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18.3.04

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Sony Jazz Stage Competition 

On February 7 and 8, Sony Jazz Stage, a Baltic new jazz vocalist competition, took place in Riga, Latvia. Seven contestants were competing for the final results - 5 from Latvia and the rest from Estonia and Lithuania. The Grand Prix was won by Intars Busulis, Latvian trombonist and singer and the leader of popular Latvian local pop band "Cafe". The performers along with the Maris Briezhkalns Quartet will also perform at JazzKaar on April 25.
Maris Briezhkalns, the leading Latvian jazz drummer, will perform together with Deniss Pashkevics (sax), Viktors Ritovs (piano) and Andris Grunte (bass). Briezhkalns has worked together with Grove Washington and Cecil Taylor and was considered to be among the leading Soviet Union jazz drummers. He is also the producer of Riga Rhythms annual jazz percussionist festival in Latvia. The pictures from Sony Jazz Stage competition can be found here

17.3.04

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Funk Phenomena: Scofield in Tallin 

One of the most awaited Jazz Kaar artists this year is, of course, guitarist John Scofield. His newest record EnRoute (Verve) is released on May 11 together with Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart. Swallow, the unchallenged bass master, already visited Estonia during JazzKaar 2003 as a member of Bobby Previte "Counterclockwise". Definitely, one of the best performances in the festival (those who went there will probably remember his short, groovy interplays), much better than the advertised bassist's Richard Bona concert which was a great show but rather unimpressive guitar play. Nevertheless, Scofield's gonna have the same band as in Uberjam (Grammy nominee in 2002) - Adam Deitch(drums) and Avi Bortnick (rhythm guitar). Uberjam is a pretty thick funk piece, very saturated mix of intense bass and drum lines, synthetic keyboards by John Medeski (check out track "Offspring") and, of course, the dazzling solos by Scofield. A very funny piece is their citation of "Lady Be Good" during Uberjam track - drug like distortion. Downbeat even wrote that "The soundscape of überjam is so varied that it sounds as if Jimi Hendrix had returned to Earth after 32 years and wandered into his old studio in Greenwich Village". Oh yeah, it sometimes really feels that the guys had a great deal of speed before the record. I hope the similar stuff gonna be heard on this year's Jazz Kaar as well. Sadly, no Medeski this time - of course, he's a big star enough alone. Unfortunately, Scofield got a bit more ambitious with his "Works For Me" with Garret, Higgins, Bride. While so correct and nice, also very bleak and pretentious. Jazz Times wrote "John Scofield's last few album projects have featured long rosters, from the all-star effort 2001 Works for Me to last year's stretched-out fusion romp Up All Night. And they've also been heavy on the funk.". Haven't listened to "Up all Night", so I can't comment on this one.

John Scofield will perform on April 24 at Sakala Keskus, Tallin, Estonia.
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Hello and welcome to my first post at jazz da baltics blog. i hope this will become a kind of jazz cafe for the musicians and jazz lovers from all around baltics and not only. i wont try to limit this to the sound academic jazz, any acid/hip-hop jazz events will be included as well. baltic jazz artist profiles with photos (hopefully) will be added later on. from time to time, i manage to escape to the jazzy "landscapes" of europe - vienna, montreyx etc. of course, will share my experiences with you. jazz kaar in estonia is coming soon. check my reviews of the last years fest. im looking forward to lithuanian visitors suggesting me some good links on the local jazz scene, as well as their own comments. looking forward to hear from all jazz lovers. cheers

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