The 2023 edition of the Euroradio Jazz Orchestra will gather together 18 young musicians from all over Europe, selected by the EBU Jazz Producers. At the invitation of LRT in Vilnius, Lithuania, the European Jazz Big Band will perform at the Kaunas Philharmonic Hall and at the Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival, on 26 and 27 May respectively. The ensemble will be led by Lithuanian trombonist, composer and conductor Jievaras Jasinskis, co-leader of Vilnius JJAZZ Ensemble. He answered our 3 questions.
The following text is a summary of a written interview to the artist and his audio answers.
The main goal is quite straightforward - to get to know each other personally and musically. The musicians will meet and feel how it is to perform together in such a big ensemble. I wrote specific parts for each musician, and they will really need to feel and listen to each other in order to perform the improvised parts of the score. But I am sure that the whole process will go very well, because every musician wants to be part of this project and play, so the energy will be awesome.
I have only great memories of that project. It was one of the best experiences for a young player, both from a musical and networking point of view. 17 musicians coming from different countries and playing together - wow... You literally get to know almost all of Europe, it's super useful. Also the level of the band was really good, so playing there was a huge honour and a pleasure. After that project I still chat from time to time with almost every musician in Lithuania, Germany and even Chicago. Something else that I wish to point out is that the level of the band was amazing, a very professional big band.
The whole programme is one suite, entitled 'P(i)e(a)ce of Vilnius'. It's a work about the city of my birth, celebrating its own birthday - 700 years! Its name is a little game I like to do with words. It’s a music piece, which is also a small piece of the city. It is also about peace, a message in support to Ukraine in the context of the war happening right now.
I wrote one musical motive based on 4 numbers: 1323 (the birth year of Vilnius). First it is performed by the double bass, after the intro. I composed the whole piece around that motive and those numbers, with an intro, 5 parts and an “outro”. We will perform it without stopping between parts - it will be a lot of fun. I will conduct the big band which I usually don’t do, so I wanted to create music where a conductor is really needed. I will 'play' the orchestra, cueing and stopping the instrument sections, playing 2 tempos at the same time, doing dynamics, etc. I feel quite nervous waiting for this experience.
The EJO concert ‘Let the Music Speak’ will be broadcast by LRT live from the Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival on 27 May 2023. The offer is available to all EBU radio organizations in MUS under JM/2023/02/03/01.
Jievaras Jasinskis shares his favourite tracks. Listen and enjoy!