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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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1. Conversation I
2. Conversation II.
3. Homage to Friends.
Vyacheslav Ganelin – Piano, synthesizer, percussion
Petras Vysniauskas – Alto sax, soprano sax
Klaus Kugel – Drums, percussion

Live at the Lithuanian National Philharmony, Vilnius 2005
Nemu NEMU 005




Like many other people, I enjoyed the music of the original Ganelin Trio when I first heard it in the 1980s. Their music was anarchic but skilful, free-form but amusing. It was particularly intriguing that such a wild group came out of the Soviet Union, as their jokey jazz seemed subversive.

The original trio of Ganelin, Chekasin and Tarasov disbanded in 1987 when Vyacheslav Ganelin emigrated to Israel. He has since reappeared and formed this new trio, recorded on this DVD, with Petras Vysniauskas on saxes and Klaus Kugel on drums. Their music is still free-form but it lacks the humour which made the previous group so endearing. On the evidence of this DVD, they simply play avant-garde jazz which covers the usual bases of wild disorder and gentle lyricism. Many of their pieces depend upon repetitive riffs which drill themselves into your brain like minimal compositions by Steve Reich or John Adams.

The Ganelin Trio still makes more sense than many other exponents of free jazz but much of their playing is like an assault course for the ears – challenging but ultimately tiring and unsatisfying because it is hard to extract any meaning from it.

Tony Augarde


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