DAINIUS PULAUSKAS ACOUSTIC GROUP
Dainius Pulauskas – p
Valerijus Ramoška – tp, flhn
Liutauras Janušaitis – ts, fl
Arman Isojan – db
Augustas Baronas – dr
Dainius Pulauskas’ group has performed in this line up only a couple of times. His acoustic Quintet debuted at the 2018 Vilnius Jazz Festival. Pulauskas formed it for the international interdisciplinary project The 3 Sounds of Komeda in memory of Krzysztof Komeda, a cult Polish jazz creator, pianist and film composer.
Dainius described the new initiative as a desire to return to a more traditional sound, elaborated improvisations and to revel in the ensemble playing. There are no electronic instruments in this group: synthesizer is replaced by piano, bass guitar – by double bass. “Every musician can reveal his individuality here, showcase his mastery and imagination,” the group leader said.
Indeed, interpreting the work of the Polish jazz genius the Quintet fascinated the audience with the panache, virtuosity and imagination of improvisations. Tonight, in addition to Dainius’ compositions written specially for Birštonas Jazz, the colourful and emotional program of Pulauskas acoustic group will feature several compositions by Komeda.
One of our most prominent jazz masters – keyboardist, composer and band leader Dainius Pulauskas – has tried his hand in almost all conceivable creative forms. His works range from acoustic solo to symphonic jazz and big band compositions. He has improvised with various ensembles, choirs and even birds.
Dainius composes for large-scale and chamber ensembles. He also writes music for theatre and film, the Lithuanian Song Festivals, regularly takes part in TV projects with the LRT group for which he also arranges music. The Estonian National Opera and Ballet Theatre produced a contemporary ballet based on Pulauskas’ original compositions. Furthermore, the musician represented Lithuania in a multinational composers’ collective – the mastermind of an anthem for the Europe Jazz Network (EJN). His music was featured in the Euroradio Jazz Orchestra’s live broadcast in European countries from Riga.
It is for his original compositions Dainius’ collectives garnered recognition. Birštonas Jazz 1996 hosted the debut of his first group, Dainius Pulauskas Quintet, which grew into Sextet – one of the leading and most widely internationally recognised Lithuanian jazz collectives. In 2001, the Sextet received “Gold Disc” awarded to the best musicians of the year by the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union. In 2004, the Lithuanian Institute presented the ensemble with “LT tapatybė” (LT Identity) award for international promulgation of Lithuanian jazz.
Since 2004, the Dainius Pulauskas Group (DPG) has become an umbrella-title for various jazz formations led by Dainius Pulauskas. DPG has made Lithuania even more famous in the world: they have travelled to more than 150 festivals in 35 countries on four continents.
DPG was the first Lithuanian group to enter the stages of Malaysia, Indonesia, South African Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Korea. The group was applauded in prestigious Ottawa, London, Tokyo and Washington jazz festivals. In winter of this year DPG held the third grand tour of India, where it appeared on almost all major jazz scenes.
The Best of 20 Years, the group’s ninth album, documents the group’s path, presents the DPG’s best compositions of all times. Maestro’s music can be heard on eighteen author CDs, two author DVDs and nine jazz collections.
His compositions were also included in Centenary, a CD featuring giants of Baltic classical music. In this recording he collaborated with Estonian and Latvian jazz coryphées Toivo Unt and Maris Briezkalns, presented the CD in festivals in Canada (Ottawa Jazz Festival), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Dainius’ latest author album, recorded with the Amber String Quartet, features original compositions and arranged dances.
In addition to jazz exponents, he collaborates with folk and academic music performers. In international projects Pulauskas has teamed up with the Latvian Radio Big Band, musicians from the USA, France, Israel, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Germany and Russia.
The keyboardist has given solo appearances in international jazz piano festivals in Liepaja and Prague, performed at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic. He has earned a number of awards: “Bravo” (1999) for the best Lithuanian jazz musician; Grand Prix for the best arrangement of Yesterday by Lennon and McCartney at the International Competition Yesterday Pärnu’99 (Estonia); Birštonas Jazz, Vilnius Jazz and Kaunas Jazz awards for contributions to Lithuanian jazz; was twice nominated for the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize.
Valerijus Ramoška, one of the most in demand Lithuanian trumpeters, is a recipient of Birštonas Jazz’s Grand Prix (2014). He is a regular member of DPG, with which he performed in more than 150 festivals, toured 30 countries.
The trumpeter also collaborates with Jievaras Jasinskis’ Reinless and Lithuanian JJazz Ensemble, performs as a soloist with other Lithuanian big bands, plays in various chamber formations, takes part in the LRT projects and contemporary academic music events. Valerijus devotes much time to pedagogical work.
Composer, arranger, electronic music producer and multi-instrumentalist Liutauras Janušaitis is best known in Lithuania as the first Lithuanian jazz saxophonist to graduate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He still plays in the Boylston Jazz Quartet with Japanese and South Korean fellow students from Berklee.
For over a decade, Liutauras has been collaborating with many Lithuanian jazz, funk and pop music performers and groups, annually partaking in various music projects in Europe, the USA, Canada, South Korea and Japan.
In 2013, the saxophonist joined Dainius Pulauskas Group (DPG), with it participated in Ottawa and London festivals as well as main jazz festivals of Africa, India, China, Japan and the Ukraine; appeared in other countries. He also is a member of Jievaras Jasinskis’ Reinless. In 2012–2017, he was a conductor of Kaunas Big Band, later became a co-founder of Lithuanian JJazz Ensemble jazz orchestra.
Since 2005, he has taken part in all Lithuanian jazz festivals. He composes and arranges not only jazz, but also chamber music, is a producer of electronic and experimental music projects. His song Amžinai (Forever) was awarded second place in the Radio Lithuanian song contest.
In addition to recordings made in Lithuania, Liutauras was a guest performer in over ten albums recorded in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Spain and United States. His double solo album Two Different Sides (in CD and LP format), released in 2017, earned enthusiastic recognition.
Double bassist Arman Isojan studied the violin at the Stasys Šimkus Conservatoire in Klaipėda, later graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre as a double bassist.
The bassist started his professional career in Klaipėda – played in Klaipėda Music Theatre, Jurgis Barakauskas’ Dixieland, Kęstutis Sova’s Quintet. The musician has appeared in various projects, took part in almost all Lithuanian jazz festivals as well as Jazznica 2011 festival in Slovakia, and international project Divercities Grenoble 2012 in France.
In 2013, Arman earned a special prize at the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition as a bassist of R.A.D.D. and Legentet, and as a member of R.A.D.D. claimed the Grand Prix.
Augustas Baronas started his career at a school age – with The Magic Time Orchestra big band he appeared in festivals in Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Sweden.
After earning a Bachelor Degree from the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and a Master Degree from the Dutch Academy of Music in Amsterdam, the musician and his family returned to Lithuania.
Here he collaborates with the leading Lithuanian jazz musicians including Kęstutis Vaiginis, Dmitry Golovanov, Veronika Čičinskaitė-Golovanova, Leonardas Pilkauskas, Domas Aleksa and Dominykas Vyšniauskas. In his tours abroad he works with Italian saxophonist Claudio Jr De Rosa’s international jazz quartet. With it he appeared in Nord See Jazz, performed on prestigious jazz scenes in Umbria and elsewhere in Europe.