Misha Feigin – classical guitar, voice 1-17 / balalaika 17 | Marc Vainrot – viola de gamba 3,4 | Segei Proshutinsky – medieval flutes, crumhorn 2,3,4 | Segei Kopchenkov – piano, harpsichord 7,11 | Alexander Ivanov – keyboard 6,11 | Sergei Gurgbeloshvili – saxophone 7 | Mark Pekarsky – percussions 9 | Mihail Utkin – cello 9 | Lliya Lungin – flute 10 | Moscow String Quartet 9 | Mark Hamilton – electric guitars, electronics 12-17 | Dannie Kely – bass 12-17 | Hussam Al-Aydi – oud, keyboards, voice 14
Cover photo by LaDonna Smith. Insert photo by Misha Feigin. Back cover photo by Valentin Mitskevich
Disc 1: In Russia
1. Magic Forest (Misha Feigin) [2:23] 2. Among The Roses (Misha Feigin/Walter de la Mare) [2:01] 3. Gillome de Cabestagne Ballade (Misha Feigin) [3:09] 4. Graf Von Gleichen Ballade (Misha Feigin) [4:22] 5. Under The Moon Drinking Alone (Misha Feigin/Li Po) [4:11] 6. Bonfire (Misha Feigin) [3:16] 7. Wave To Me (Misha Feigin) [3:17] 8. Asking My Friend (Misha Feigin/Bai Juyi) [3:21] 9. On The Road (Misha Feigin/Ovsei Driz) [2:30] & Kaddish (Tribute to Janos Korchak) (Misha Feigin) [3:54] 10. The Wind (Misha Feigin/Walter de la Mare) [2:30]
| Total Time [38:44]
Disc 2: In America
1. Sometimes, Somehow, Somewhere (Misha Feigin) [5:46] 2. The Way It Shines (Misha Feigin] [4:34] 3. Dark Eyes (Folk) [6:22] 4. Refugee (Misha Feigin) [5:05] 5. Bad Day (Misha Feigin) [4:07] 6. Balalaika Dreams (Misha Feigin/Mark Hamilton [7:39] | Total Time: [33:37]
Misha Feigin – balalaika, classical guitar in Duos with: Elliot Sharp – dobro | Davey Williams – electric guitar | LaDonna Smith – violin, dancing on a wooden box | Craig Hultgren – cello | Eugene Chadbourne – banjo, guitar
Track1 & 4 recorded by Elliot Sharp at his home studio in New York; 2 & 5 recorded by John Metro at the Birmingham Arts Association, Alabama; 3 recorded by Sam Gray at the Ramcat Studio in Louisville, Kentucky; 7 recorded at the concert at the Rietschule, Bern, Switzerland. All pieces are improvised, and recorded during 1998. All music by Misha Feigin (BMI) published by Alissa Publishing/PRS. Mastered by Stan Wijnans, LMC Sound. Front cover collage by Misha Feigin. Photo by Oli Jensen. Produced by Leo Feigin.
Tracklist: 1. Both Kinds of Music – [12’02] Misha Feigin – balalaika, Elliot Sharp – dobro 2. Balalaikofrenia – [4’29] Misha Feigin – balalaika, Davey Williams – electric guitar, LaDonna Smith – dancing on a big wooden box 3. Moondance – [9’39] Misha Feigin – classical guitar, Craig Hultgren – cello 4. Zohar Cafe Blues – [3’46] Misha Feigin – balalaika, Elliot Sharp – dobro 5. BBQ-Powered Mission to Outer Space -[11’37] Misha Feigin – classical guitar, Davey Williams – electric guitar 6. String Theory Revisited – [11 ’54] Misha Feigin – classical guitar, LaDonna Smith – violin 7. A Meter Violation – [16’27] Misha Feigin – classical guitar, balalaika, Eugene Chadbourne – banjo, guitar | Total time: 69’56
listen to Misha Feigin & Davey Williams & LaDonna Smith | Balalaikofrenia
“Both kinds of music” refers, of course, to “Country” and “Western”. Rediscovering country music has been something the avant garde has enjoyed doing in a tongue-in-cheek, knowingly urban way for decades, but more recently something less deliberately parodic has been going on between the two seemingly incommensurable genres. The Bubbadinos certainly play some species of white American folk music, but it’s hardly Nashville, and Misha Feigin is a free improvising Russian Balalaika player; it’s not even clear which kinds of music are being played, exactly, any more. — Richard Cochrane
If you’ve never heard a free-style jazz duet between a balalaika and a dobro, and you have a desire to do so, this CD should appeal to you. Actually, this is much more than a novelty album, as Feigin strums his guitar-like balalaika and classical guitar through seven jazz duets with Elliot Sharp (dobro), Davey Williams (electric guitar), Craig Hultgren (cello), LaDonna Smith (violin), and Eugene Chadbourne (banjo and guitar). The star billing is entirely appropriate, as each track is a stunning display of string improvisation. There is lots of variety as not only do the instruments and players alternate, but so do the free improvisations. Surprisingly accessible and at times even soothing, there is plenty of stridency, too. The duel with Hultgren is a particular highlight, as the violinist dances gingerly, without missing a step. Feigin (no relation to Leo Feigin, the producer) is strong throughout and a perfect partner. — Steve Loewy
For those who enjoy dobro and balalaika instrumentation, this jazz CD of 69:56 minutes will both intrigue and delight. That Misha Feigin is a master of his instrument is very evident in this collection. Feigin has duos with Elliot Sharp on dobro, Davey Williams on electric guitar, LaDonna Smith on violin (and dancing on a wooden box!), Craig Hultgren on cello, and Eugene Chadbourne on guitar and banjo. Some of the song titles include, among others, “Both Kinds of Music,” “Balaiaikofrenia,” “Moondance,” and “Zohar Cafe Blues.” Misha Feigin is one of the most well-known balalaika performers in the world, and this CD highlights those fine musical gifts. — Lee Prosser
Dave Liebmann – saxophones, flute, reading | LaDonna Smith – violin & viola | Misha Feigin – guitar & balaleika | Jason Foureman – contrabass (cuts 4 and 5)
Recorded June 28, 2006 Louisville, KY, USA by Steve Good. Text: “Jazz” by Misha Feigin, read by Dave Liebman. Cover art by 3ddie Melton. Transmuseq Records, www.transmuseq.com PO Box 430128, Birmingham, AL 35243 (205)967-0392 c&p 2007, transmuseq BMI, all rights reserved.
Tracklist: 1. Drink Deep [20:26] 2. Ancient Memories [8:15] 3. Heart and Other Difficulties [15:22] 4. Jazz [7:04] 5. Waters Ashore [7/35]
Being a musician means to perceive and to express the world, including ourselves, through the sound. Music provides a practical experience in the search for the universality of all human beings.
With all variety of genres and types of music, there are a few focusing on improvisation, perhaps the most ancient form of musical expression. Those are traditional ethnic folk music, free improvisation, and jazz. Any jazz musician can sit-in, in a band playing standards, because they speak the same musical language.
Free improvisers can meet each other for the first time in a concert. World music brings together all possible blends of ethnic cultures and improvisational practices.
Music is the most accessible form of universal language that is being practiced today. So, bringing together a jazz icon, Dave Liebman with one of the pioneers of free improvisied music in America, LaDonna Smith, and Misha Feigin, Moscow born poet-musician, who was experimented with the fusion of free improvisation and ethnic folk music, seems to be a natural example of this musical universality.
This recording documents a musical journey that the three of us took, meeting for the first time in Louisville, Kentucky on June 28, 2006, and embarking on a three hour musical recording session together. All pieces on this recording were improvised in the spirit of communal musical exploration and mutual respect.
Waters come ashore, bringing with it the debris from the depths of the ocean. Like our imagination reveals the tide of our traditions and experience, we are left with the evidence of natural change and assimilation. Drink deep.
listen to Dave Liebman & LaDonna Smith & Misha Feigin & Jason Foureman | Waters Ashore (excerpt)
listen to Dave Liebman & LaDonna Smith & Misha Feigin & Jason Foureman | Jazz (excerpt)
Floating Bridges tracklist: 1. Krakow Concerto [18:53] 2. Tribal Reverberation [3:09] 3. Klebnikov [5:39] 4. Die to Live [10:09] 5. Crossed Currents [6:21] 6. Something Reduced [:47]
Recorded live on June 6, 2007 at “Meeting of Improvisers” Centrum Sztuki Wspolczesnej ,,Solvay” Krakow, Poland. Our thanks to Rafal Mazur, Festival Director, Rafa! Drevyani Recording-Producer, & Bogdan Czyszczan, technical assistance. CD replication by N-House. Produced by LaDonna Smith, Birmingham, Alabama. STRINGTREK is LaDonna Smith & Misha Feigin. (c) & (p) TRANSMUSEQ RECORDS 2007, BMI. (all rights reserved) www.transmuseq.com
listen to LaDonna Smith & Misha Feigin | Tribal Reverberation
radiates with high energy interplay from the first notes and reveals a musical dynamism of fluid invention and sympathetic creation from the String Trek duo of violist La Donna Smith and guitarist Misha Feigin.
Recorded in June, 2007 at the “Meeting of Improvisers” in Krakow, Poland, the set opens with the nineteen-minute “Krakow Concerto.” After the initial shock but superficial comparison to the duo of Smith and guitarist Davey Williams heard live during the 1970s-80s, String Trek comes crisply into focus with its own characteristic sound and approach. This well recorded live performance captures the duo at a high point of artistic collaboration.
Throughout “Concerto,” Feigin ranges over his instrument, picking glittering and articulate lines, pulling strings and producing massive rhythmic chords—drawing sounds out, at times, both delicate and tough, but constantly inventive and responsive to his musical partner. He doesn’t sound like any other free improvising guitarist and has the energy and technique to be the perfect musical foil to the energetic and expressive Smith.
Smith bows clean lines as well as smeared resonances, often joining her voice to that of her unmistakable viola. Neither is the leader, but the two blend into a perfect and satisfying union. “Concerto” fluidly travels from free invention into the p[layers’ shared European folk and Southern blues influences. The melodies that appear seem completely organic and natural with only a hint of cultural exoticism.
“Tribal Reverberation” has both performers vocalizing from z’aum abstractions to extended vocal technique, from folk melodies to rhythmic cadences. A wonderful, but brief, piece of mouth music.
“Klebnikov” is a sober meditation on the transience of life, penned by Velimir Hlebnikov in 1920 and recited here, first in Russian, and then translated by Feigin with pizzicati and chordal accompaniment. The mood continues with “Die to Live,” picking up first with muscular and virtuosic sequences interleaved with rhapsodic lyricism and then integrating Feigin improvising on his poem, “The wind blows through space…,” which ends the sequence as a paean to the fleetness of experience. The integration of the reading with the music is so seamless as to avoid comparison to most jazz/poetry collaborations. In all, a beautiful connection to the Russian language exploration of the Futurist years—a sensibility shared by both artists—and the tenuousness of the art of improvisation.
The concert ends with “Crossed Currents,” an extended exploration of string color restlessly moving from technique to technique and culminating with an energetic vocal and slide guitar send-off. Ending, Smith announces in her characteristic way, “That’s all folks.” A brief encore of a few seconds, “Something Reduced” follows.
Smith’s early Trans Duo recordings were often marred with mediocre recordings and abbreviated sets. The quality of this release, both in clarity of recording and artistic achievement, makes up for that lack. Together, Smith and Feigin have moved beyond Yokel Yen(Transmuseq, 2004) with an organic rightness to their approach.
Track Listing: Krakow Concerto; Tribal Reverberation; Klebnikov; Die to Live; Crossed Currents; Something Reduced. Personnel: La Donna Smith: violin, viola, voice; Misha Feigin: voice, guitar, balalaika. Record Label: Transmuseq | Style: Modern Jazz. review from All About Jazz: ByTHOMAS GAUDYNSKI, Published: April 20, 2008