I was listening to a piano vistuoso Vyacheslav Ganelin before I was born. My parents went to the concert of the Ganelin Trio, which in 1980 consisted of Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov (saxophone) and Vladimir Chekasin (drums). Apparently, I enjoyed their performance, but I resolutely refused to listen to those who followed.
Slava Ganelin was born in Moscow on December 17, 1944. When he was 7, the family moved to Vilnius, and he played in jazz and dance bands in his teens. He then studied at the Lithuanian State Conservatory in Vilnius, graduating in 1968. He went on to organise the Ganelin Trio that played in concerts and festivals all over Europe and even in the States, before disbanding in 1986. Ganelin has emigrated to Israel in 1987, where he formed another Ganelin Trio, with Petras Vysniauskas on reeds and Klaus Kugel on drums. He is not merely an outstanding jazz pianist, but also a composer. He wrote music to films, musicals, stage plays, as well as songs.
As we were surfing YouTube in search for Ganelin’s performance, we came across the one he gave in Moscow in 2011, at the Moscow Jewish Cultural Centre, during The Branches of Jazz festival on September 18. This is an improvisation piece, with Ganelin being literally an orchestra-man. He plucks the piano strings to imitate the sound of a double-bass, and he uses a range of small objects to substitute percussion instruments. The resulting melody conveys the enduring spirit, the passage of time, the ringing bells, with occasional quickened movement. This is the pace at which history walks.