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Now the pace becomes easier and the maze of sound resolves into staccato figures punctuated by slender questing wisps. From these, piano and percussion embark on a series of pianissimo exercises (with cymbals, inner piano, swivel drum et al); then an extended, cacophonous section with wailing cries from the saxophone leading to a laid-back 'mainstream' triologue. Here, at the conclusion, Vysniauskas sounds for all the world like the great alto jazzman, Paul Desmond (1924-1977).

A further subdued exploratory segment with Kugel and Vysniauskas finally gives rise to the trio's near symphonic conclusion -- a furious ocean of sound augmented by Ganelin's synthesizer 'brass'.

Homage to Friends, Ganelin Trio's 11+ minute abstract postlude, is a reflective, elegiac work. In some respects it seems to encapsulate much of what has gone before -- proceeding from a formal opening (breeding a welcome tranquility) then moving to more volatile exploratory territory, subsiding into a final tender diminuendo [watch and listen -- chapter 13, 85:05-86:18].

Ganelin Trio Priority in Vilnius. Screenshot © 2006 Nemu Records
Ganelin Trio Priority in Vilnius. Screenshot © 2006 Nemu Records

The live Vilnius Philharmony acoustic has been captured with notable fidelity -- placing of microphones could scarcely be bettered -- added to which the Vilnius film crew seems to have been infected with the autoschediastic character of a memorable event. In short their complementary, multi-angle work adds 'icing to the cake' throughout this thrilling Nemu-produced DVD jazz concert.

The Jazz Institute of Chicago records that in Soviet days a first jazz breakthrough occurred in 1967 when the Ganelin trio took the Warsaw Jamboree by storm. Thereafter invitations poured in from Eastern and Western Europe alike.

Twenty one years later -- in October 1988, as the USSR was in its death throes -- 'Vilnius Jazz' (an annual event) was inaugurated. Since then it brought musicians from all over Europe, Asia and even the United States, while a special spot was invariably granted to its home-grown talent. Jazz in Lithuania has never looked back.

Copyright © 31 December 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Ganelin Trio Priority - Live at the Lithuanian National Philharmony Vilnius 2005

NEMU 005 DVD NTSC Colour 4:3 Region 0 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 87'19" 2006 Nemu Records

Ganelin Trio Priority: Vyacheslav Ganelin, piano, synthesizer, percussion; Petras Vysniauskas, alto and soprano saxophones; Klaus Kugel, drums, percussion

Vyacheslav Ganelin, Petras Vysniauskas and Klaus Kugel: Conversation I; Conversation II; Homage to Friends


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