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Jazz Festival Honors Pioneering Record Label

Published: September 3, 2014 (Issue # 1827)



  • Festival co-founder and Moscow-based saxophone player Alexei Kruglov.
    Photo: Yekaterina Melnikova

  • U.K.-based producer and BBC Russian Service music presenter Leo Feigin.
    Photo: Pavel Korbut

The Leo Feigin Festival, a series of large-scale avant-garde jazz events celebrating Russian-born, U.K.-based producer and long-time BBC Russian Service music presenter Leo Feigin, will open in St. Petersburg this week.

This year’s festival — the third since it was first held — is dedicated to the 35th anniversary of Feigin’s record label, Leo Records, and will tour seven Russian cities.

Launched in February 2012 by Feigin and Moscow-based saxophone player Alexei Kruglov, who leads his own ensemble Krugly Band, the Leo Feigin Festival features both Leo Records artists and those similar in spirit.

“There will be a huge number of musicians taking part, especially in Moscow, and due to the support from the Goethe Institute, we’ll have foreign acts for the first time,” said Feigin via Skype.

According to Feigin, the Moscow part of the festival also will be filmed for a future documentary with director Oksana Matiyevskaya. “We will film as much as possible with her and hopefully something will come out of it,” he said.

Born in Leningrad in 1938, Feigin was forced by the KGB to leave the Soviet Union in 1973 following his meeting with legendary US jazz broadcaster Willis Conover. After a short stint in Israel, he landed in London in 1974, where he started to work at the BBC Russian Service. For more than 25 years he presented a weekly jazz show under his radio name Alexei Leonidov, as well as daily news stories. He formed Leo Records in London in 1979, inspired by a smuggled tape by the Vilnius, Lithuania-based Ganelin Trio.

Since then, the Leo Records label has released hundreds of records by highly innovative artists, including The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. However, perhaps more importantly, it was Leo Records that introduced to the world both groundbreaking and then internationally obscure Soviet acts such as the Ganelin Trio, Anatoly Vapirov Trio and the late St. Petersburg pianist Sergei Kuryokhin. To protect them from prosecution from the Soviet authorities, Feigin put a notice to his records saying that the musicians “do not bear responsibility for releasing this tape.”

Turning 35 this year, Leo Records continues to release albums, although Feigin admits the hardships of the Internet era.

“It gets harder and harder with every year because the Internet crushes everything. People don’t want to buy compact disks anymore and everybody want music for free,” Feigin said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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