Saturday night in Volga is completely dedicated to what’s been called One-on-One; no less than nine concerts by two heavy-hitters in jazz at a time. Inspiration for this series of intimate performances came from two different projects - with many similarities nonetheless.
For his 2015 music video art project The Seasons, saxophonist and composer Ben Wendel was inspired by a set of twelve piano pieces written and released each month by Tchaikovsky in 1876. Wendel’s modern take on the idea was to compose and release twelve original jazz chamber duets in video format on YouTube with modern luminaries Joshua Redman, Luciana Souza, Eric Harland, Julian Lage, and Ambrose Akinmusire, among others.
Pianist and composer Kris Davis’s 2016 album Duopoly contains a series of duets featuring renowned improvisers including Bill Frisell and Julian Lage (guitars), Craig Taborn (piano), and Marcus Gilmore (drums/percussion). Each musician plays two duets with Davis on the album; one composed piece and one freely improvised piece.
Adapted for the North Sea Jazz stage, One-on-One features performances by eleven different musicians in rotating duos.
Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been celebrated in recent Downbeat Critics Polls as a Star Jazz Artist, and Rising Star Composer of the Year. Over the past decade she has worked with diverse musicians including Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn. Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums in varied lineups. She also released the solo recording Meltframe (2015), and most recently debuted her song project Code Girl (2018).
Pianist Aaron Parks joined Terence Blanchard's band at age 18, and appeared on three Blue Note albums by the trumpeter before making his own debut with 2008's Invisible Cinema. Parks has toured both as a bandleader and as a sideman in a number of other bands. He is also a founding member of the collective James Farm with Joshua Redman, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland. His most recent project, the electric quartet Little Big, released their debut in 2018.