Lithuania, 1980, European free jazz

Ganelin / Tarasov / ChekasinLive in East Germany: This live set of glorious chaos is the grandest of all testaments to the power of music, crossing borders, clandestinely or not, and influencing people in far-flung reaches of the world. The musicians, when young, listened to jazz on their late-night radios and recorded it on handheld tape recorders, but not having reliable access to jazz and its sheet music, they were left with a lot of gaps in their knowledge, which they filled in with their own ideas, their own improvisations… which, we all know, is an excellent way to play jazz! There is so much Lithuania pride, so much local culture in all this music. I mean, this music is as Soviet as it gets, considering how these guys got their start in a café that was later shut down by the KGB because the crazy music kept the KGB from eavesdropping on foreign customers. This recording is an excellent example of the use of cheat sheets–jazz musicians having a few ideas jotted down, a loose structure, and then they go on stage and fill that structure in the moment.

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