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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 years festival the third since it was first held is dedicated to the 35th anniversary of Feigins 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, well 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 dont want to buy compact disks anymore and everybody want music for free, Feigin said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmChams Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaacs Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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