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

Words and Letters

Lithuania

Mindaugas Vadoklis – tp
Simonas Nekrošius – selfmade instruments
Dovydas Stalmokas – saxes
Kristupas Gikas – fl
Domas Žeromskas‎ – p
Domantas Razmus – dr, perc

With the participation of actor Dainius Gavenonis‎

The project’s idea was first realized three years ago on the initiative of composer Gintaras Sodeika, the head of Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre, on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the famous Lithuanian artist, poet, curator and filmmaker Jonas Mekas (1922–2019). Then, at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library and Kaunas Artists’ House actor Dainius Gavenonis read Mekas’ poems while musicians accompanied it with improvisations.

Now the trumpeter Mindaugas Vadoklis has come up with the idea to resurrect the project and the spirit of Mekas, gathering even wilder stage hotheads. However, the excitement of the improvisers will be tempered by the guide – Mekas’ poems from the collection Words and Letters.

Mindaugas Vadoklis is one of the most talented and versatile trumpeters on the Lithuanian improvised music scene. He is involved in musical and interdisciplinary art projects, is a regular participant in international jazz events, is the organizer of the Jazzpark festival, and the founder and manager of the PI Menų Cechas.

The trumpeter studied jazz at Klaipeda University and the LAMT, in 2009–2017 taught at the Jazz Department of his Alma Mater. Since 2007, he has been working in the National Defence Volunteer Forces Big Band; collaborates in many other ensembles, including Lithuanian Art Orchestra, Lithuanian Jazz Ensemble, the Klaipėda Jazz Orchestra, Baltic Salsa Orchestra, performs with his trio Sounds of Future and Jazzconnect, creates light and music installations with Linas Kutavičius and Eugenijus Konstantinovas.

Mindaugas collaborates with many Lithuanian and foreign jazz, funk, pop, hip-hop, world and electronic music performers, has recorded over 15 music albums with them, and performed in major halls in Europe and around the world.

He has given concerts with Jojo Mayer, Sheila Raye Charles, Victor Mendoza, Kenny Wollesen, Jonathan Haffner, Retto Zuchner, Fulvio Buccafusco, Fabrizio Brusca, Bilal Karaman, many other well-known foreign musicians, and the most prominent masters of Lithuanian jazz and improvised music.

Mindaugas has performed with various groups in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States.

Simonas Nekrošius is a sound artist, improviser, creator of experimental, electroacoustic instruments, and generator of sound performances. Since 2015, he has been participating in the activities of the independent DIY (do-it-yourself) art project space Studium P, and is one of its founders. In 2016, the artist joined the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Art Union.

The idiosyncratic creator actively participates in various contemporary art, experimental music and sound art events, experiments with non-traditional forms of sound production. He uses self-made sound objects and sculptures in his spontaneous performances.

Dovydas Stalmokas is an uncompromising experimenter, initiator and participant of various improvised music projects.

Having received his first jazz skills from his father saxophonist, Dovydas became more seriously interested in jazz while studying at the Stasys Šimkus Conservatoire in Klaipėda. Later, he completed his Bachelor and Master studies under professor Petras Vyšniauskas in the Jazz Department at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, studied under the “Erasmus” exchange program at the Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, so he mastered his instrument and different jazz styles to perfection.

According to the saxophonist, jazz needs to be played the way no one has played before. He searches for interesting sounds using unconventional extended techniques, by preparing instruments, playing two saxophones at once, and more.

In 2009, Stalmokas was recognized as the best instrumentalist of the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition and won the Grand Prix with his group Yrinauda. In 2012, Dovydas toured the Old Continent with the European Saxophone Ensemble, and in 2013 performed at Chicago’s Umbrella Jazz festival in Indianapolis and New York, USA.

The musician is actively involved in Lithuania’s music life appearing with formations of various genres. He is the leader of Horny Horns, The Honkin’Dudes Brass Band, The Yrinauders, Aprašymaa, Yrinauda and ​​The Lawn Mowers Electric Brass Band, a member of Improdimensija, Vilnius and Klaipėda jazz orchestras, and Šiauliai City Big Band, plays in MozX trio and other bands.

Dovydas is convinced that jazz needs constant change. Fuelled by enthusiasm, with no funds, he was able to organize the Temafest festival in Klaipėda featuring finest groups, and had already twice assembled the entire saxophone orchestra Baritone Saxophone Army on the occasion of the birthday of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax.

Kristupas Gikas graduated from the M.K. Čiurlionis National School of Arts in 2012 and continued his classical music studies at the LAMT, where he later turned to improvised music. The performer also studied at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, the Netherlands.

K. Gikas is a member of the improvised music ensemble Laivo troupe, takes active part in various projects of this genre, as well as electronic music and interdisciplinary art in Lithuania and abroad.

Domas Žeromskas is one of the most promising Lithuanian jazz pianists, who started to shine with exceptional talents while still at the Balys Dvarionas Music School, where his first creative laboratory was a student jazz ensemble led by Vytautas Labutis. Later, the pianist joined Labutis’ Silent Blast, the group patronised and internationally promoted by Kaunas Jazz festival. With this group, Domas has performed at international festivals in Serbia, Ukraine, Estonia and Poland.

At the age of 18, Žeromskas had already played with many prominent Lithuanian jazz professionals. In the summer of 2018, after a master’s course at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue an undergraduate degree at that school.

Last year, the pianist released his debut album Infinite Itinerant, in which he recorded his original compositions and arrangements with well-known Lithuanian jazz performers and foreign improvisers. The performer is currently continuing his studies in Boston.

On the Vilnius Jazz stage, Domas was last heard in 2018 with Jurevičius Group, which won the Grand Prix of the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition. Domas was then recognized as the best instrumentalist in the competition. In 2017, he became the discovery of the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition.

Domantas Razmus is a drummer and percussionist of Lithuanian younger generation appearing on jazz and improvised music scene. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen, winning an audition for the Travelling Youth Orchestra, with which he performed in France and the Baltic countries.

The drummer has a Master Degree in contemporary music and improvisation from the LAMT and is currently a freelance musician. He plays in Leonardas Pilkauskas’ Septet, Dima Golovanov’s trio, Veronica Chichi Quartet, as well as Cinamono, Castor Stetson, Honkin’ dudes, Laivo Troupe and Lithuanian JJazz Orchestra.

Various projects brought him on stage with many Lithuanian jazz and improvised music greats, including Liudas Mockūnas, Arnas Mikalkėnas, Kęstutis Vaiginis, Jievaras Jasinskis, Liutauras Janušaitis, Vytis Smolskus and Klaudijus Štuopinis. Domantas has appeared in all major jazz festivals in Lithuania, as well as participated in contemporary music festivals in Raseiniai, Druskomanija and Jauna Muzika.

Razmus is a winner of several Vilnius Jazz festivals: in 2012, as a member of R.A.D.D. he won Grand Prix at the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition, in 2016 claimed the same award with TDT and in 2018 – with Jurevičius Group. In 2017, he garnered first prize at the Tamsta Drumday competition.

Dainius Gavenonis is one of the foremost Lithuanian theatre and film actors. He has been a member of the Oskaras Koršunovas troupe since 1999, and has been working at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre since 2011. The actor has repeatedly been awarded prizes by the Ministry of Culture for the best roles of the season, and is a laureate of the Silver Cranes (2009), Golden Stage Cross (2012) and the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize (2015).

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