Denis Shvytov: Jazz is a language of world diplomacy

Denis Shvytov: Jazz is a language of world diplomacy

— How do you feel about the festival, the weather? I know there were some problems with your arrival, and you even had to delay your performance. Did this cloud your spirits?

— Well, the flight was almost four hours late and so we came straight over, right into the thick of things. I certainly would like to look around because I was here 32 years ago with my parents, and the place lingered in my memories like a fairy tale.

I haven't had a chance to see anything so far, but I feel that childhood memories are rushing back, and I am very happy to perform here. Everything sounded so great on stage — the equipment was good and we got a wonderful reception. I am very happy.

— What do you think about the festival in general — do we need such events? Will you come again if you get a chance?

— Of course we need them! How could we do without them? I see that it's not just the musicians that need them but all people, the whole country. I often tour the country and I see how much people yearn for live music. I am not even talking about jazz and all that. People hunger for what is called professional work on stage. That's why we need such festivals, especially jazz.

Jazz is actually a language of world diplomacy, so how can we quit it? No way! We are not the only ones who speak that language — the whole world speaks it. That's why Russia as a great nation should be able to speak all languages. Jazz is an important diplomatic tool, that's why I can say, without getting into politics, that it is music that unites people, nations and ethnicities.

— The festival has a big programme. Which of the performers would you like to hear?

— I am sorry, I haven't even had a chance to see the schedule yet because we've just finished our tour. I know my childhood friend Sergei Golovnya is here, and today we'll be followed by Valery Ponomaryov and a wonderful band Esh that I've played with several times. Well, I'm sure I'll really enjoy the performances in the coming days because I know that Sergei Golovnya is the artistic director of this festival, and so the selection of performers will be exciting.

— What do you think of the local audience? Did you enjoy working with them?

— Actually, I was amazed on the way over here from the hotel: we were rushing to do our performance, and I was struck by the people sitting everywhere — on the ground, near the sea, on some benches, some sort of stands — and they all seemed so great, so knowledgeable. We have very sophisticated people gathered here today, in terms of a spiritual quest and a search for oneself — so it seemed to me from the expression on their faces, in their eyes. It is a pleasure to be in such a company because I am one of them.


The KoktebelJazzParty festival is a COVID-free zone. Given the difficult epidemiological situation, the terms of access to the festival may be changed, depending on the epidemiological situation in the region and the recommendations issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).
All festival participants, guests and spectators must present at least one of the three documents listed below:

  • A negative PCR test performed not earlier than August 18, 2021
  • A certificate showing the presence of antibodies to the S-protein of COVID-19, issued not earlier than May 25, 2021
  • A COVID-19 vaccination certificate

All guests, members of the audience and media representatives must wear masks and gloves at the festival venues.