I currently live in:
Vilnius, LithuaniaI joined All About Jazz in:
2010What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz?
My professional background is in web marketing, and I connected with Michael Ricci
through Chris Rich
, who encouraged me to submit my first article "Howard Riley: Five Decades in Music
." High visibility for my article was a strong consideration, so I felt AAJ was a good fit. Currently the article has nearly 15,000 page views and shows up #2 in Google search for "Howard Riley." The next interview " Dominic Duval: Follow Your Melody
" has been even more successful topping 23,000 views and second position in Google for "Dominic Duval" after his personal website.
The popularity of each article was extremely encouraging and motivated me to continue more.How do you contribute to All About Jazz?
It started with submitting three interviews with musicians who I met in Vilnius
around concerts and recording sessions carried out by my friends at NoBusiness Records. These were large pieces with the great Howard Riley
, Dominic Duval
and Barry Guy
. However, it soon became clear my contribution could expand beyond writing to technical development of the platform itself. Michael Ricci
was making changes at AAJ and was looking for a developer to work with him on a variety of coding and programming projects. I seized the opportunity and have been working in jazz development ever since.
I have performed in various capacitiesas a programmer, coder, SEO consultant, manager for other programmers and designer. Together we prepared and launched Jazz Near You
in November 2012. Having admin access I also take part in content maintenance like fixing profile pages for musicians and venue listings in my area.
It would be great to do an occasional writing. I am particularly interested in interviewing musicians. However design and coding projects take up all of my time at the moment.What is your musical background?
The sounds of music have always been heard at our home. Both my parents love music. We had a quite big collection of LPs that included some jazz records along with classical music and easy listening. In my early years I was introduced to Louis Armstrong
, Duke Ellington
, George Gershwin
as well as select recordings by musicians like Charles Mingus
, Dizzy Gillespie
and Miles Davis
(though it took me years to re-discover them). My mother loves American easy listening from pre-Elvis era like Bing Crosby
, Pat Boone, Doris Day and many others. Obviously we listened to a lot of European and Soviet songs. But my father's main passion is European classical music.
At some point I started my own quest. I spend most of my time listing to instrumental music which (IHO) offers certain depths usually unseen in song/vocal genres... or maybe it's just that I listened to too many songs as a youngster. However no matter how far I am from the musics of my childhood a few aspects remain intact. I refer to such things as huge respect and admiration of melody, diversity of my interests and openness to the new and unknown.
Speaking of my musical background it is worth mentioning that our local jazz scene in Lithuania is not very busy. There are some very strong players, jazz education and several festivals, but live music events do not happen weekly or even every month. Once in a while we witness a new attempt to open a jazz club, but it never lasts long. Artists with world wide recognition do not come to play in Vilnius very often. The situation has greatly improved in the recent years (particularly through an effort carried out by my friends and some other passionate people), but we still feel that "hunger" for live jazz performances.What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today?
It's interesting, quite recently I found on the web several digitized LP recordings from my earliest childhood and I still find them very nice. One is particularly good. It is a compilation of songs by a Japanese vocal quartet Royal Knights.
My own first purchased recordings include a lot of Italian songwriters, Adriano Celentano, Toto Cutugno, Ricardo Folli and many others. I find this music somewhat simple yet very warm and human qualities that make it appealing even decades later.
I can remember my first jazz CD. It was The Promise
by John McLaughlin
. Another great jazz recording from the very first bunch is Mad Hatter
by Chick Corea
. Today, I still consider it one of the favorite jazz fusion records.
Generally speaking, I am a very loyal person and like musics discovered at various periods of my life. Also, I kind of trust my own taste. It has evolved, but it has never been "bad" :) Not like I would listen to everything today but if I hear my childhood favorites they make me smile.What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most?
Today my attention is focused on free jazz and improvisation as well as some modern jazz. I really adore piano solos by Howard Riley, Ran Blake
, Burton Greene
and anything with the name of Barry Guy on it. Mats Gustafsson
and The Thing
. Bill Dixon
, David S. Ware
and his quartet, Trio X
. I love the sound of Joe McPhee
. FAB Trio
is another favorite of mine.
I don't perceive music through a prism of "style" and do not believe in a strong system of definitions to categorize music. That's why it is easier for me to just list names or even particular recordings. For example there is one very special live performance by the Stan Getz
quartet Live in Belgrade, 1962
that gives me an unearthly experience. I tried listening to a lot of other recordings by Getz and never had that strong feeling. Andrew Hill
is on the contraryI just love everything by him. Jackie McLean
, Walt Dickerson
, Sun Ra
, Grachan Moncur III
, Horace Tapscott
, Henry Threadgill
, Archie Shepp
, Kahil El'Zabar
, David Murray
. This is to give you a few names. Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy?
I am tempted to say something like "I am open to everything," but it won't be entirely true. I like pop music and easy listening, mostly songs from 80's, when I was at school. 99% of modern pop makes me sick and I stopped listening to it years ago.