Nowadays this name is well-known to the jazz audience in many countries.
L.Vintskevich features with such jazz masters as Lembit Saarsalu,
Elvin Jones, Lionel Hampton, Kevin Mahogany, Valery Ponomarev, Evelyn
White, John Stowell, Conrad Herwig, Eve Cornelious, Jutta Glasger,
Jarmo Hiekkala and many others.
The pianist's brilliant technique and creativity,
his remarkable "explosive" style, daring, impudent outlook
and emotionality were highly appraised by the public and the critics.
Leonid Vintskevich born in 1949 in the town of Kursk,
Russia, Leonid has played the piano since the age of seven. As a
twenty-year-old student of the piano at the Kazan conservatory,
his favorite composers are Musorgsky, Scryabin, Prokofiev, Berg,
Messian, he was able to hear the radio broadcast direct of German
Lukianov (flugelhorn) and Igor Bril (piano). This performance made
a strong and serious impression on him, influencing the conceptions
of his own compositions of jazz music. He first turned to the classical
style of jazz, the later became interested in studying new, avant-garde
jazz. The second strong impression on this style was the folk choir
of the South Russia village of Fostchevatovo, in which he heard
the harmony of Stravinsky's music.
After finishing the conservatory, he taught in Kursk
musical school. There, he established a stage jazz section and in
1976, he formed a professional jazz ensemble. In 1979 he burst into
the world of jazz with his distinctive music diffused with Russian
folk motives and this time Leonid formed a trio (Sergey Vintskevich
- bas, Nicolai Adamov - drums) and write several compositions: "Wood
spirit", "Wormwood", "Autumn song", "Burlatskaya"
and others, to bore a part in festivals in Fergana (Uzbekistan),
Samara (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia). Leonid later formed a duo with
saxophone player Vladimir Konovaltsev, which was highly successful.
Then, in 1984, Leonid met Estonian saxophonist Lembit
Saarsalu who became his musical partner (and stays his partner until
now, despite of the fact that now, after Soviet Union's end, Russia
and Estonia are two different countries). Both found, in each other,
mutual interests and feelings. The duo form of musical improvisation
exhibits a strong artistic expression especially when each musician
is tuned to the other and, remaining still himself, is absorbed
in his partner. The unique duo - Leonid Vintskevich and Lembit Saarsalu
- was first from ex-USSR in the Lionel Hampton/Chevron Jazz Festival.
This small ensemble produces its magic music based not only upon
jazz music language but also upon both Russian and Estonian folk
traditions. 1989 was the year of their first-ever appearance at
LHJF. They repeated it in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001. After
the performances in the USA "DOWN BEAT" reported of these
experiments as "…a perfect, unrestrained Russian avantgarde,
where Errol Garner does not contradict Cecil Taylor…"
Leonid Vintskevich takes part in the most celebrated
jazz festivals in Europe, Russia, USA and the countries of CIS:
Prague, Jazzbuehne in Berlin, Jazztage in Leipzig, the JVS North
Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, the Lionel Hampton/Chevron Jazz
Festival, Baltic Jazz, Turku Jazz Festival, Jazz Kaar, Kaamus Jazz,
Silda Jazz and others.
A graduate of the Russian Gnesin Academy of Music. Nickolai is
a frequenter of the Russian jazz scene, has a CD "V&F Project"
in work at the "Boheme Music".
A most remarkable new generation jazzman. A prizeman
of Moscow Jazz Journalists' Association "Jazz Ear-98"
in the nomination "Musician deserving wider recognition".
He had a honor to play with Lionel Hampton Orchestra
in USA and to play with such figures as Lewis Nash, Grady Tate,
Santi Debriano, Bill Charlap, Mike Ellis, Daniel Moreno, Barry Wedgle.
Nickolai took part in the festivals: Lionel Hampton/Chevron
Jazz Festival (1999), Jazz Kaar-2000 (Estonia), KaamosJazz-2000
(Finland), Jazz Province-1999, 2000, 2001 (Russia), Boheme Music
(Moscow, Russia), Moscow autumn (Russia), Stroom-Jazz (Ukraine),
Peter-Lada (S.-Petersburg, Russia).
After his performance on Lionel Hampton Festival in
1999 they wrote: "However, the most striking "Russian
surprise" of the festival is Nikolai Vintskevich (ss), the
son of the pianist from Kursk. His performance on the first day
of the festival did not remain unnoticed: he demonstrated a confident,
grasping and bright play. Hampton listened to him from behind the
curtain. At last it was the final day of the festival. The field
house which hosted the festival was full - nine thousand spectators!
The closing was played by Lionel Hampton's orchestra. Hampton, a
small man bent with age, braced himself up and made it to the stage.
He sang a few couplets, played a couple of short solos and waved
his bright mallets, conducting his passionately swinging band.
Here came Nikolai Vintskevich and played solo in a
dialogue with Hampton (where did this 90-year-old man get so much
energy mingled with high performance, ebullience and vigor?). They
played for quite a long time - ten quadrates - only stars can afford
playing such long solos with an orchestra! They whipped up a series
of storms and roar of acclamation - the audience liked Vintskevich
junior. After the performance Nikolai, overwhelmed with emotion,
received off-stage hugs and congratulations (not only out of courtesy)
from musicians and journalists". (from a review by Kirill Moshkov).
In 2000 Nikolai Vintskevich recorded a CD called V&F
Project. Evgeniy Dolgik, editor of jazz magazine "Jazz-square",
wrote, "Our Russian acid-jazz seems to have a promising future.
At least, I believe that the new project of Nikolai Vintskevich
- Alexey Filimonov, is one of the best CDs recently recorded in
this jazz style. The boys caught the right balance between computer
and live sound which gives the charm of novelty. At the same time,
and this is most important, they still play real jazz. Those who
are used to tradition and bebop will probably disagree, but that's
that - such is the jazz today. Hard synthesized rhythms, lots of
various sequencers, programmed bass - what does that all have to
do with jazz, you might think… But it has, it seems that all advanced
technologies used in disco or electronic music may apply here as
well. When the original though more of a rock-like rather than a
jazz sound is mixed with really driving, but not flickering jazz
sax (or at times piano) - and something extraordinary is born. One
can't miss its most evident distinguishing features. Firstly, you
can hardly dance to it (though acid jazz originally developed as
a sort of dancing music). Secondly, some affectation of its rhythms,
which makes a contrast to live and unpredictable acoustic instruments,
does not sounds irritating but intriguing, creating a special performing
style. And at last, jazz roots obviously prevail here. That is where
the shoe pinches - acid jazz may concentrate mainly on clear dancing
rhythm, with jazz used to emphasize the novelty of the style; but
it may as well be based on jazz and develop it introducing modern
The project of Nikolai Vintskevich and Alexey Filimonov
attracts first of all with their new performing style I've just
mentioned. Nilolai's sax is most interesting - an open, free and
aggressive style, nothing excessive and screamy. Compared to western
players (and it will surely do good to a young musician), he is
approaching, to my mind, to Greg Osby's style. If he keeps going,
the fellow is sure to have promising future. It's not by chance
that Lionel Hampton once invited him to play at the festival in
Idaho." (Evgeny Dolgikh, "Jazz-êâàäðàò", No 7(30)'2000,
"Nikolai Vintskevich (V), young saxophonist,
the son of a jazz pianist Leonid Vintskevich. Alexey Filimonov (F),
young pianist, who studied together with Nikolai in "Gnesinka"
(renowned music college in Moscow). As a saxophonist, Nikolai Vintskevich
has a drive for smooth jazz - mild romantic melodies caress the
ear. Pianist Alexey Filimonov prefers acid-jazz - he experiments
with hip-hop samples and employs markedly "low-tech" timbres.
These two vectors of opposite directions create an atmosphere of
pleasant indefiniteness. In the middle of the album there appears
a third vector - guest vocalists Yana Podkar and Andrey Ivashevsky.
They sing Michael Franks' "When I Give My Love To You".
The drop-curtain number is a very dark and powerful trip-hop song
"At The World's End". The album lasts 42 minutes - nowadays
undoubtedly a sign of respect to the audience. Moreover, sense of
measure and good taste will do anyone good. Even if the vectors
run in opposite directions". (Yulia Saprikina, magazine "Afisha",
No22, 30.10-12.11 2000).