Leonid VintskevichRussian jazz stars Leonid and Nikolai Vintskevich, a celebrated father and son duo who play piano and saxophone, are lined up among more than 100 bands from 24 countries for this year’s Marlborough International Jazz Festival being staged in July.
Leonid, now 64, who began playing the piano at seven and studied classical music before creating a brilliant “explosive” piano style that has been compared with that of the late Lionel Hampton and Errol Garner.
His daring creative technique has won him accolades round the world – he was twice Solo Pianist of the Year in the Soviet Union -- in particular at festivals in Europe and America playing hot jazz alongside Nikolai and other top artists.
And his presence with his son are vital proof that the Brewin Dolphin sponsored Marlborough event maintains no political barriers no matter what disasters are happening in the world, declares festival founder and organiser Nick Fogg.
Nikolai Vintskevich“This is an international festival and we’re not a political organisation in any sense at all,” he told Marlborough News Online. “And I am not just talking about Russia but performers from other countries who do not necessarily agree with their own governments.
“That happens to be true in Russia, as well as in many other countries too. In fact we have two bands from Russia this year and we are introducing new performers from Slovakia and Hungary in an incredible programme.”
And he added: “This is not the first time we’ve had performers from Russia and it won’t be the last. We’re quite delighted about that. We’re supposed to be friends with ordinary Russians, aren’t we, if not necessarily with other Russians at the particular moment.”
This year’s festival promises also to be the biggest and best attended despite economic austerity. And 71-year-old Mr Fogg, whose support for the arts played a role in him being awarded the MBE this year, believes this is due to people using entertainment to relieve the gloom.
“People have always enjoyed a day out, which is what the Jazz Festival gives them,” he explained. “And in dark times like these people have got to go somewhere, they need some entertainment, some enjoyment.
“The cost of package holidays abroad may have declined in these days of austerity but people are now tending to spend more of their leisure time at home, which is very encouraging aspect for us. So much goes on in Marlborough, which is why they come here.
“We are indeed experiencing another year of phenomenal growth. We seem to be recession proof. And we have never had so many sensational acts on the bill.”
Bands too feel privileged coming to Marlborough compared with other festivals where they arrive, perform their gig and then disappear.
“They love playing here, send us lots and lots of wonderful thank you messages, which I am not sure they do everywhere they go,” said Nick.
“Marlborough is a very desirable place to come to. They like the intimate contact they have with the audience and also like being part of a big event as against just turning up somewhere and then going.
“Chris Jagger, brother of Mick, said a few years ago that in most places we just turn up, play and go away but in Marlborough we stay and meet friends we’ve made over the years coming here. And that’s quite important.”
Headline performers this year include Alan Skidmore with Georgie Fame as his guest star, the Darius Brubeck Quartet, Clare Teal and her Mini Big Band, Sarah Gillespie singing Bessie Smith, AJ Brown and his Signature Showband, the Red Stripe Band, and Chris Jagger and the Atcha Band.
There is also the introduction of the Budapest Ragtime Band and the Brataslava Hot Serenaders.
And the range of international talent on display comes from countries as far apart as Ghana, Guyana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Dominica and Senegal, as well as Europe, Australia and the USA.
For the festival programme page – and tickets -- for the jazz festival weekend of July 18, 19,20 see www.marlboroughjazz.com.