During the 2019 concert series dedicated to improvised music, "Improdimensija", Catalan pianist Agusti Fernández met with Lithuanian saxophonist Liudas Mockunas in the MAMAstudio in Vilnius to record the two part, 3 sections-each "Improdimensions", a masterwork of piano and sax dialog of incredible technique and taste, from rapid runs to profoundly impressionist sections.
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Recorded during the Improdimension concert series at MAMAstudios, in Vilnius, Lithuania, in November, 2018, and in December, 2019, by Arunas Zujus and Vytautas Bedalis.
Liudas Mockunas-contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
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• Show Bio for Agusti Fernandez
"Agustí Fernández (Palma de Mallorca, 1954), with a perfectly based career and a well-deserved international reputation, is one of the Spanish musicians of major international projection and a world reference in the field of improvised music. Fernández has worked with famous musicians of the free improvisation scene like Peter Kowald, Derek Bailey, Butch Morris, Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Mats Gustafsson, Joel Ryan and Peter Evans a.m.o. He is a member of the Blue Shroud Band, Mats Gustafsson NU Ensemble and Barry Guy New Orquestra. Up to the current date he has published more than 80 CD's
He has also worked with the recognised composer of contemporary music Héctor Parra, who composed in collaboration with the pianist FREC, a solo for expanded piano. FREC has been premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2013 with the collaboration of the video artist Lucas Caraba. He has conducted various improvised music ensembles like Ad Libitum Ensemble (Varsaw), Free Art Ensemble (Barcelona), Ansambl Studio 6 (Lujbljana) Orquesta FOCO (Madrid), Entenguerengue (Jérez de la Frontera), Impromtu Ensemble (Valencia), etc.
Along his professional life Agustí Fernández has received much recognition. His solo for piano "Mutza" presented in New York in 2007 was distinguished by the New York magazine AllAboutJazz as one of 10 best concerts from that year. The CD "Un llamp que no s'acaba mai" on PSI (Agustí Fernández, John Edwards and Mark Sanders) has been distinguished by Allaboutjazz as one of the best 10 cd's in 2009; the CD "Aurora" on Maya Recordings (Agustí Fernandez, Barry Guy and Ramón López) was selected by Cuadernos de Jazz magazine as the best CD in 2007, by the Jaç magazine as the best fourth disc of the history of the Catalan jazz and it was Disc d'émoi (February, 2007) for the French Jazz Magazine. The "Agustí Fernández Aurora Trio" received the second prize at the BMW Welt Jazz Award 2012 celebrated in Münich, Germany. In 2000 he received the Festival Altaveu Award, Sant Boi de Llobregat (Catalonia). In 2001 he received the FAD - Sebastià Guasch Award, Barcelona (Cataluña) with Andrés Corchero por el or the performance "A modo de esperanza". In 2011 Agustí Fernández was the main character of the documentary film "Los dedos huéspedes" by Lucas Caraba, which has been screened in several international festivals of documentary. In 2014 the Ad Libitum Festival (Warsaw) dedicated a monographic edition to celebrate Fernández's 60th Birthday.
He's professor of improvised music at the Escuela Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC). He's developing an important teaching activity in the field of improvised music and, among other, he has been teaching in IRCAM in Paris, the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre de Tallin, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Holland), the Conservatory in Arhem (Holland), the Taller de Músicos in Gijón (Spain), the Taller de Músics in Barcelona (Spain) and the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Salamanca (Spain)."-Agusti Fernandez Website (http://www.agustifernandez.com/biografia/)
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• Show Bio for Liudas Mockunas
"Liudas Mockūnas (b. 1976) is a representative of modern creative and free avant-garde jazz, his music obliterates the boundaries between jazz and academic music. Exploring the nature of sound and the potential of overtones, he has developed his own playing style saturated with multiphonic techniques. According to the critics, "this reed player works with highly unorthodox mixtures, with sounds ranging from expressive instrumental burnouts over filmic horror to apocalypse-hymns and transcendent bells. His music may be unpredictable with an energizing mixture of free jazz, lyricism and mid-European expressionism."
The musician's education is both in jazz and classical fields. A graduate of M.K.Čiurlionis School of Arts, he received his master's degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 2002 (under Vladimir Chekasin). In 2005 he received Jazz Performance Masters from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. He has further perfected his skills and knowledge through a number of courses and private lessons.The saxophonist has accumulated a solid stage experience. He started playing jazz as a child of eight and made his stage debut in 1988 with the Youth Jazz Ensemble led by Vladimir Chekasin. From the age of 15 he has constantly been part of jazz festivals and emerged as a leader in 1996; he has performed with numerous Lithuanian jazz musicians.
Liudas Mockūnas truly merits the name of Lithuanian jazz ambassador. He is constantly involved in international projects both as initiator and member of different groups. His international collaborations were given a new impetus when in 1999 he started his studies in Copenhagen. In 2000 he and the Danish drummer Stefan Pasborg founded a highly acclaimed group Toxikum, their self-titled album in Denmark was hailed Jazz Discovery of the Year 2004.
A co-leader of the groups Red Planet, Baltic Trio, Artomic, and Revolver, he also collaborates with the Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Pierre Dørge and his New Jungle Orchestra. He has played with the Swinging Europe Big Band and has participated in the La Villet Jazz Festival's international big band project with the World Saxophone Quartet. Mockūnas has also collaborated with Marc Ducret, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Mats Eilertsen, Jaak Sooäär, Mikko Innanen, Jeff Arnal, Dietrich Eichmann, Scott Colley, Ryoji Hojito, Nasheet Waits, Mats Gustafsson, Chris Speed, Mike Svoboda and Andrew Hill. With different groups Mockūnas has performed across Europe, in the USA and China. In 2004 he initiated Traffic Quartet, a group of Lithuanian musicians (Valerijus Ramoška, Liudas Mockūnas, Eugenijus Kanevičius and Arkady Gotesman).
Liudas Mockūnas is a winner of a number of competitions. In 1993 and 1995 he became laureate of Juozas Pakalnis Wind Players Competition; in 1993 and 1995 he participated in the "Berklee in Germany" workshops (led by Gary Burton) and was granted a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music (USA). In 2000 he received the second prizes from Brilliant Note, an international saxophonists' competition in Latvia, and the international jazz soloists' competition in Klaipeda. In 2001 the MAP trio (Liudas Mockūnas, Jacob Anderskov and Stefan Pasborg) won the European improvisational music competition in France. His achievement in music was recognized by the Mūzų Malūnas Prize in 2004, and by the Vilnius Jazz Festival Prize "For Contribution into Lithuanian Jazz Culture" in 2006.
Liudas Mockūnas also performs contemporary classical repertoire (pieces by Bronius Kutavičius, Algirdas Martinaitis, Remigijus Merkelys and others). He has performed with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra and the Gaida Ensemble. He also composes music for theatre and cinema. Since 2004 he teaches at the Jazz Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre."-Music Information Centre Lithuania (http://www.mic.lt/en/database/jazz/composers-artists/mockunas/#bio)
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1. Improdimension I - PART I 08:15
2. Improdimension I - PART II 07:05
3. Improdimension I - PART III 05:34
1. Improdimension II - PART I 06:44
2. Improdimension II - PART II 05:53
3. Improdimension II - PART III 07:44
sample the album:
"[...] In November 2018 and in December 2019, [Agusti Fernándes] was in the studio in Vilnius, together with the "local" saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas to record the two pieces "Improdimension I" and "Improdimension II", and the result has been a nice "conversation" between two musicians within the "free-ranging" music that has both soul and energy.
The two communicate well through the six sequences (three on each "Improdimension"). Mockūnas is in many ways the leading musician in the duo, delivering a play that is both sensitive and raw, and where he really proves that he has developed since he studied at the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen many years ago. He has developed his energy further since we heard him in a couple of the drummer Stefan Pasborg's band compositions. His game has become more "advanced", and his technique has developed further. But instead of "firing on" as if life were at stake, and everything is allowed, it is a stoic control and overview in his game that is fascinating.
Fernández is one of Europe's leading pianists in this style of the day, and he is brought more and more often to play and record assignments in other countries, so it's just opening up the borders of this exquisite pianist. He has a technique that lies somewhere in Cecil Taylor's creative landscape, but with much larger ears and perhaps not as great a desire to emphasize himself as was often the case with Taylor. He is a listening pianist, who has his own ability to capture other musicians' ideas, hang on and help develop them further.
Therefore, this collection of freely improvised "stretches" has become an energy bomb of the rare. The two "play" with each other like happy children in the sandbox, although Mockūnas regularly tells his good friend where the closet should stand with powerful energy discharges, especially in the stretches where he pulls out the double bass clarinet and really claims his right. But afterwards they are equally good friends, and Mockūnas listens devoutly to Frenández's quiet piano playing.
The plate is varied and exciting, and you sit a little at the end of the chair to get all the details, and wait for what happens."-Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts (translated by Google)
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