JIEVARAS JASINSKIS’ JJA CHAMBER PROJECT
Jievaras Jasinskis – tb
Mindaugas Vadoklis – flhn
Pranas Kentra – g
Paulius Volkovas – g
Domantas Razmus – perc
Dainius Rudvalis – db
Sigitas Gailius – mar
Andrius Rekašius – vib, mar,
Aistė Baliunytė – harp
Jievaras Jasinskis, a trombonist, composer and arranger who loves experimentation, is once again presenting his debut program and a new direction in his search for creative expression.
In 2016, the musician quaked the audience of Birštonas Jazz with the unorthodox premiere of his band Reinless and Kaunas Big Band, at the previous festival experimented with Reinless as a composer, and this time is bringing together several academic musicians in order to merge two of his favourite elements – jazz and academic music – in his project.
According to Jievaras, academic minimalism is a great backdrop for jazz improvisations.
The mastermind of the project, Jievaras Jasinskis, chose this direction of self-realisation not accidentally – at the moment he is immersed in composition as he is studying it at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He is currently most fascinated by the composer’s craft.
Jievaras’ biography is atypical. He graduated as a trombonist from the Balys Dvarionas Music School but stepped onto music scene from the underground band – Bekešo vilkai. Later, the trombonist joined the most popular youth groups in the country – Saulės kliošas and Skamp. Moreover, he teamed up with InCulto in the Eurovision Song Contest.
However, Jievaras decided to continue his professional career as a classical trombone player – he entered the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT). He also began arranging music. His creative ambitions soon propelled the musician into jazz, and the trombonist suddenly turned into nearly an expert of big bands: besides Reinless, he formed the Lithuanian JJazz Ensemble, became the artistic director and conductor of Kaunas Big Band, debuted in Euroradio Jazz Orchestra (2018), and recently made his debut as a soloist with the Latvian Radio Big Band.
Neither jazz orchestras nor pop musicians can get by without his arrangements. Without him, Andrius Mamontovas’ album Šiaurės naktis. Pusė penkių (North Night. Half past Four) would have hardly been given a new life – and now it was recorded with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Jasinskis arranged the album’s music for the chamber orchestra and this season made his debut as a composer at the LCO’s concert at the National Philharmonic Hall.
His project for this Birštonas Jazz is an attempt to combine his different competencies.
Mindaugas Vadoklis is one of the most talented and versatile trumpeters on Lithuanian improvised music scene. He takes part in music and interdisciplinary art projects.
Mindaugas studied jazz at Klaipėda University and the LAMT. He is the founder and director of the public institution Menų Cechas.
Mindaugas plays in various Lithuanian big bands and jazz ensembles including Lithuanian Art Orchestra, Lithuanian Jazz Ensemble, Klaipėda Jazz Orchestra and Baltic Salsa Orchestra. He has collaborated not only with the most prominent Lithuanian jazz personalities, but also well-known foreign improvisers such as Kenny Wollesen, Jonathan Haffner, Retto Zuchner, Robin Aristoren, Fulvio Buccafusco, Fabrizio Brusca, Goran Krmac and Bilal Karaman among many others. With various formations Mindaugas performed in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, the Ukraine and Baltic States.
Pranas Kentra, a versatile guitarist and jazzman, has studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Vilnius, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and the Prince Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands. He is active in both jazz and contemporary music projects.
The guitarist has sided a number of Lithuanian jazz masters, Kaunas and Vilnius big bands, Dutch, Bulgarian and Chinese musicians, as well as performed with St. Christopher and Klaipėda chamber orchestras. In 2013, Pranas Kentra Trio won the Gitarų šėlsmas (Guitar Rampage) competition in Vilnius. The guitarist is also a member of Synaesthesis contemporary music ensemble.
With various projects Pranas appeared in the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Baltic States. He has released two personal albums.
Paulius Volkovas studied the guitar at the University of Applied Sciences in Vilnius. While still a student he began participating in festivals and competitions as both a performer and composer. In 2006, his trio claimed first prize at the Džiazo fontanas (Jazz Fountain) festival in Panevėžys. In 2009, as a member of Yrinauda he was awarded Grand Prix at the Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition.
The guitarist has worked with Reinless, Jing’a Ling, Saulės Kliošas, Migloko, The Ditties, The Schwings, Baisios Stygos and Mad Harmonix. With various bands he toured in Germany, Poland, Turkey, France, Belarus, Italy, Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
Domantas Razmus, a younger generation drummer, percussionist and composer active on jazz and improvised music scene, has studied jazz at the LAMT and the Prince Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands. Since 2012, he has been performing in concerts, participating in open jazz sessions and experimental music projects.
The drummer is involved in a number of groups including Laivo Troupe, Castor Stetson, Honkin’ Dudes, Leonardas Pilkauskas Septet and Cinamon. With different ensembles (R.A.D.D., TDT, D. Jurevi
ius Group) he won three Grand Prix in Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition (2013, 2016 and 2018). In 2017, he was awarded the first prize at the Tamsta Drumday competition.
Dainius Rudvalis is one of the most promising representatives of Lithuania’s academic music scene. He studied the double bass at the LAMT and Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (Czech Republic), and for several years collaborated with the famous Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra.
In 2016, he joined the international Nordic Symphony Orchestra, where he serves as the principal double bass. At present, Dainius is also the principal double bass of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO), and a member of both Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Bass Arco String Quartet.
Andrius Rekašius studied the percussion at the LAMT and the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He is a member of the LNSO, the contemporary music ensemble Synaesthesis and the Giunter Percussion ensemble.
Sigitas Gailius has graduated as a percussionist from the LAMT, where he has been teaching percussion instruments since 2016. He also plays in the Giunter Percussion ensemble, appeared as a soloist with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Riga Sinfonietta.
Aistė Baliunytė is one of the most professional harpists in Lithuania, a prize winner of many international competitions and a holder of scholarships from various foundations. After graduating from the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts, Aistė continued her education at the National Conservatoire of Music in Paris (CNSMD de Paris) and is currently the principal harp at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre orchestra.
The harpist also collaborates with the Klaipėda Music Theatre and the Gävle Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), performs in Lithuania and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician. To date, she is the only harpist in Lithuania to record her solo album.