Estonia, Lithuania

Can you imagine a permanently working duo with one member living in Paris, the other in Vienna? That is what Lembit Saarsalu and Leonid Vintskevich have been doing for years, the former living in Tallinn, Estonia, the latter in Kursk, Russia. Their duo, JAZZ FOR TWO, has performed at many festivals: Prague (1984), Berlin (1985), Leipzig (1986), the JVC North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague (1986).

So far, JAZZ FOR TWO has made two albums: “Two Playing Jazz” (1986) and “Blues for the Night” (1991). The stylistic range of the duo is wide, reaching from jazz standards (in their own wilful interpretation) to extended original compositions which give them space to develop and interweave their sparkling musical ideas. Lembit Saarsalu (b.1948) has the more variegated musical past of the two. His first festival apperance took place in Tallinn when he was only seventeen. A year later he was playing professionally, touring East Africa, the Near East, Cuba and several European countries. After graduating from the Tallinn Music School as a clarinetist, he led his first own group in 1978, soon being a leading jazz figure in Estonia. He drew attention with his powerful expressive tone, individual approach to standard themes, sense of nuances and convincing development of improvised solos. Leonid Vintskevich (b.1949) comes from a musical family. He learned to play the piano at the tender age of seven. He received his diploma from the Kazan Conservatory. His favourite composers were Mussorgsky, Skriabin, Prokofiev, Berg and Messiaen. No doubt, his research in the art of these great composers has done much to develop his harmonic subtlety and pianistic versatility. He founded a professional jazz group in 1976 and had some success, but he was more recognized as a solo pianist with outstanding virtuosity and inexhaustible fantasy. Lembit Saarsalu and Leonid Vintskevich joined forces in 1984. Since then their unique “remote-controlled” duo has gained ever growing international acknowledgement and is decided to continue the path of progress.