Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jazz in Northwestern Russia

Tikhvin is one nice small town in Northwestern part of Russia, some 150 miles east from St.Petersburg. It is a quiet, cozy, and very ancient town (since 14th century.) And, believe it or not, it has its own annual jazz festival, September in Tikhvin. Of course it's not large, and features mostly regional artists from Northwestern Russia (Arkhangelsk, St.Petersburg, and Tikhvin itself, with a rare intervention from one or two Moscow-based acts.) The festival's 11th edition took place last weekend; as always, its heart and soul was Igor Volodin, Tikhvin's own jazz pianist, composer, and the festival's art director since its inaugural year, 1999. My partner Anna Filipieva (Jazz.Ru's associate editor) and I really liked both the festival and the city, where we've never been before.

Tikhvin's heart: the Theotokos Dormition Monastery, founded by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1560

Igor Volodin (left) played a great program of his new originals, much in the vein of his latest album, "Illusions" (Bomba-Piter, 2010.) But there was a bunch of other musicians worth listening: Muscovite sax player Alexey Kruglov, St.Petersburger harmonica wiz Max Nekrasov, and - last but not least - Arkhangelsk-based guitarist Tim Dorofeyev, who presented a program of his original tunes (with a sole interception from Monk's side, "'Round Midnight",) performed with solid backing from his fellow Archangel citizens, drummer Oleg Yudanov and bassist Nikolay Klishin, both of the 1980s Arkhangelsk Band fame. Here's their jazz rendition of a Northern Russian folk song, "Chto Iz Ustia Beriozova" (literally, "From the Beriozova River Delta".)

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