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Piter Jazz: Kondakov, Volkov, and Bagdasaryan + The Count Basie Orchestra

May 25, 2013

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve updated the blog, but that’s mainly because after Thursday night’s performance by


Kondakov, Volkov, and Bagdasaryan my focus shifted to beginning the play that this trip is facilitating.  Quite simply, my mind was completely blown by the show at JFC and the sheer joy that I felt after watching these three musicians inspire, push, and prod one another to greater and greater musical heights.  As stated in a previous post, Volkov plays every part of his contrabass…well Kondakov does the same with his piano, playing it inside and out:  the wood, the strings (is that what you call them?!?), and of course the keys.  Bagdasaryan is one of the most empathetic and nuanced drummers ever to grace a trio and he complemented the others with great charm.  After this concert, the play would wait no longer…


Earlier in the day I had the honor of sitting in on a big band conducting exam led by Serge Bogdonov at the Mussorgsky Music Academy, watching emerging musicians honing their playing and their leadership  skills.  It was unbelievable to sit in a small classroom with an 18-


piece big band blowing their way through some Count Basie tunes.  The windows of the classroom were open and the jazz flowed out into the street.  It seems like that happens a lot in this town.  The more I look, the more jazz I see.


The next day I had the joy of getting to see the Count Basie Orchestra at the Bolshoi Philharmonic Hall.  It was a swinging concert that featured some members of the band that have been swinging for 45 years.  The audience was comprised of young hipsters and older babushkas reliving their youth.  The audience couldn’t get enough and the Basie Orchestra played two encores.  Gennady  Golstein and Vladimir Feyertag were at the front of the room and the evening couldn’t get any more perfect…until we found ourselves at The Hat.

Yes…The Hat.  Back to The Hat where a swinging jam helmed by Kirill played us into the wee hours in a room packed shoulder to shoulder with twenty-somethings digging the bebop. 

Of course there was still one night in Petersburg left…and that adventure will have to wait until tomorrow.  And it’s a hell of an adventure.


[more photos to be inserted shortly]

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