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Собственно говоря, альбом Иржи Стивина попал сюда не совсем по праву - чешская школа джаза сильно отличается от польской, но, во первых, почему бы лишний раз не послушать хорошую музыку, а, во-вторых, на этом первом авторском альбоме Иржи Стивина играл известный польский скрипач Збигнев Сейферт, и хоть его взнос в общую музыкальную картину был и не слишком, в данном случае, велик, все же это часть истории.Музыка же Стивина мне немного напоминает и джаз другого саксофониста славянского происхождения, норвежца Яна Гарбарека, и в то же время русскую музыку эпохи "конца века", и имею в виду XIX – А.К.

1 Five Hits In A Row 14'10''

2 Anten (Barre Philips) 5'55''

3 Give More

4 Shadows Of Dogs And People

5 Phone On Monday And Reverse The Change

Jiri Stivin - flute, recorder, alto sax
Zbigniew Seifert - violin
Rudolf Dasek - guitar
Barre Philips - bass
Josef Vejvoda and Milan Vitoch - percussion

If someone wanted to catalogue all the influences to which a young musician is exposed in the modern world, he could hardly choose a better example than Jiri Stivin. He was born in Prague on 23. 11. 1942. He studied film photography at the Film Academy of Fine Arts because he did not know what to do after passing his leaving-examination from secondary school. By then he had quite a number what unsuccessful violin lessons to his credit (the everlasting repetition of etudes did not appeal to him) as well as experience of Prague concert life with which his parents acquainted him ( he was most taken with his occasional encounters with music of the twentieth century, for example, Prokofiev). Moreover, he had made constant attempts to master the alto-saxophone and the flute on his own incentive. On the good advice of his friends he purchased a second-hand saxophone himself, acquiring a flute from a friend who gladly exchanged it for a watch. In order to learn to play the flute he sought the tutelage of Milan Munclinger, one of the best Czech specialists in the sphere of baroque music who played records not only of Bach and baroque masters, but also of Brubeck and Kenton for young students and other interested persons in his own home. Jifi Stivin had lessons with him as long as he could afford it and then visited him just to listen to records - free of charge.
His study disciplines and incentives were supplemented with a short engagement in one of the first Prague rock groups - the Sputniks. The condition of his admission to the group was that he should learn to honk on the saxophone overnight. Jiri Stivin returned to rock again during his one-year stay in London in 1969 where he was a member of Samuel Purdy's group. At the same time, however, he studied jazz in the class of Johnny Dankworth at the Royal Academy of Music and was in contact with the Scratch Orchestra in which Cornelius Cardew developed his personal conception of New Music. At his friend's he avidly listened to all the recordings of Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor and other great names in the world of free jazz. He gained top laurels at the amateur jazz festival in San Sebastian twice in succession: in 1969 as a member of the Jazz Q group headed by pianist Martin Kratochvil and in 1970 as the best soloist. In Prague he worked simultaneously with the Quax group for experimental music and, as a studio player, he performed with leading professional orchestras in the spheres of jazz and pop music. Since 1971 he has settled down as the chief soloist of the orchestra of the Drama-section of the National Theatre, naturally running at the same time his free-jazz trio (the "jifi Stivfn & Co. Jazz System") and seeking the most varied possibilities of making studio recordings. After the "Coniunctio" LP, on which Jazz Q and Jiri Stivin endeavoured to create a coherent musical plane with the then best rock group - Blue Effect, "Five Hits in a Row" is the first LP record for which Jiri Stivin was able to choose his partners himself in accordance with his own taste and discretion.
He chose the Polish violinist Zbigniew Seifert (born 1946), a graduate of the Academy of Music in Cracow and a member of Tomasz Stank's Free Jazz Quintet. He had come into contact with Seifert in a kind of All-Star Band which the Yugoslav vibraphonist Bosko Petrovic got together for the jazz festival in Laibach in 1971 - and it was a case of love at first sight. Apart from on other occasions, Jiri Stivin became acquainted with bass player Barre Phillips during his two visits to Prague where he performed with the John Surman trio in 1970 and 1971. Barre Phillips (born 1934) has performed with Don Ellis, Jimmy Giuffre, Attilla Zoller and Archie Shepp and was engaged for one year as a member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. And his concept, too, suits Jiri Stivin perfectly. Guitarist Rudolf Dasek (born 1933) often appears with Jiri Stivin in Prague. As a former member of the "house" rhythm section of the Blue Note jazz club in West Berlin and a member of the trio of American organist Lou Bennett, he probably has -among all contemporary Czech jazzmen, the most developed feeling for cow-down, negro blues. His partnership with Jiri Stivin is one of those in which sparks constantly fly between both poles. According to Jiri Stivin, Milan Vitoch (born 1951), one of his two drummers, has a special feeling for larger rhythmic structures and atmosphere, while Josef Vejvoda (born 1945 and, by the way, son of Jaromir Vejvoda, composer of the Beer Barrel Polka] has an outstanding sense for rhythm and considerable experience in the sphere of New Music. Such, then, was the composition of the group which - without any kind of preparation -occupied the Supraphon recording studio for three days.
Jiri Stivin's music, realized by musicians who have the same feeling for it as its composer, is a remarkable mixture of the most diverse elements which create the modern musical atmosphere. Jiri Stivin makes no attempt to define or name it: for him music is simply a part of art and art is above all an instrument of expression, of communication with the listener. "It is not always a question of musical expression, but rather of artistic expression by any means: sounds, silence, gestures, actions, anything," he once said. "Perhaps some people do not listen to our music as to music: perhaps they listen to it more like to poetry or some other kind of art. Maybe they combine it with something else - they create something themselves to which the music inspires them - and then it's not important to them whether we play an F or F sharp. The most important thing for them may be that it helps to evoke an atmosphere - and that's probably what every kind of art should do."
Under these circumstances there is not much sense in subjecting the compositions on this record to a more profound analysis. The title composition, "Five Hits in a Row", is a variation suite: all five parts are founded on the same basic theme which is presented in an entirely different manner in each case. The development of the variations is completely improvised: for example, according to the initial idea, the first part should have lasted only thirty seconds. It was also recorded with the use of a single stereo microphone, without amplifiers - but during the recording it grew to a length of almost four minutes. "But we like it and so there it is," says Jifi Stivin. The composition entitled Anten is the contribution of Barre Phillips. The next three works are from the repertoire of the Stivin Trio, although here they sound quite different. "Shadows of Dogs and People" is a part of Stivin's "Dog Suite". "Phone on Monday and Reverse the Charge" is the text of the last telegram which was sent to Jiri Stivin, then in London, by his friend and fellow-player in the Jazz Q group, vibraphonist Lubos Pristov, just before the latter met with a fatal road accident in Munich. The work is also dedicated to him.
Dr. Lubomir Doruszka




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