The Man from the North - A Tribute to Jazz Saxophonist Vladimir Rezitsky
It happened in 1981. I attended the Leipzig Jazz Days, one of the biggest jazz events at that time in Eastern Germany. Well known musicians from all parts of Europe and the United States performed at this festival, and there were jam sessions which took place in a student's club. And there was a saxophone player who made some very interesting contributions to these jam sessions. Nobody knew who he was, and only later I found out that it was Vladimir Rezitsky from the Soviet Union, a musician I had heard about before ...
Born in 1944 in the Northern Russian port city of Arkhangelsk, he became one of the most important jazz musicians in the former Soviet Union. In the 1960s he started to perform with drummer/percussionist Vladimir Tarasov, and when Tarasov moved to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in the late 1960s, Rezitsky followed him, but later he returned to Arkhangelsk. Back in his home city, he founded the Jazz Group Arkhangelsk which became one of the most influential jazz bands in the Soviet Union and contributed to the fact that Arkhangelsk became one of the most important focus points on the Soviet jazz scene. This band existed in various lineups for more than two decades. He also participated in various other international projects like the Moscow Composer's Orchestra. And he worked again and again with Vladimir Tarasov. But Vladimir Rezitsky was not only a musician, he also organized the International Arkhangelsk Jazz Festival.
In June 1989 I attended an international jazz festival in the Latvian capital Riga. One of the most impressive performances came from the Jazz Group Arkhangelskwhich combined musical influences from Free Jazz, European improvised music, folk music and even popular music with theatrical elements. I came in contact with the musicians, especially with the bandleader Vladimir Rezitsky, it was the beginning of a friendship. In the following years I met this extraordinary band several times at festivals in Hungary, Lithuania and Germany, in 1991 Vladimir invited me to visit his home city Arkhangelsk and to attend his festival. It was not only this festival which impressed me, there was this unforgettable voyage to the Solovetsky island in the White Sea. In the mid 1990 I met Vladimir on several occasions in Italy, the UK and Finland where he performed with the Moscow Composers Orchestraat various festivals. And we met again in early 1998 in Vienna, another performance with the Moscow Composers Orchestra and a concert with the Vladimir Trio,which united him with Tarasov and pianist Vladimir Miller from London. Unfortunately it was our last meeting. In 2001 Vladimir Rezitsky died after a heart attack.