with video installation.
Ducret has recorded around 20 albums as a leader. Metatonal (Ayler Records) is his latest album recorded with his Trio and S. Blaser, saxophonist Christophe Monniot and trumpeter Fabrice Martinez.
Following in the footsteps of double bass coryphées Jean François Jenny-Clark, Joëlle Léandre and Barre Phillips, Bruno Chevillon discovers the new horizons of the double bass.
Chevillon attended Les Beaux-Arts and the Conservatoire d’Avignon studying all at once art, photography and the classical double bass. This non-typical experience moulded his approach to improvisation, prompted his interest in multimedia art projects and experiments. The double bassist collaborated with dancers and actors, photographer Guy Le Querrec. He creatively contemplated the output of film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Chevillon has teamed up with a number of improvisers. He took part in all projects concocted by Louis Sclavis releasing 10 CD with the saxophonist including with his Trio and Acoustic Quartet. The double bassist collaborated in trio with Yves Robert and Aaron Scott, also Christophe Marguet ensembles, Michel Portal Quartet, trio with Joey Baron and Daniel Humair, trio with Bernard Lubat and François Corneloup to name but a few. Yet another important page in his artistic biography is his collaboration with pianist Stephan Oliva. The duo recorded five albums, formed a trio with Paul Motian, and played in various other formations.
In addition, Chevillon stepped into the world of contemporary classical music. He presented a composition for double bass and sampler in Radio France festival, recorded composition based on radio archives with an accordionist, formed the group Scoffio di Scelsi, which draws its inspiration from the works of composer Giacinto Scelsi.
Chevillon’s abundant discography lists the foremost names of today’s French jazz.
Drummer Eric Echampard has over the last fifteen years been one of the rare, atypical figures to have profoundly changed the art of drumming in contemporary European jazz. A peerless technician with a rich classical schooling Echampard is an instinctive musician fundamentally open to all forms of today’s popular and experimental music.
In 1992, Echampard joined Bernard Struber’s ORJA group, later became a member of his Jazztet, while Jacques Di Donato offered Echampard the drum-chair in his quintet and its big-band configuration Système Friche.
He quickly became a choice accompanist for some of the most innovative musicians on the French scene, playing with François Corneloup’s trio, Grand Lousadzak led by Claude Tchamitchian, and also Andy Emler’s MegaOctet and trio. The double bassist has collaborated with such great improvisers as Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Raymond Boni and François Jeanneau.
The list of his new stage parters includes the likes of Dave Liebman, Benjamin Moussay, Christophe Monniot, Fabrice Martinez and Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen. He also plays in projects at the confines of rock and contemporary music with the group Caravaggio.
Multi-instrumentalist, composer and group leader Liudas Mockūnas is one of the most creative representatives of the Lithuanian contemporary jazz and improvised music. Upon graduating from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT) and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, he took active stance on the scene of European improvised music. Today he is possibly the most dynamic Lithuanian jazz master, constantly migrating to European festivals and jazz clubs, discovering new creative partners in Scandinavia, Baltic States, Poland, Russia, Portugal and other countries.
The musician is the leader of Mockūno Nuclear and Traffic Trio, co-leader of various international collectives such as Toxikum and electro-acoustic trio Red Planet, a member of Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Markus Pesonen’s Hendecet, Stefan Pasborg’s Free Moby Dick and Odessa 5, international groups Dirty Mountain, Heavy Beauty and Mikko Innanen’s Innkvisitio, contemporary music ensembles Gaida and Konvoj Art. In addition, he is an associate of the Lithuanian Ensemble Network.
He has taken part in programmes of Andrew Hill’s Jazz Par octet, Ibrahim Electric, British TrioVD, Free Tallinn Trio, Mats Gustaffsson, Raymond Strid and Frank Gratkowski among other jazz innovators.
In 2004, Liudas Mockūnas and Stefan Pasborg received the Danish Music Award for Toxikum’s album. The saxophonist is a prize winner of various competitions in Lithuania, Latvia and France; a recipient of Vilnius Jazz and Birštonas Jazz prizes for contribution to Lithuanian jazz, as well as Gold Disc awarded by the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union. In 2011, he was decorated with a Golden Cross of the Stage (award for achievements in the Lithuanian theatre field) for the best music for theatre production.
In addition, he is famed not only as an exponent of improvised music and avant-garde jazz, but also as an expert of contemporary academic music. His repertoire includes works by such composers as Bronius Kutavičius, Anatolijus Šenderovas, Arvydas Malcys, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Dietrich Eichmann, Vykintas Baltakas, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Giedrius Puskunigis and Osvaldas Balakauskas.
As a soloist the saxophonist has performed with Kralovy Hradec Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra and Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra as well as St. Christopher and Klaipėda chamber orchestras and Chordos String Quartet. With various formations he has toured in Europe, the USA, China, Japan and Israel.
Mockūnas’ discography amounts to around 60 albums. He has contributed greatly to the producing of experimental jazz recordings – he is a co-founder and co-strategist of an independent record label NoBusiness Records.
Currently, Mockūnas is an associate Professor at the departments of jazz in the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University Music Academy.
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