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.
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.
Alto saxophonist Ben van Gelder moved to New York when he was 17 and spent a decade collaborating and studying with some of the most progressive artists in the world; his teachers included Guillermo Klein, Jason Moran, and Lee Konitz. He has since played and recorded with many contemporary jazz luminaries. Besides leading his own quartet, Van Gelder frequently performs with guitarist Reinier Baas. They recently released the album Smash Hits with Metropole Orkest.