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Leonid Vintskevich



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.


Nickolai Vintskevich


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 hi-tech sound.

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-", No 7(30)'2000, p.80).

"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).


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