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PETRARKA (Petras Vyšniauskas | Arkady Gotesman)


The Lithuanian jazz duo PetrArka features two local heroes – sax player Peteras Vyšniauskas and drummer-percussionist Arkadij Gotesman, and has been working together for more than thirty years and released its debut album, Lithuania, in 1990, just when Lithuania was taking its first steps toward independence. The duo continued to perform sporadically and toured many European festivals, and collaborated with Lithuanian–Israeli pianist Vyacheslav (Slava) Ganelin as the Trio Alliance.

Vyšniauskas, who performed with Fred Frith, Bob Stenson, Karl Berger, Steve Lacy and Kent Carter, thinks of jazz as means of communication, where the creative process lies in the musician’s mind, who does not need to write his own scores. Gotesman is also a poet, educator, the leading force of the Vilnius Klezmeriai orchestra and the artistic director of two local festivals. He performed before with John Zorn, Frank London, Anthony Coleman, Charles Gayle, Barry Guy, Dave Douglas and Albert Beger.

The PetrArka duo is inspired by the poetry of Italian Renaissance writer and one of the earliest humanists Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), famous for his love sonnets, and in a way, Sonetai’s aesthetics reflects Vyšniauskas and Gotesman’s love to the delicate form of sonnets. Sonetai is the second album of PetrArka and offers eight spontaneous improvisations-sonnets that were recorded live at the Improdimensija festival in April 2019 in Vilnius.   

These impressionist and often minimalist improvisations highlight the profound and immediate connection between Vyšniauskas and Gotesman. They play simple, sparse phrases and immediately set the lyrical atmosphere and just sing gently and beautifully their instantly composed, playful and poetic melodies. As this performance progresses, Vyšniauskas and Gotesman allow themselves to experiment with more abstract sounds and free dynamics like on the 4th improvisation, and to swing freely on the fifth improvisation. Vyšniauskas plays the piano on the sixth improvisation, a touching and melancholic ballad that turns into a brief free jazz duel.

Eyal Hareuveni

Petras Vyšniauskas (s, p), Arkady Gotesman (dr, perc)

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