This year’s series of Jazz-kolo concerts, the brainchild of well-known jazzman and bass guitarist Ihor Zakus and the head of the Kyiv-based Tempora Publishing House Yulia Oliinyk, was launched on Jan. 15. The saxophone player and composer Vitalii Ivanov, a graduate of Kyiv’s Tchaikovsky Music Academy and participant of many international festivals, made his debut at the Ukrainian Home together with the members of his Polish quartet (Ivanov lives and works in Poland). Each member of the quartet — pianist Dominik Wania, contrabass player Michal Jaros, and drummer Bartek Staromeiski — has performed solo concerts and worked with well-known performers. They first appeared as a group in 2006. Now they are getting ready to release their first CD.
The quartet performed jazz compositions by Ivanov and another Ukrainian composer, Pavlo Shepeta, in front of a large and friendly audience of Kyiv jazz lovers. The compositions differed according to mood. Some of them evoked strong visual associations, which may explain why so many listeners were listening with their eyes closed, transported by the music to something cherished, experienced a long time ago, or created in a dream. You could say it was emotionally restrained, intelligent music.
“I have a biased impression because I taught Vitalik at a children’s music school: he was just learning to play the piano and was a very pensive and emotionally sensitive child,” said Tetiana Kolesnyk, who teaches at Music School No. 22 in Kyiv. “He played the piano for seven years, and later, as a senior pupil, he started learning to play wind instruments. This is how he entered the great life of music. It was very pleasant for me to listen to him. I have more to do with the classical direction, but in my opinion, the jazz that we heard was very professional and solid.”
“The last time I heard Vitalii Ivanov was five years ago,” saxophone player Dmytro Liubchenko said. “I feel that he has grown professionally in this time. These musicians are brave because they dared to play music that is somewhat difficult to understand. For me personally it was very interesting to hear them: harmony is felt in each composition. In general, I associate jazz with harmony, improvisation, and freedom.”
According to Yulia Oliinyk, the next Jazz-kolo show will take place in the spring and will probably be an acoustic concert.