Master-Jam Fest 2013, International Festival-Contest of Jazz Improvisation




Master-Jam Fest 2013 will bring together more than 40 best jazz improvisers from 16 countries in June 5-8, 2013, in Odessa (Ukraine)

Prior to the first announcements and other updated news we have informed you earlier (read the articles here and, the Master-Jam Jazz Fest 2013 has decided the finalists and ready to roll!

For the very first time of the world jazz festivals’ practice, more than 40 brilliant improvisers from no less than 16 countries will meet and unite in star music bands to determine the best improviser in the high jazz-octane atmosphere, located at the beautiful seaside tourist resort area in Europe, also known as the cultural capital of Ukraine as well as the jazz capital of  the nation, Odessa.

The Master-Jam Jazz Fest 2013 will be held from 5th to 7th of June. There competition will be divided into three categories for each days: Swing and Bebop (June 5), Ballad, Jazz-rock and Funk (June 6), and then Latin jazz and Fusion (June 7). You can expect the new music compositions to be born in front of the audience, spontaneously and creatively.

Then at the last day on June 8, the Festival Gala concert will come featuring simultaneous performance of all the Master-Jam Fest Stars, joining the Master-Jam Big Band conducted by Anatoly Kroll.

This festival stands as the biggest competition that involves jazz musicians from around the world. More than 270 jazz improvisers from 41 countries have participated in the Master-Jam Online Preselection. Professionals and jazz lovers from more than 140 countries have been following the development of this project as seen from the official website of the fest,

So, from June 5 to 8, 2013 Odessa will offer four extravagant days of the Master-Jam final. Serve live, full of quality music. You will witness the summit of both young and famous virtuosos of improvisation from the USA, Cuba, Indonesia, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Austria, Ukraine and many other countries.

The specification of this project is not involving bands or ensembles, but individual performers. This festival is the first one who draws attention to the most important quality of a jazz musician, which is the ability to improvise, as said by the Jury president, the People’s Artist of Russia, Anatoly Kroll.

The contest program of each of those three days will be divided into three parts, given to each ensembles. Two of them are from the list of recommended jazz standards which often played during jam sessions. Then the third part is a composition at contestants’ choice that suits the style of the theme of each contest day.

The international composition of the organizing committee and jury consists of prominent jazz musicians, journalists and connoisseurs of jazz, figures of politics and cinema. The chairman of the organizing committee is a well-known Russian TV host, Yelena Khanga.

Sandy Winarta and Joey Alexander are Among the Finalists


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Happy to inform you that from about 10 players who made into the second round, two of Indonesian jazz musicians are officially selected to compete at this highest round. First, from the drum category, there is Sandy Winarta. This very talented young man are said to be one of the busiest drummer in the Indonesia’s jazz scene and consered to be the best modern jazz drummer from younger generation. He’s involved in many bands, active as a sessionist and also established his own band where he can freely demonstrate his self jazz taste. Lately he’s been busy in tributing the late maestro Bubi Chen in various occasion and soon to release the album, playing Chen’s compositions including the unreleased ones.

Then if you want to see the magic, you should take a look at the next finalist from Indonesia, a 9 year old prodigy Josiah Alexander Sila, better known as Joey Alexander. This wonderkid started playing piano at the tender age of 6. To her parents’ surprise, he could play a melody line of Monk’s “well You Needn’t”. He took piano lesson at that age then emerged so early as an amazing jazz pianist, exceeding players whose age are much ahead than him. With our own eyes, we have seen how this kid dare to correct his seniors while performing and really enjoy any jam session he attended just like a pro. He hasn’t even reached a decade of life, yet he’s played alongside top musicians from Indonesia and some visiting jazz artists from Europe. He has performed at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Jakarta International Jazz Festival (JakJazz), World Youth Jazz Festival in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Jazz Goes to Campus plus several appearances in television and smaller recitals. In 2011 he was invited by the UNESCO to play in front of the legendary Herbie Hancock during Hancock’s visit to Indonesia as the UN’s ambassador. Let’s see how well he can take the challenge from older and more experienced players from the other part of the globe, will he top the other finalists to be the best jazz improviser of the world.

Now let’s see the complete finalists of the Master-Jam Fest 2013 in Odessa (Ukraine) with a brief description, divided into 9 categories.


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Alexis Bosch (Cuba) — one of the most authoritative representatives of the jazz movement in Cuba
Marat Gabbassov (Russia) — the successor of jazz traditions of the famous Russian jazz composer and pianist Igor Bril
JOEY ALEXANDER (Indonesia) — 9-year-old wonderkind who has played for the renowned Herbie Hancock
Alexey Petukhov (Ukraine) — Ukrainian jazz pianist, composer and conductor
Alexey Bogolyubov (Ukraine) — jazz pianist and composer, who masterly combines Ukrainian ethnic traditions with Jazz (also as a member of the well-known Katya Chilly Group)

— BASS —

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Ran Levi  (Israel) — the extraordinary performer on the bass guitar, composer, pedagogist, who subtly uses colorful folk motives in his jazz compositions
Ruben Ramos Medina (Panama) — bass guitarist with remarkable, memorable sound and real groovy performing
Valeriy Burymchenko  (Ukraine) — a very experienced bass-guitaristbwho has been playing in various Odessa jazz projects since 80’s of the previous century;
Ilya Alabuzhev (Austria) — bass/double-bass player, composer. An experienced musician with flexibility and sense of an ensemble. He has had an experience of playing with the best musicians from many countries
Vitaly Phesenko (Ukraine) — the talented double-bass player, composer, arranger, member of various experimental projects (classical, jazz, ethno-fusion)


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Ignat Kravtsov (Russia) — the Russian jazz drummer and composer, he’s listed in the list of Vladimir Feyertag jazz encyclopedia
Stanislav Zilberman (Israel) — one of the leading Israeli drummers, performing in jazz, Latin music and fusion
Yissi Garcia (Cuba) — the young Cuban drummer, she has already become a cult figure in jazz environment in Cuba. Temperamentally performing funk, Latin, jazz and electronic music
SANDY WINARTA (Indonesia) — the Indonesian jazz drummer, his hardbop influence ?an be heard in his playing, as well as a jazz approach to the performance of traditional Indonesian and Balinese music, he played together with the legendary Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, and others
Nacho Megina Martinez  (Spain) — the Spanish jazz drummer who is capable to stretch himself to meet rhythms of flamenco, Latin even Indian, equally as classical


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Hernan Jay Rodriguez (USA) — the American saxophonist, flutist and clarinetist with Colombian origins, one of founders and members of the well-known New York’s Groove Collective, has been nominated twice for a Grammy in the best jazz solo category. He’s played with many famous performers, such as Celia Cruz, Gil Evans band, Chucho Valdes, the Mingus Big Band, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Stevie Wonder, Joan Osborne, Debbie Harry (Blondie), Parliment Funkedelic, Irakere, Wynton Marsalis, Cab Calloway, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Tupac Shakur, Little Louie Vega, Prince, Gangstar, Dj Premiere, George Porter Jr. He has performings on the stage with James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, BB King and others. Some of his achievements have recently entered the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (authors: Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler)
Alain Oyono (Cameroon) — the Cameroonian saxophonist, who has absorbed the power of African traditional sounds. He played with famous Richard Bona, as well as many African and Caribbean stars
Alexey Leon Reyes (Russian) — the Russian saxophonist, soloist of the State Cinematography Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra of the New Opera Theatre in Moscow and others
Oleg Velikanov (Russia) — the saxophonist of the legendary Kim Nazaretov Orchestra (Rostov-on-Don), a lecturer
Oleg Subbotin (Ukraine) — permanent soloist of Odessa jazz orchestra, a pedagogist


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Roberto Garcia (Cuba)  — the world-class Cuban trumpeter, he shared the stage with famous Chucho Valdes and others
Andrey Zyl (Belarus) — the jazz trumpeter, sideman, improviser, arranger, winner of the Kim Nazaretov International Competition, the best trumpeter-improviser of the Jazz Fontana International Competition, he played with such renowned musicians as Al Jarreau, Kevin Mahogany, Yvonne Sanchez, Igor Butman, Valery Sheritsa, Adam Teratsuyan and many others;
Gerhard Ornig (Austria) — the Austrian trumpeter, composer, arranger, member of Anton Pivovarov’s project “Point of Departure”, Graz Composers Orchestra, Julia Maier Jazz Orchester, HGM Jazz Orchestra Zagreb and others
Myroslav Pyatnikov (Ukraine) — talented trumpeter, which is well-known and appreciated by Ukrainian jazz circles, he played together with Ashley Slater, Stoyan Yankulov and many others
Dominik Fuss (Austria) — the Austrian jazz trumpeter from Vienna, multi-faceted in his musical direction (all kinds of jazz from the 20’s to contemporary, Balkan music, funk, orchestral music)


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Odei Al-Magut (Netherlands) — the talented and charismatic trombonist, an alumnus of the well-known jazz school named after Kim Nazaretov (Rostov-on-Don, Russia), he played together with musicians such as Nils Landgren, John Clayton, Robin Eubanks, Alex Sipiagin, Gene Jackson, Jerry Bergonzi, Dennis Rowland, Ali Jackson, New Centropezn Jazz Quartet
Vitaliy Vladimirov (Russia) — the Russian trombonist, composer, arranger, conductor, he took part at the experiments in the formation of the modern musical space of chamber theater, participated in concert tours and studio sessions of the Russian, European and American musicians (George Garanyan, Askhat Saifullin, Sergey Pron’, Igor Parashchuk, Roy Young, Peter Brettsmann, Richie Cole, Vitaly Imirelli, Jesse Jones, Julia Nixon, Denise Hernandez, Nicole Henry Melton Mustafa, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Cook, Ron Holloway, Mihai Cohen)
Moran Baron (Israel) — the trombone and bass player from Israel, he played together with Bobby Sanabria, Salsa Picante, Charlie Percip Big Band, Joe Deninzon and the band Stratusphirious, Alex Sckolnik, Smalls Big Band and Jason Linder, Matt Miller Big Band and many others
Sergey Dolzhenkov (Russia) — bright trombonist from St. Petersburg, a member of the Intellectual resources of Russian program, he was awarded as the Best in the nomination of this program, he co-works together with leading musicians in Russia and abroad;
Evgeniy Handishko (Ukraine) — the trombonist, which is appreciated by Ukrainian jazz circles, he participates in different experimental projects, open to new experiences and collaborations, the permanent soloist of Odessa Big band


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Melvin Taylor, (USA) — one of the guitarists recognized as the greatest in the history of rock, blues and jazz music. He performed in front of thousands fans all over the world. The admirers of his music in Argentina, Canada, China, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, and, certainly, the USA always enjoyed his virtuosic guitar-playing style and breathtaking solos
Meir Ben Michael (Israel) — the Israeli guitarist with Moroccan origins, he combines the Moroccan music with the B-Pop in his music works, he played with famous George Benson, released an album, to the record of which another Master-Jam finalist, saxophonist Hernan Jay Rodriguez was attended;
George Stavroulakis (Greece) — the Greek guitarist considers himself an electric guitar enthusiast with experience in various contemporary genres, including post-bop, contemporary jazz, jazz/fusion, funk and rock
Maxim Shibin (Russia) — he was born in Germany, a permanent member of the organ trio by Vladimir Nesterenko, Orchestra by Peter Vostokov, Alina Rostotskaya projects and co-works with Alexei Kuznetsov, Vladimir Danilin, and others
Vitaliy Tkachuk (Ukraine) — a jazz guitarist which is reputable in the Ukrainian jazz environment. He studied in Berlin and India, has collaborated and performed with jazz famous performers such as Chanda Rule, Ray Brown Jr., Ashley Slater, Louis Austin, Vladimir Chekasin. He’s also known as pop performers and interested in the Indian classical music, able to play the bansuri (Indian bamboo flute)


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Viktorija Pilatovic (Spain) — the Lithuanian-born jazz singer from Spain, she collaborated with many outstanding musicians. Among them there is the world-renowned bass-guitarist Victor Wooten, with whom Viktoria performed her own compositions, including at the Berklee Yamaha All-Stars concert with the participation of Abraham Laboriel, Perico Sambeat and Victor Mendoza. Victoria has performed with the PCC Sympho-Jazz orchestra under conduction by the legendary John Clayton, at the Jazz Festival in Montreux (Switzerland), now she is preparing her debut album, which will include both her authors compositions and unique arrangements of well-known jazz standards combining jazz , hip-hop and soul
Tamara Lukashev? (Ukraine-Germany) — the talented jazz vocalist with mesmerizing vocal and instrumental sound thinking, graduated from the Odessa college of Arts, she continues her studying in Koln, often takes part at international experimental projects of new jazz
Anna Kolchina (Russia) — the jazz vocalist with a charming velvet and truly swingy voice in every note, the winner of different international competitions
Carola Zerega (Ecuador) — remarkable singer from South America. She also plays on percussion. In her performing manner Carola is devoted to the roots and traditions, delivering unrestrained delight and deep sorrow, fixed in Latin folk songs, and true jazz swing pulsation through her singing
Gregory Boyd (Denmark) — singer/songwriter and electric steel pan instrumentalist. Gregory Boyd lays down the vocals, incendiary electric Steel drum work and impressive songwriting skills for his unique new sound all of which has been described as the single most important thing that has graced the steel drum instrument. Gregory Boyd «plays his own blues inspired universal sound» — that is described by Pan on the Net as, «With the genius and aloofness of Monk, blended with the soulfulness of an Al Green, coupled with the musical presence of a Jimi Hendrix. Boyd can jazz, funk and ring in the blues, a true artist who can never be pigeon holed


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Wissam Arram  (Israel) — percussionist, which plays on darbuka, an Arabic ethnic drum instrument. He has been playing this instrument for 26 years. In the middle of his career when he already perfectly played all kinds of Arabic music he went to Florida (USA) to take his instrument to a new direction. He learned how to play Latin rhythms and technique on Congas and Bongos and made the same with the drum set especially in funk rhythms and jazz music. He can play original funky rhythms with darbuka. He played with the famous saxophone player Arny Lewrans and the well-known drummer Max Roge
Boris Plotnikov (Russia) — the Russian harmonica player and teacher, the soloist of V.Vladimirov Big band. He plays together with various authors and performers: Andrey Kozlovskiy, Pavel Fahrtdinov,Umka (Anna Gerasimova). He founded the first and unique state class harmonica in Russia on jazz-pop department of the Sverdlovsk Music College named after P.Tchaikovsky
Nelly Manukian (Armenia) — the only professional improvising jazz flutist in Armenia. Her first steps as jazz flutist was under the leadership of known American jazz pianist Armen Donelian. For many years she played in Armenian symphonic orchestra of radio and television. She participated in different musical projects and jazz festivals of Armenia. Nelly performed with many musicians such as in Bobbie Sanabria, Armen Donelian, Garner Thomas, Ric Taylor, etc. She went on tour in England, Russia. Now Nelly cooperates with leading musicians of Armenia and with the state Jazz Band of Armenia. Being the musician improvisator, Nelly performs in various styles of jazz, jazz-rock, rock, fusion, Brazilian jazz and Latina

You can read more detail information about all participants as well as watching their videos here:

Finalists have already been defined by the Jury decision, but the Online polling for the People’s Choice Prize  is held at the festival website

The contestant who will be not a finalist of the Master-Jam Fest, still might be a winner and deserve to get this Prize.

For more info, log on to Master-Jam Jazz Fest Official website:


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