Liudas Mockūnas - saxes, cl
This project was inspired by Improdimensija (Improdimension) series. Improdimensija is a creative platform for experimentation and education, opening up as yet unexplored sound valleys, where not only seasoned improvisers, but also young creators unleash their creative powers. Tonight, the entire evening is dedicated to the music of the participants of this dynamic movement.
Improdimensija originated from free jazz and improvised music concerts, organized by Arnas Mikalkėnas, a multi-instrumentalist, composer and founder of Jazz Academy, and his friends in Kaunas. After Liudas Mockūnas, a saxophonist and composer, and Arūnas Zujus, the owner of the recording studio MAMA Studios, joined Mikalkėnas, Improdimensija projects started appearing in this studio in Vilnius.
Almost all improvisers from abroad also give masterclasses to young Lithuanian jazzmen. Improdimensija encourages and fosters intergenerational dialogue and collegial collaboration. Younger generation musicians share the Improdimensija stage with the Lithuanian and international luminaries.
The Improdimensija series presented not only Lithuanian coryphées of jazz and improvised music such as Vyacheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Chekasin, Vladimir Tarasov, Dalius Naujokaitis, Juozas Milašius, Arkady Gotesman, Tomas Kutavičius and many others, but also the world stars of the genre: Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, John Butcher, Jim Black, Drew Gress, etc.
The Improdimensija series also hosted Liudas Mockūnas’ duo performances with Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández as well as Danish percussionist Christian Windfeld. Both performances have already been recorded on NoBusiness Records’ vinyl albums. During their visit to Vilnius, in addition to concerts, Liudas’ partners also shared their expertise with the students of the LAMT Contemporary Music/Improvised Music Master Program.
The musicians decided to introduce themselves as a trio at this year’s Vilnius Jazz.
Liudas Mockūnas, one of the leading representatives of improvised music in the Baltics, a multi-instrumentalist, composer and group leader, has played in duets with many great partners over the past decade, including Barry Guy, Marc Ducret, Mats Gustafsson, Petras Geniušas, William Hooker, Ryoji Hojito and Kazomo Yojito Umezu.
During the pandemic, the artist’s discography was enriched with six albums. Last year, NoBusiness Records label, founded in 2008 together with two like-minded colleagues – Valerij Anosov, the owner of the music company Thelonious, and Danas Mikailionis, jazz connoisseur, – became the winner of the Vilnius Jazz prize for contribution to Lithuanian jazz.
Graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT) and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen instantly took active stance on the European improvised music scene.
The musician collaborates with Pierre Dørge and his New Jungle Orchestra, Jacob Anderskov, Nils Davidsen, Mats Eilertsen, Mikko Innanen, Mark Solborg, Jonas Westergaard, Jakob Riis, Jaak Sooäär, Hugo Carvalhais, Vladimir Tarasov, Vladimir Chekasin, Arkady Gotesman, and many other intriguing jazz musicians.
He has taken part in programmes of Andrew Hill’s Jazz Par octet, Ibrahim Electric, British TrioVD, Free Tallinn Trio, Raymond Strid and Frank Gratkowski among other jazz innovators. The musician is the leader of Mockūno Nuclear and Traffic Trio, a co-leader of international collectives 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.
In 2004, Liudas 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 “Golden 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. Moreover, Mockūnas has written music for Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra and Chordos String Quartet.
In addition, he is famed 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, Osvaldas Balakauskas and Vytautas Germanavičius.
As a soloist he has performed with Kralovy Hradec Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian State and Lithuanian National symphony orchestras 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 70 albums. He is an associate professor at the Jazz Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, generator (with composer Vykintas Baltakas) of the Contemporary Music/Improvised Music Master Program. The students of this program have established themselves as the vanguard of the Improdimensija movement and have become a true driving force of Vilnius’ underground life. We were convinced of that at the last year’s Vilnius Jazz.
Agustí Fernández is one of the most important representatives of Spanish improvised music scene. The Village Voice described his unique style as an amalgam of modern classical music and free improvisation.
The pianist is a member of Blue Shroud Band, Mats Gustafsson’s NU Ensemble and Barry Guy’s New Orchestra. He has collaborated with Peter Kowald, Derek Bailey, Bitch Morris, Evan Parker, Joel Ryan and Peter Evans among many other jazz coryphées.
He has also worked with the recognised composer of contemporary music Héctor Parra, who in collaboration with the pianist composed FREC, a solo for expanded piano. In collaboration with the video artist Lucas Caraba, FREC has been premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2013.
Fernández has conducted various improvised music ensembles including Ad Libitum Ensemble (Warsaw), Free Art Ensemble (Barcelona), Ansambl Studio 6 (Lujbljana), Orquesta FOCO (Madrid), Entenguerengue (Jérez de la Frontera), Impromtu Ensemble (Valencia), etc.
Fernández’s discography amounts to 80 albums.
The artist is a recipient of numerous awards. In 2000, he received the Festival Altaveu Award (Cataluña), in 2001 the FAD–Sebastià Guasch Award, Barcelona (Cataluña) with Andrés Corchero.
In 2007, his solo piano project Mutza, presented in New York, was distinguished by the New York magazine AllAboutJazz as one of 10 best concerts of the year. The CD Aurora, recorded with Barry Guy and Ramón López, was selected by Cuadernos de Jazz magazine as the best CD of the year, and as one of the best discs in the history of the Catalan jazz by the Jaç magazine. In addition, French Jazz Magazine nominated it for Disc d’émoi.
The pianist’s CD Un llamp que no s’acaba mai, recorded with John Edwards and Mark Sanders, has been distinguished by AllAboutJazz as one of the best 10 CD’s in 2009.
In 2010, he received the Ciutat de Barcelona Music Award granted by the Council of Barcelona. In 2011, Fernández was the main character of the documentary by Lucas Caraba, which has been screened in several international festivals of documentary.
In 2012, Agustí Fernández Aurora Trio garnered the second prize at the BMW Welt Jazz Awards in Munich, Germany. In 2013, Fernández received the National Prize of Culture, granted by the Catalan Government.
Fernández is the professor of improvised music at the Escuela Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC). He has also been teaching in IRCAM in Paris, the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Conservatory in Arnhem (the Netherlands), as well as the Taller de Músicos in Gijón, the Taller de Músics in Barcelona and the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Salamanca (Spain).
Christian Windfeld is a Danish improviser, percussionist and composer, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark.
The musician started his international career at the age of 19 touring all over Europe, North America and Australia. He lived in Stockholm, New York and Berlin.
Windfeld has a minimalist but highly expressive approach to the percussive instruments often reducing his set-up to focus on just one instrument aiming to transcend the general perception of its capabilities. As a composer he has created installations, taken part in art exhibitions and has been featured in cross media publications with writers and visual artists.
Windfeld is featured as a leader on more than 30 recordings and has recorded two solo albums (2014, 2016).
He has received a number of honours and grants most notably the prestigious “Young Elite” fellowship awarded to him by the Danish Arts Council in 2015.
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