daugiau
33rd Vilnius Jazz Festival. 15-18 October, 2020

Arnas Mikalkėnas Trio

Lithuania

Arnas Mikalkėnas - p
Eugenijus Kanevičius - db
Marijus Aleksa - dr

Versatile jazz musicians appear in this line-up for the first time. The trio was formed by keyboardist A. Mikalkėnas, but he does not call himself the leader of this ensemble, although music performed at the concert belongs to his hand. Arnas is convinced that talented partners will enrich the program with their ideas and mastery – the compositions will sound anew even for himself.

However, this project is not an experiment, with the members of the trio meeting on the stage by accident. It was with these old acquaintances that A. Mikalkėnas wanted to delve into genre of the traditional jazz trio. Arnas has played a lot with E. Kanevičius. At the beginning of his career, he also played with M. Aleksa, and later kept an eye on his activities abroad. So now, after quite a while, the like-minded people will meet on stage for the first time as mature improvisers.

Arnas Mikalkėnas, a percussionist, keyboardist, composer, leader, pedagogue and Spiritus Movens of numerous projects, is dedicated to non-commercial music.

In 2011–2015, he studied jazz piano at the Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Music, in 2015–2017 – electronic music composition and performance at the Kaunas University of Technology.

Via his idiosyncratic creations showcasing utmost attention to sound the musician bravely breaks the common notion of musical categories. Mockūnas is his regular stage partner. They both appear in various formations at the Improdimensija series. Since 2013, they have been performing as a trio with Haåkon Berre, a Norwegian drummer residing in Denmark. The trio has toured in Lithuania, Estonia, Norway and the Czech Republic and released the album Plunged (Barefoot Records).

Inspired by free jazz trio Ąžuoliniai berželiai he formed Fluxus, one of his main collectives. He also plays in duos with Tomas Razmus, and with Dominykas Vyšniauskas, composes music for Kaunas Drama Theatre, takes part in theatre productions. The productive partnership has associated the improviser with Justinas Kalinauskas, the creator of contemporary alternative theatre and happenings.

Mikalkėnas has collaborated with a number of renowned Lithuanian and foreign masters of improvised music including Vytautas Labutis, Arkady Gotesman, Dalius Naujokaitis, Arvydas Joffė, Yumiko Yoshimoto, Michael Moore, Santiago Quintans, Kresten Osgood, Anto Pett, Kenny Wollesen, Anne Liis Poll, Lasse Lindgren, Jerome Fourrier, Ken McCann, Francesco Angiuli and Nuria Andorrà.

In addition, the musician is actively involved in educational work. In 2018, together with a businesswoman Daiva Masaitytė he opened Jazz Academy in Kaunas, an institution of non-formal education for young enthusiasts who are not satisfied with the curriculum offered by the national music schools. The musician also teaches at the LAMT.

Mikalkėnas has given concerts in Italy, Germany, Ireland, Poland and other countries.

Eugenijus Kanevičius, one of the most versatile Lithuanian bassists, has been playing jazz for almost a quarter of a century. Having shared the stage with almost all Lithuanian jazz masters he has played a wide variety of music – from radical free to melodic mainstream.

The bassist was part of Petras Vyšniauskas’, Juozas Milašius’, Liudas Mockūnas’, Vytautas Labutis’, Vladimir Tarasov’s and Tomas Kutavičius’ significant projects, has contributed to the success of Kaunas Big Band and Vilnius Jazz Quartet, has appeared in Vladimir Tarasov’s Lithuanian Art Orchestra and collaborated with Estonian saxophonist Raivo Tafenau Quartet and Dream Big Band. In recent years, Kanevičius has had an impressive trio with Mockūnas and Tarasov, recorded the vinyl album Intuitus with them, which was released by “NoBusiness Records”.

Kanevičius’ music is featured on albums of Raivo Tafenau Quartet, L.V.K.A. and other groups. He composes chants as well as music for children, theatre productions and films.

In various formations he has represented Lithuania in Bulgaria, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, etc.

In 2004, for his contributions the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union presented Kanevičius with Gold Disc.

Marijus Aleksa, one of our most interesting and professional drummers, returned to Lithuania last year after a decade in London. According to Marijus, freedom is the most important thing in life. The quest for it has determined his atypical creative path.

At only 12, Marijus formed his first band with his brother bassist Domas Aleksa, and a few years later he was able to make a living from music. He made his debut on jazz scene in 1999 at the age of thirteen. This happened at the Vilnius Jazz festival. To this day, Marijus remains the youngest jazz musician to perform at this festival.

At the age of 21, he had played with almost all of our most prominent avant-garde artists and jazz teachers, so he decided to hone his skills abroad. Frustrated with his studies in Berlin, the drummer settled in London and started accumulating experience by playing in jazz clubs. Within three years, he had joined the local music community, and the following seven years he spent flying around the world giving concerts and recording music.

Aleksa gives about one hundred fifty performances a year on various continents. He has played with many pop and jazz stars, including All Saints, Blue, Maverick Sabre, Anthony Joseph, Femi Temowo, Dennis Rollins and China Moses. This year Marijus recorded the album at the Ronnie Scott’s jazz club with Grammy winner Snarky Puppy’s keyboardist Bill Laurance’s trio The Pines.

The Lithuanian represented the British young jazz generation in New Band Leaders Quartet with the most prominent contemporary English jazz stars Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry and David Mrakpor, participated in Blue Note at Sea (USA), one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, recorded music in the world’s most famous studios “Abbey Road” and “Air studios”, has signed a contract with the influential music publishing company SONY/ATV.

Two years ago, the drummer released his first personal vinyl album, Maps, with the luminaries of London’s contemporary jazz scene.

After returning to Lithuania, Marijus had already managed to establish his own rhythm school. Last winter with friends from London he organized Tamsta Jazz Weekend festival at the Tamsta club, which he promises to continue.

Finally, we will hear this citizen of the world playing with Lithuanians on the stage of the Lithuanian jazz festival.

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