Dainius Pulauskas Acoustic Group (Lithuania)
A Celebration of Krzysztof Komeda’s World
Vilnius Jazz opens Komeda Incarnations international tour dedicated to the fiftieth death anniversary of Krzysztof Komeda (1931–1969), the iconic Polish jazzman, pianist and film music composer. Last year, the project was premiered in Poland. After Lithuanian appearance it will proceed to Slovakia, Great Britain, France, Finland and Germany, where it will incorporate local musicians.
Written and directed by Marzena Kopczyńska-Urlich and Michał Gawlicz, visuals & mapping done by Precyzja.org, the project also presents a stunning visual backdrop of rare archive movie clips and interviews with his collaborators and family.
On Vilnius Jazz scene the Polish and Lithuanian artists will tell the full story of life, music and legacy of Polish national jazz hero, at the same time revisiting the Polish jazz history.
The project is financed by the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, within the scope of the Multiannual Program INDEPENDENT 2017-2021, as part of the “Cultural bridges” subsidy program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
The 3 Sounds of Komeda, the project’s title, symbolises the jazz legend’s way of composing – his ingenuity to develop impressive melodies and compositions from just a few simple sounds. According to the critics, saying that Krzysztof Komeda was a talented musician is just like not saying anything at all. He is a legend, still alive in the consciousness of young musicians, music lovers, movie addicts and his friends.
The figure of Krzysztof Komeda, his life and works is one of the most amazing stories in the history of music. His real name was Krzysztof Trzciński. He was born in Poznań where he graduated from the Medical Academy. He joined a Poznań laryngological clinic and, in order to hide his passion for jazz from his colleagues, he took a pseudonym of Komeda in 1956.
It was the year in which he triumphed for the first time with the Komeda’s Sextet in the 1st Jazz Festival in Sopot. 1956 also marked the start of Komeda’s lifetime co-operation with film director Roman Polański. Komeda wrote music for 11 of his films and encouraged the future celebrity to go to Hollywood with just 120 dollars in his pocket.
Krzysztof Komeda is an iconic figure in Polish contemporary culture, renowned internationally for the music that was integral to the evolution of Polish cinema in the 60s. He composed scores to 65 movies including landmark films by Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Skolimowski, Janusz Morgenstern, Jerzy Hoffman and Julian Dziedzina.
Komeda’s album Astigmatic (1965) is widely regarded as one of the most important European jazz albums, marking a shift away from the dominant American approach with the emergence of a specific European aesthetic.
In addition to his Sextet, the Polish modern jazz pioneer played in many different trios, led the quartet and quintet, appeared in various stage configurations with Tomasz Stańko, Jan “Ptaszyn” Wróblewski and Michał Urbaniak, regularly participated in the Jazz Jamboree festival and toured around Europe.
The success of The Lullaby from Polański’s Rosemary’s Baby got him a deal with Paramount, which he sadly couldn’t fully use. His beautifully developing career was stopped by a brain hematoma that was the reason for the unfortunate accident in Los Angeles. He died at the age 38.
Dainius Pulauskas, one of the most productive and active Lithuanian jazz masters, superlative keyboardist, exceptional leader and distinct composer, is the artistic director of The 3 Sounds of Komeda project in Vilnius. Inspired by this project he formed a new collective Dainius Pulauskas Acoustic Group.
Pulauskas composes for big bands, symphony orchestras, large-scale and chamber ensembles. He also writes music for theatre and film, regularly takes part in TV projects with the LRT group for which he also arranges music. Lithuanian choirs perform his compositions and arrangements in Lithuanian Song Festivals. The Estonian National Opera and Ballet Theatre produced a contemporary ballet based on Pulauskas’ original compositions. Furthermore, the musician represented Lithuania in a multinational composers’ collective – the mastermind of an anthem for the Europe Jazz Network. In November, his music will be a part of Euroradio Jazz Orchestra’s live broadcast to Baltic countries from Riga.
It is for his original compositions Pulauskas’ collectives garnered recognition. Birštonas Jazz 1996 hosted the debut of his first group, Dainius Pulauskas Quintet, which grew into Sextet – one of the leading and most widely internationally recognised Lithuanian jazz collectives. In 2001, the Sextet received Gold Disc awarded to the best musician of the year by the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union. In 2004, the Lithuanian Institute presented the ensemble with LT tapatybė (LT Identity) award for promulgation of Lithuanian jazz.
Since 2004, the Dainius Pulauskas Group (DPG) has become an umbrella-title for various formations led by the notable figure of Lithuanian jazz. DPG performs exclusively Pulauskas’ music. Various formations of DPG have appeared in more than 142 jazz festivals in 34 countries, four continents. DPG was the first Lithuanian group to enter the stages of Malaysia, Indonesia, South African Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Korea. The group was applauded in prestigious Ottawa, London and Tokyo jazz festivals.
The Best of 20 Years, the group’s ninth album, documents the group’s path, presents the DPG’s best compositions of all times. Pulauskas’ music can be heard on sixteen personal CDs, two personal DVDs and nine jazz collections. His compositions were also included in Centenary, a CD featuring giants of Baltic classical music. In this recording he collaborated with Estonian and Latvian jazz coryphées Toivo Unt and Maris Briezkalns, presented the CD in festivals in Canada (Ottawa Jazz Festival), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
In addition to jazz exponents, he collaborates with folk and academic music performers. In international projects Pulauskas has teamed up with the Latvian Radio Big Band, musicians from the USA, France, Israel, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Germany, Russia, etc.
The keyboardist has given solo appearances in international jazz piano festivals in Liepaja and Prague, performed at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic. He has earned a number of awards: Bravo (1999) for the best Lithuanian jazz musician; Grand Prix for the best arrangement of Yesterday by Lennon and McCartney at the International Competition Yesterday Pärnu’99 (Estonia); Birštonas Jazz, Vilnius Jazz and Kaunas Jazz awards for contributions to Lithuanian jazz; was twice nominated for the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize.
Valerijus Ramoška, one of the most in demand Lithuanian trumpeters, is a recipient of Birštonas Jazz’s Grand Prix 2014. He is a member of Kaunas Big Band and DPG. With the latter he performed in more than 140 festivals, toured 30 countries.
The trumpeter also plays as a soloist with other Lithuanian big bands, performs in various chamber formations, takes part in the LRT projects and contemporary academic music events. Valerijus devotes much time to pedagogical work.
Composer, arranger, electronic music producer and multi-instrumentalist Liutauras Janušaitis is best known in Lithuania as the first Lithuanian jazz saxophonist to graduate (2011) from the prestigious Berkelee College of Music in Boston.
For over a decade, Liutauras has been collaborating with many Lithuanian jazz, funk and pop music performers and groups, annually partaking in various music projects in Europe, the USA, Canada, South Korea and Japan.
In 2013, the saxophonist joined Dainius Pulauskas Group (DPG), with it participated in Ottawa and London festivals as well as main jazz festivals of Africa, India, China, Japan and the Ukraine; appeared in other countries. He also is a member of Jievaras Jasinskis’ Reinless. In 2012–2017, he was a conductor of Kaunas Big Band, later became a co-founder of Lithuanian JJazz Ensemble jazz orchestra.
Since 2005, he has taken part in all Lithuanian jazz festivals. He composes and arranges not only jazz, but also chamber music, is a producer of electronic and experimental music projects. This year Janušaitis’ song Amžinai (Forever) was awarded second place in the Radio Lithuanian song contest.
In addition to recordings made in Lithuania, Liutauras was a guest performer in over ten albums recorded in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Spain and United States.
Double bassist Arman Isojan studied the violin at the Stasys Šimkus Conservatoire in Klaipėda, later graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre as a double bassist.
As a bassist he started his career in Klaipėda – played in Klaipėda Music Theatre, Jurgis Barakauskas’ Dixieland, Kęstutis Sova’s Quintet. The musician has appeared in various projects, took part in almost all Lithuanian jazz festivals as well as Jazznica 2011 festival in Slovakia, and international project Divercities Grenoble 2012 in France.
In 2013, Isojan earned a special prize at the Vilnius Jazz Young Power as a bassist of R.A.D.D. and Legentet, and as a member of R.A.D.D. claimed the Grand Prix.
Augustas Baronas started his career at a school age – with The Magic Time Orchestra big band he appeared in festivals in Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Sweden.
After earning a bachelor degree from the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and a master degree from the Dutch Academy of Music in Amsterdam, the musician and his family returned from the Netherlands and settled in Lithuania. Here he collaborates with leading Lithuanian jazz musicians including Kęstutis Vaiginis, Dmitry Golovanov, Leonardas Pilkauskas, Domas Aleksa and Dominykas Vyšniauskas. In his tours abroad he works with Italian saxophonist Claudio Jr De Rosa’s international jazz quartet. With it he appeared in Nord See Jazz, performed on prestigious jazz scenes in Umbria and elsewhere in Europe.
Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Łukasz Lach was born in Łódź, where Komeda met Polański and jazzmen enjoyed close collaborations with film community.
By taking part in this project Łukasz affirms that Komeda is an inspiration not only for strictly jazz musicians, but also representatives of various other music trends. Lach is a founder and leader of popular Polish alternative rock group L.Stadt with which he released four albums; intensively tours in Europe, Canada, USA and Russia.
Emose Uhunmwangho is one of the most promising young Polish singers dubbed “Polish Billie Holliday”. Her vocal range is six octaves.
Emose was born in Poland, but her father is from Nigeria. She studied singing and acting at the Music Academy in Łódź. Since 2009, she has been working with the Capitol Theatre in Wrocław.
British James Morton is one of the most exciting saxophone players of his generation. He took part in two first concerts The 3 Sounds of Komeda in Poland, was a music director of tribute concert for famous Polish poet Halina Poswiatowska featuring Massive Attack, Roni Size and Katie Melua.