European jazz in Siberia: EniJazz Festival in Krasnoyarsk

by Cyril Moshkow, Jazz.Ru Magazine

On October 16 and 17, 2013, the Philharmonic society in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk presents the third edition of EniJazz, regional jazz festival produced by Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic’s jazz programmer, Boris Borodushkin.

With its population above one million, Krasnoyarsk is the biggest city in Eastern Siberia and 13th-biggest in Russia. The new Philharmonic building with its three different auditoriums hosts regional symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a Russian folk instruments orchestra, and regional ballet company. Since 2011, the Philharmonic produces the annual EniJazz Festival (name derived from Siberia’s biggest river Krasnoyarsk is sitting on, Enisei.)

Yakov Okun

Yakov Okun (photo © Vladimir Korobitsyn, Jazz.Ru Magazine)


The 3rd EniJazz festival starts with Yakov Okun residence. Moscow-based pianist Yakov Okun, 41, is described by American jazz critic Tedd Panken as “an individualistic voice, an important player, able in his improvisations to refract an entire timeline of jazz vocabulary in a cogent, compositional manner,” who is “a major force in Russian Jazz since the mid ‘90s.” What placed Okun on the international stage was not only his work with the likes of Donny McCaslin, Johnny Griffin, Lew Tabackin, Eddie Henderson, Alex Sipiagin, Craig Handy, Deborah Brown and many others who toured Russia with Yakov Okun Trio, but also his 2011 Criss Cross debut, “New York Enconter” (with Ben E. Street on bass and Billy Drummond on drums,) the first-ever U.S./European jazz release by a Russian leader who did not move to the U.S., but kept working on his homeland soil. Together with his band that includes two Americans, renowned alto sax man Steve Slagle and drummer Joe Farnworth, Yakov will hold a residence workshop for four days just prior to the festival, coaching several young jazz musicians, students at the Krasnoyarsk Music Academy and local music colleges, as well as a few students from other Siberian cities who competed earlier this month to take part in the workshop.

The festival’s main program that features musicians from Poland, Estonia, Italy, Russia, and the U.S., opens on October 16 with a solo performance by renowned Polish pianist, Leszek Możdżer.

Leszek Możdżer (photo © Anna Filipieva, Jazz.Ru Magazine)

Leszek Możdżer (photo © Anna Filipieva, Jazz.Ru Magazine)

The same evening, Estonian band, Peedu Kass Momentum, will present to Siberian audiences the music of their leader, 27-years-old bassist Peedu Kass who teamed up with Estonia’s premier jazz pianist, Kristjan Randalu, and drummer Toomas Rull.

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On October 17, the festival concert at the 1,600-seat Main hall of the Philharmonic Building opens with a set from Mikhail Okun Trio. Pianist Mikhail Okun debuted in Leonid Utiosov Orchestra in mid-1970s, then worked in Herman Lukianov’s KADANS, and for more than two decades, up to 2010, was playing piano in country’s (and, arguably, world’s) oldest jazz big band, Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra which established in 1934. In his trio, Mikhail’s son Yakov Okun is playing drums, as he is not only a top-level jazz pianist, but also an accomplished jazz drummer.

Yakov Okun Quintet, with Nasheet Waits on drums, plays the second set.

The night’s final performance is given to Italian jazz quartet led by saxophonist Carla Marciano.

All concerts are hosted on stage by Iouri Lnogradski, associate editor at the Jazz.Ru Magazine, who also produces the MuzEnergo festival in his home town of Dubna, Moscow region. Traditionally, an on-stage host lays an important role at most jazz festivals in Russia, by not only presenting the musicians, but also providing background, and explaining about the music, thus not only filling the stage change time, but also providing an educational element in the festival’s programming.

More details in Europe Jazz Media member Jazz.Ru Magazine (in Russian) >>>>

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