Label: Мелодия – C60-07361-2
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: USSR / Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
The track "Džiazo Kontrastai" is divided in two parts. Recorded in 1976.
Painting – E. Cukermanas
Photography By – G. Talas
Recorded By – Vilius Kondrotas
A - Džiazo Kontrastai, Con Anima (Part 1) . . . . . . . . . . 19:52
B - Džiazo Kontrastai (Pabaiga), Con Anima (Part 2) . . . . . . . . . . 20:50
Vyacheslav Ganelin – piano, keyboards [basset]
Vladimir Chekasin – alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, chalumeau
Vladimir Tarasov – drums, percussion
In 1968, Ganelin formed a trio with percussionist Vladimir Tarasov and saxophonist Vladimir Rezitsky. Rezitsky left the trio in 1971, and was replaced with Vladimir Chekasin. The trio, called Ganelin Trio or GTCh, combined free jazz with elements of folk and classic music. It achieved critical acclaim in Soviet Union and abroad.
This line-up was solidified in 1971 and blew minds for a couple of decades. They started releasing albums - pretty much all of them live - in the late '70s for Russian emigre Leo Feigin's Leo Records imprint, and began to play jazz festivals in western Europe. Jazz critics worth a bean hailed them as the best free jazz group in the world. They might a been right.
In 1976 the trio performed at the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree. The same year, its first album, Con anima, was released...
The 1980 performance at the Berlin Jazz Festival was described by Joachim-Ernst Berendt "the wildest and yet the best organized and most professional free jazz I've heard in years".
In 1984, the trio toured in the UK, and in 1986, in the US...
The Ganelin Trio sounding like a basement-dwelling eastern European version of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. There's some truth in that - the use of "small" and unconventional instrumenets in the mix, for one - but whereas the AEOC looked towards Africa for inspiration, Ganelin Trio are pure Euro avant-garde, mixing up folk melodies, Russophilian classical motifs (I doubt that's even a word...), hard-arsed improv of the FMP/Incus school and a real swing, the kind of momentum you only get from players who really understand jazz and that it's supposed to move.
Ganelin even plays synth and electric keys on occasion, and it absolutely works within the music. Chekasin's sax work closely resembles Ornette's late '60s/early '70s playing - high-energy blasts which rarely delve into Ayleresque screech territory - and Tarasov's percussive experiments are totally engaging in their use of all manner of kitchen-sink materials. Engaging is exactly what this music is. It never stays in the same place for too long, and the manner in which it combines what sound like familiar melodies w/ hot-wired improv is the stuff of the gods.
The music of the Ganelin Trio is something which should be known far and wide, certainly outside of its contemporary listenership of Wire readers and hopeless jazz nerds (both spectrums of which cover me adequately, thanks). You don't wanna miss this boat: they're totally worth it. Vyacheslav is still musically active today, making vital sounds 30-40 years later.
If you find it, buy this album!