Kęstutis Sova – saxes,
Formed a few years ago, the trio united Kaunas and Klaipėda improvisers. They are all versatile musicians, fans of free jazz. The desire to play together helps like-minded people to overcome the distances that separate them, especially since the musicians are also connected by pedagogical activities in the private Jazz Academy founded by A. Mikalkėnas.
Arnas and Kęstutis together initiated and continue to advocate the Lithuanian Youth Jazz Orchestra, which brought together young talents from all over the country – even its most remote corners. Last year, this ensemble became a finalist in the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition.
Mikalkėnas also should be credited for the formation of FreeFS. The trio mainly performs compositions by Arnas and the band’s guitarist, which are characterized by a mix of various styles ranging from free jazz and avant-garde to rock and mainstream.
FreeFS has released a cassette tape album Malafa, toured in Estonia, Serbia, and Lithuania.
Saxophonist Kęstutis Sova is a resident of Klaipėda, best known as a musician, pedagogue, and leader of groups in Western Lithuania. He gathered the best jazz musicians of the region – professionals and students, current and former Klaipėda residents – in the Klaipėda Jazz Orchestra, the level of which was not known to the port city. He also plays in the large group Klaipėda SKA Foundation, participates in jazz projects with like-minded people from Vilnius and Kaunas.
Sova is a lecturer at the Klaipėda Faculty of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater (LAMT) and the Klaipėda Branch of Mikalkėnas Jazz Academy established this year, a member of the Šiauliai Big Band, and a soloist of the Klaipėda State Musical Theater.
The saxophonist sided many foreign performers, including Jojo Mayer, Lasse Lingren, Alessandro Florio, Goran Krmac, Adra Karim, Vern Spevak, David Katz, Perico Sambeat, Viktorija Pilatovič, Nicole Zuraitis.
In 2017, for his merits to the jazz of the port city, the musician was awarded the Jazz Star Award established by the Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival.
Tadas Petkevičius-Grajauskas is one of the most interesting jazz and improvised music guitarists of the young generation, for whom there are no stylistic taboos. He has enjoyed a long-term partnership with Mikalkėnas. The performer also teaches at the Jazz Academy established by his colleague and is a teacher at the Jazz Department of the Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Music.
Tadas reveled playing with many prominent improvisers, including Liudas Mockūnas, Michael Moore, Yumiko Yoshimoto. The guitarist has performed at Novi Sad Jazz Festival (Serbia), Vilnius Jazz and Kaunas Jazz.
Arnas Mikalkėnas is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, ensemble leader, pedagogue and Spiritus Movens of numerous projects dedicated to improvised music.
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, Arnas formed Fluxus, one of his main collectives. He also plays in duos with Tomas Razmus and Dominykas Vyšniauskas. 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 Yumiko Yoshimoto, Michael Moore, Santiago Quintans, Kresten Osgood, Anto Pett, Kenny Wollesen, Anne Liis Poll, Lasse Lindgren, Jerome Fourrier, Ken McCann, Francesco Angiuli, Nuria Andorrà, Mikolaj Trzaska, David Stacken and Kirke Karja.
In addition, the musician is actively involved in educational work. In 2018, together with Daiva Masaitytė he opened Jazz Academy in Kaunas, an institution of non-formal education focusing on improvised music. He also teaches at the LAMT.
Mikalkėnas has given concerts in Italy, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Estonia, Norway, Latvia, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, UK, Serbia, Romania, France and other countries.
His discography amounts to over 20 albums.
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