Russian jazz saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev, will bring his diverse jazz/world music Quartet, “The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre,” to Symphony Space in New York on Saturday, April 26, 2008. The quartet features the talents of guitarist Valery Panfilov, bassist Victor Matouhin and drummer Ildar Nafigov, while Kireyev performs on tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards and vocals.
“The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre” concert celebrates the rich diversity of musical styles and instrumentation brought to the stage by Kireyev and his band members, all of who are from the former USSR and multinational Russia.
“Often our music on stage comes from folk songs or a sudden mood we get after reading a French sonnet,” says Kireyev. “Sometimes we will combine an opera singer and vanguard jazz on the same stage for an interesting Italian opera affect.”
“The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre,” will premier at New York’s Symphony Space on Saturday, April 26, at 8 pm. Tickets are $30 ($25 senior/$15 student) and may be purchased by calling the box office at 212-864-5400 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday or online at symphonyspace.org. Student tickets may only be purchased in person at the box office (12 noon-7 p.m.) with proof of ID.
Kireyev grew up in Bashkiria near the European/Asian border. His interest in Asian culture and music has greatly influenced his musical style—a combination of Moldavian and Asian melodies, bebop and mainstream jazz, African rhythms and folk music from all over the world. A student of classical music as a youngster, Kireyev reports that his uncle bought him a violin, but when his parents saw his hesitation about playing the instrument, they ventured to buy a Soviet piano on credit—unheard of in those days. “At that time getting a jazz education in Russia was out of the question,” Kireyev says. “I often got bored studying musical composition and without noticing it, I started improvising melodies on the piano that I could hear in my head.”
In the 1980’s, Kireyev was the leader of a popular Russian group, Orlan, which fused jazz with Russian folk music using some unusual folk instruments such as the “kurai,” a wind instrument, and the “kubyz,” a juice harp. Orlan’s popularity grew quickly as the global music scene exploded.
With the success of Orlan and performances in Russia and abroad, Kireyev traveled to Poland where he spent three years in the early 1990’s playing in the country’s best jazz clubs with Poland’s most popular jazz artists. In 1994, Kireyev won a scholarship to study with jazz legend, Bud Shank, and traveled to the US. Kireyev was invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland where he was awarded a diploma for outstanding performance and has performed at the Birmingham Jazz Festival and the Earling Jazz Festival in England, where he continues to tour.
Mandela, Kireyev’s latest CD, is scheduled for it’s US release on June 5, 2008. Recorded in 2004, the album incorporates traditional swing, Moldavian tunes, African rhythm and jazz into a distinctive art form. Kireyev worked with percussionist Njaga Sambe (Senegal) guitarist Valery Panfilov (Moldova) bassist Victor Matiukhin (Ukraine) drummer Ildar Nafigov (Tatarstan) and keyboardist Valery Belikov (Ukraine) on the record, which produced a mix of ancient tunes from Asia with a striking contemporary sound. The CD will be released on the New York City based label, Jazzheads.