Liudas Mockunas | Eugenijus Kanevicius | Dalius Naujokaitis | Kablys | No Business Records

Liudas Mockunas – tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones | Eugenijus Kanevicius – bass and electronics | Dalius Naujokaitis – drums

Tracklist Side A 1. Hooked 6:42 2. Broke 6:36 3. Triumph of Pagans (In Memory of The Great Zalgiris Battle 1410) 10:36 Side B 1. Emphasiastic (Dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre) 12:02 2. Back Door 9:51

NoBusiness Records NBLP25, 2010. Limited edition of 300 records * Recorded live at 11:20 punk club in Vilnius, February 2010 by Tomas Verbaitis * Mixed by Arunas Zujus and Liudas Mockunas at MAMAstudios * Mastered by Arunas Zujus at MAMAstudios * Cover design and photo by Oskaras Anosovas * Produced by Liudas Mockunas and Danas Mikailionis * Co-producer – Valerij Anosov * Thanks to Tomas, Goda and everybody from 11:20. Keep it up there!

This is a great live performance of the best Lithuanian contemporary jazz musicians played live at the small punk club in Vilnius. That was a hot night. Get a sample of it.

This free jazz group

consisting of Liudas Mockunas on tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, Eugenijus Kanevicius on bass and electronics and Dalius Naujokaitis drums was recorded live at the punk rock club 11:20 in Vlinius, Lithuania for this limited edition LP. The music is very fresh and exciting and the trio is locked and loaded, providing high energy music for an appreciative audience. “Hooked” opens the album with swirling saxophone moving in circular patterns and percussion moving very quickly in support. The saxophone grows caustic and raw, developing over strong bass and drum support, making for a very powerful performance. Open and spare percussion begins “Broke” sounding very free with bowed bass chiming in. Mockunas’ choppy saxophone becomes quite raw, urged in by vocal exhortations, becoming a strutting honk, with percussion sliding into the action to complete a sly performance that winks at funk but stays true to avant aesthetic. “Triumph of Pagans (In Memory of The Great Zalgiris Battle 1410)” features saxophone probing against elastic bass developing into a quick and nimble improvisation with strong saxophone sailing around the bass and drums. Kanevicius’ thick, loping bass provides a firm foundation for the exploratory music, which builds from a quieter section to an emotional mid-tempo conclusion. Spare probing saxophone appropriately opens “Emphasiastic (Dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre)” morphing into a light and open trio improvisation that builds an interesting musical soundscape. After an impressive open ended bass solo, the group builds an increasingly fast collective improvisation. The development is well paced and dramatic, culminating in an explosive conclusion of driving saxophone, bass and drums. “Back Door” wraps up the album with a patiently developing improvisation that has some electronically altered bass and saxophone playing long tones. The music develops nicely, gaining speed and intensity with excellent drum work. This short but exciting album was very good and filled with exciting music.I was not familiar with any of the members of the trio before hearing this, but I was quite impressed by all three. Hopefully this album will raise their profile and give them a chance to record and tour and spread their music around. —Tim Niland

LP version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)

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3 thoughts on “Liudas Mockunas | Eugenijus Kanevicius | Dalius Naujokaitis | Kablys | No Business Records

  1. I was quite enthusiastic about Lithuanian sax-player Liudas Mockūnas on “Vacation Music” in a recent review, and now he’s back with a trio, with Eugenijus Kanevičius on bass and electronics, and Dalius Naujokaitis on drums.

    From the very first notes of “Hooked”, the trio drags you into their musical world, which is at first free, uncompromising but still relatively welcoming, but gradually, when the soprano is changed for the tenor, the atmosphere becomes more violent and angry, with steady beats and wailing sax, raw and abrasive, then the beat drops for some quieter intense electronics dialogue with the baritones sax, on “Broke”, when the drums start kicking in a kind of primal and dark basic irregular rhythm which in conjunction with the mad bass is the perfect environment for an absolutely firghtening honking horn, raw and full of energy, repeating the same phrase like a machine gone crazy.

    The music calms down a little for “Triumph Of Pagans (In Memory Of The Great Zaigris Battle 1410)”, but that’s only the warm-up, because it doesn’t take long before all hell breaks loose again, in a less industrial sounding context, with walking bass and steady pulse, but Mockūnas’s playing remains full of force, but now with a notch sadder tones coming into play, evolving into more melodic lines, somehow reminiscent of McPhee or even Ayler.

    The second side of the vinyl album starts with “Emphatic (Dedicated To Jimmy Giuffre)”, with – no surprise here with the dedication in mind – a more subdued atmosphere at first, more cautious in the interaction, although equally free, yet again gradually the power picks up and the raw expressivity takes over from subtlety. The album ends with “Back Door”, again with a pumping rhythm and fierce wailing, and with Naujokaitis mad drumming unfortunately cut short to end the album.

    This is as raw and as direct as it gets, but in contrast to many other blow fests, these guys know what they’re doing, and manage to create a coherent sound that is entirely their own and remains highly enjoyable even after repeated listens.

  2. Had the decision to start this blog came just one day earlier the first post would be about Liudas Mockunas, Rafal Mazur, Raymond Strid concert. To make up for it I’d like to present You this release. Liudas Mockunas comes to, what I hope is, international attention of free-jazz lovers, thanks to recent releases of NoBusiness and this one makes his case even stronger.

    The first track (“Hooked”) starts gently with some melismatic, circling lines on saxophone, light touches on bass strings and thin metal sticks on drums. Don’t let it fool You. The music was recorded in punk club and it soon lives up to the promise thus given. It’s going haywire, with hard rocking groove, saxophone screaming, drums kicking it forward. The second one (“Broke”) starts with wild Gustaffsonesque honks and scronks on baritone, following into another heavy rhythm workout. “Triumph of Pagans (in Memory of the Great Zalgiris Battle)” has almost classical jazz walking and ends with quite epic, beautifully melodic coda. And then You have to flip the side since it’s a vinyl (folks in NoBusiness are not letting go of their commendable fetish).

    “Emphasiastic” is dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre and presents You with, not really a surprise, more chamber-like, more focused yet melodically and thematically free playing. Starting slowly, closed with busy and dense section (absolutely great bass-drums cloud embellished by fast blurried lines on soprano that, initially sounding very close to clarinet, finishes with agressive tone). And the closer to the end the better it gets with the groove getting into 5th gear for last two or three minutes. The last track of the LP is “Back Door” that features some eerie electronics, with double bass played through wah-wah pedal or some other effect, with music getting slowly its momentum, moving to saxophone distorted and boiling long sounds over the bass and drums backone, with great bass riff and groove shifting the intensity once again off the charts (the double kick tempo at the end is, to simply put it, killing, the drums solo coincise, loud, hard rocking and puts You in the foot-tapping, head-banging mode as it should). Unfortunately You can hear it going still forward (with baritone sax playing the riff now in unisono with the bass and drums dancing all over it) as the sound fades away…

    This is kicking and rolling in a great way, drawing a lot on metal, hard rock, punk, noise (some of those sax cries belong as much in noise as in free improv category). Energetic, groovy, exciting, electrifying (even if played acoustically for the most parts). It reminds You a lot of The Thing and I guess it’s quite safe to say that this trio shares the same inspirations with the (more renowned) one led by Mats Gustafsson, although the accents are placed differently, and these musicians put more stress on building-up the dynamics. I guess they like to give a chance to listener to prepare himself little bit to the feriocious and powerfull playing that comes inevitably. If You like when improvisors rock it hard (and I don’t mean fusion) this comes highly recommended.

  3. Alongside the growing roster of international talent, the Lithuanian No Business label is also starting to document the home grown scene. Kablys comprises three of the country’s leading younger generation of jazz musicians. Saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas is among the best known, with over ten albums to his credit, and a résumé including appearances with Andrew Hill, the World Saxophone Quartet and Marc Ducret. He is also a composer and active in contemporary academic music fields. Bassist Eugenijus Kanevicius works across a range of styles, while drummer Dalius Naujokaitis moved to New York City in 1995 and has performed with Kenny Wollesen’s Himalayas and Wollesonics, and Butch Morris. However Live at 11:20 brings them together in a free jazz program of five, what seem like, spontaneous inventions on this limited edition LP.

    Mockūnas is the most distinctive of the trio, coming on like a riff- focused Peter Brotzmann. His husky vibrato and growling multiphonics, sometimes spiced with guttural vocalizations, reveal an artist apparently reveling in sound for its own sake. Although adept at exploring a wide vocabulary of percussive timbres, Naujokaitis often defaults to a rocky backbeat when the proceedings heat up. Kanevicius occasionally layers his throbbing basslines with electronic washes, but is at his most forthright with a confident pizzicato pontification on “Emphasiastic (Dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre).”

    Nasal soprano saxophone sine waves over rippling bass and clattering drums introduce “Hooked” before the atmosphere turns menacing as Mockūnas’ raucous baritone riffs over a punk jazz stomp. Even though they can pack a visceral punch, the most memorable moments come on the more rounded numbers with jazzier sections, like “Triumph of Pagans (In Memory of The Great Zalgiris Battle 1410).” Even here there are fractious passages, where a fiery tenor sax/drum duet interrupts the almost melodic figures otherwise proposed by the reedman.

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