Jazz it up in Koktebel

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.