FIVE SPOT: Petras Vysniauskas (soprano saxophone. LITHUANIA), Yury Yaremchuk (sopano and alto saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, UKRAINE), Roberta Piket (piano, USA), Mark Tokar (dounle bass, UKRAINE), Klaus Kugel (drums, GERMANY) PETRAS VYSNIAUSKAS 'Something of the rugged beauty of the Lithuanian countryside and the passion of many of his fellow countrymen has been breathed into his music. For me Petras Vysniauskas' music remains unforgettable because of his clear, individual concept. The use of themes from traditional folk music is one facet of this saxophonist, who reflects both the modern development in jazz and the sound idioms of the new and latest improvised and composed music. However, as he himself says, his feeling for folk music is part of his musical identity. And he adds: 'In Lithuanian folk songs I hear echoes of John Coltrane; I try to combine this with the free form of expression offered by modern jazz'...' (Bert Noglik / 1990) 'Soprano saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas, a Lithuanian, is I believe one of the most profoundly original musicians concentrating on that instrument -- his jagged phrases expanded on determinedly original intervals and his sound is powerful -- stronger and more pointed than Sam River's has become, for instance, more densely concentrated than the late Steve Lacy's, if not polyphonic in the manner of Evan Parker.' (Howard Mandel, NYC, USA, 2007) '... Petras Vysniauskas is one of the best soprano saxists we've heard in many years ... ' (Bruce Gallanter, DMG, NYC, 2006) Petras Vysniauskas is an outstanding jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist. He has performed in many European countries and took part in nearly all major jazz festivals in West and East Europe. Inspired by his playing, several composers of symphonic or chamber music composed pieces for him. He is creative, versatile and has an extraordinary virtuosity, and is able to incorporate differing styles of jazz as well as contemporary concert music in his playing without loosing his links with his personal roots - the spirit and profundity of Lithuanian folk-music. Petras Vysniauskas played with Steve Lacy, Han Bennink, Jon Christensen, Tomasz Stanko, Vladimir Chekasin Big Band, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Kent Carter, Jimmy Owens, Elliot Sharp, Paul Jeffrey, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Charly Mariano, Karl Berger, Bobo Stenson, Vladimir Volkov, Vijay Iyer, Hilliard Greene, Eric Vloeimans, Antoni Donchev, John Lindberg and others. Together with Klaus Kugel, he is part of Vyacheslav Ganelin's GANELIN TRIO PRIORITY since 1999. He performs also in a duo with the distinguished Lithuanian folksinger Veronika Povilioniene. He is one of the most acclaimed and distinctive Lithuanian jazz artists, an ingenious musician and a virtuoso saxophonist. His soprano saxophone can speak, sing, scream, cry and warble. His profoundly ethnic music is often driven by the torrents of spontaneous improvisation. Petras Vyšniauskas is the most awarded Lithuanian saxophonist whose artistic distinctions include the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize, and the National Pride Award. Open to the most adventurous experimentation, he has partnered many performers of jazz, folk, classical and contemporary music. At the present, he is often seen perform with the international ensembles and participate in spontaneous improvisation projects. Apart from an intense concert schedule, he shares his time between teaching at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, composing and recording for theatre and film. YURI YAREMCHUK Yury Yaremchuk is a prominent Ukrainian saxophone player and composer, one of the best sax and clarinet improviser in the whole Post-Soviet space. Yaremchuk plays tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, writes composition for theatre, participates in modern art performances. Yury Yaremchuk plays free jazz and new improvising music, as well as mainstream jazz and jazz-rock, classic music. Yury Yaremchuk performed with many jazz and avant-garde musicians, such as Claudia Binder and Marcus Eichenberger (Switzerland), Jim Menesis, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis, Tim Dysi, Michael Zerand, Fred Frith (USA), Heinz-Erich Goedecke, Hans Schutler (Germany), Magnus Bro (Sweden), Fred Frith, John Surman, Vladimir Miller (GB), Jezas Mikashis (Lithuania), Ioachim Mencel, Mikolaje Tcsaska (Poland), Sergey Letov, Vlad Makarov, German Lukianov, Mikhail Zhukov (Russia), Alexander Nesterov (Ukraine). Among his most well-known projects are the ' Russian-Ukrainian Project'; '3 Ya' - a family trio with his twin daughters, duo with singer Natalka Polovinka, SAX MAFIA Saxophone Quartet. ROBERTA PIKET In the time since Roberta Piket returned to her native New York, the pianist/composer has played professionally as a sidewoman with David Liebman, Rufus Reid, Michael Formanek, Lionel Hampton, Mickey Roker, Billy Mintz, Harvey Wainapel, Eliot Zigmund, Benny Golson and the BMI/NY Jazz Orchestra and has twice been a featured guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, on National Public Radio. It is in her work as a composer and bandleader, however, that the depth of Roberta's talent becomes most evident. A gifted composer, Roberta placed second in the first annual Thelonious Monk BMI Composers' Competition. Roberta and her musicians have toured Japan and Spain as well as the U.S. She has performed her music at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at the Earshot Festival in Seattle, at the Rochester (NY) Jazz Festival, and in New York at Small's, the Blue Note Club, Birdland, the Knitting Factory and the Kitano. Roberta's CDs frequently make the 'best of' lists of the major jazz magazines. They have earned rave reviews in JazzTimes, downbeat, the Washington Post, Piano & Keyboard, and Jazziz, as well as other publications. A musical pioneer in more ways than one, Roberta was the first and only woman leader with a release on the Criss Cross label (the 1997 Unbroken Line). Roberta maintains an active schedule as an educator. She has held master classes at the Eastman School of Music (where she performed solo and in duo with Marian McPartland), Rutgers University, Cal Arts, Duke University, the Northwestern University Composers' Colloquium, and many others in the U.S., Europe and Japan. She has coached ensembles at Long Island University, has several private students, has served as a panelist for the Queens Council on the Arts grant review process and has taught at the Litchfield Jazz Camp and the Vermont Jazz Center. She is also the author of the Muse-Eek Publishing. Roberta occasionally performs on B3 organ, playing at clubs such as Harlem's Showman's. She has also written several big band compositions, three of which are in the repertoire of the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra. In May of 2004 Roberta was selected by Steve Lacey as an associate artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and formed the new music trio Fragments with Eric Clarke and Scott Hill. She plays in a free improvisation trio with drummer Billy Mintz and alto saxophonist Mark Reboul, and occasionally sings and plays standards at senior citizen homes in the New York area. MARK TOKAR Mark Tokar graduated from Lviv Polytechnic University . Upon graduation he attended classical guitar classes at S.Lyudkevych Music College . At the same time he starts to play double bass. During 2002-2004 he repeatedly participated in Krakow jazz workshops, directed by M. Parkinson (USA ). In 2006 by "Gaude Polonia" scholarship program Mark studied at K.Szymanowski Jazz Academy under direction of Professor Jacek Niedzela. The program was granted by the Minister of Culture in Poland . Starting 2006 he periodically gives lessons in jazz schools. During 2005-2006 Mark Tokar works as an art director of Ukrainian-Polish Jazz Bez festival. He organizes series of Metro Jazz philharmonic musical performances in Lviv. As a musician, performs with different bands at numerous festivals in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Russia . Mark is a member of Dzyga Jazz Quintet in Lviv. Along with that he is a leader of international projects Leo'm'art and Mark Tokar's Quintet. He used to play together with Ken Vandermark, Steve Swell, Roberta Piket (USA), Klaus Kugel, Arkadiy Shilkloper (Germany), Petras Vyshniauskas (Lithuania), Mirchea Tiberian (Romania), Mazzol, Mikolaj Tszaska, Pszemyslaw Borowiecki (Poland), Yuriy Yaremchuk (Ukraine), Magnus Broo (Sweden). Mark participates in international projects "Resonance" (USA, Sweden, Ukraine, Poland) as well as "Five Spot" (USA, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine). KLAUS KUGEL 'Most ensembles can only wish for a percussionist with such high skill and perceptive musicianship as Klaus Kugel' (Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany) 'Percussionist Klaus Kugel is a commanding force behind the drum set. He creates layers of tension drawn out from intuitive listening. There is a constant emotional swelling underlying every fill and cymbal crash.' (John Barron, April 2007, JAZZREVIEW.COM, USA) '... Kugel (is) a drummer whose nearly boundless energy and imagination cannot be confined by neat categories.' (Ed Hazel, SIGNAL TO NOISE, USA, 2006) Klaus Kugel studied at the School of Jazz in Munich. Since 1989 he has been playing intensively with the outstanding lithuanian soprano-saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas in many different international projects. Klaus Kugel is one of the most inventive and adventurous German drummers. He attracted attention worldwide through projects with Petras Vysniauskas, Karl Berger, Tomasz Stanko, Charlie Mariano, Kent Carter, Michel Pilz, Theo Jörgensmann, Kenny Wheeler, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Bobo Stenson, Glen Moore, Steve Swell, Sabir Mateen, Robert Dick, Ken Filiano, Peter Evans, Bruce Eisenbeil, Perry Robinson, Albrecht Maurer, Arkady Shilkloper, Sirone, Eric Vloeimans, Burton Greene, Hilliard Greene, Vijay Iyer, Charles Gayle, John Lindberg, Herb Robertson, Louie Belogenis, Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Bobby Few, Natalka Polovynka a.o.. Over the past 20 years, he gave numerous concerts and appeared at festivals throughout Europe, the Baltic States, Canada, USA, Syria, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine and China.