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Piter Jazz: Slava Guyvoronsky, David Goloshchokin, and Nikolai Sizov

May 23, 2013

As I jumped on the Metro at the Sadovaya station, I did not know that I was going to be having one of the finest conversations of my life in a matter of minutes.  Makbal and I had been invited to Slava Guyvoronsky’s apartment to talk about jazz and spend time with Slava.  Slava Guyvoronsky is a world renowned trumpet player who plays a trumpet designed to be played “on its side.”  He was part of the jazz trio at the Consulate and when we spoke there briefly, I felt we had made a connection, talking about the spiritual nature of both jazz and ragas.


Slava and his wife Dasha welcomed us into their homeith a fine meal of homemade blinis, a delicious salad, and the wine and cake that we brought to show our gratitude for this invitation.  Makbal, Slava, and I sat at the table and talked philosophy, music in America, and why Peterburg is a welcoming home for musicians.  After our meal, we retired to Slava’s music room and he played some recordings in which his trumpet and Vladimir Volkov’s bass worked to create the sounds of pure emotion.  I was swept away.  Finally we noticed the time and had to say good-bye.  Slava’s final words to me were:  “You’re not a historian, take what we give you and spread your wings, you will fly higher and higher.”  With a song in my heart I headed out the door anxious to take to the wind.


DSC02447After a quick metro jump back into the city (and a quick costume change into a sportcoat), we headed to the Jazz Philharmonic for a television interview and a meeting with the Philharmonic’s founder David Goloshchokin.  David showed us around the museum to Russian jazz that’s hosted in his facility and told stories of playing with Duke Ellington, mainly because the Soviet authorities couldn’t admit to Duke that they didn’t have jazz in Russia (of course, they have everything in Russia!).  The Philharmonic was founded in 1989 with government support and continues to host important events to this day in it’s main hall and the more intimate Ellington Hall.  Kvadrat and the Jazz Philharmonic Big Band are both hosted here for much of the year.  Goloshchokin is also an accomplished musician and he played violin, flugelhorn, and vibes at the concert later that evening.



After the concert in Ellington Hall, we sat down with Nikolai Sizov, the piano player who I have seen several times at the Hat Bar and who was performing with the ensemble in Ellington Hall.  Nikolai shared his journey from a teenager looking for his people to a jazz pianist who is in high demand.  His trio has a CD out in Japan and Nikolai plays nearly every night at venues around Petersburg.  He was funny and generous and kind, and a bit of a clown, but once again is a musician who has found his home in Piter.  He did express some regret at not leaving the city when he was younger, but there is also the sense that if he had left, he would have returned to make his music in St. Petersburg.




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