Kęstutis Vaiginis (b. 1978) is a gifted, mature and exceptionally prolific jazz player, saxophonist and composer, and a leader and co-leader of various bands. Standing out with his pellucid, controlled sound, lyricism and emotionality, he creates distinctive compositions by fusing together expressions of modern jazz, academic music, and Latino and African music, with a Baltic or northernly sound.
Having first trained as a Classical performer, Vaiginis started playing jazz in 1999, and soon established himself on the Lithuanian jazz scene, appearing on the stage both with his musical peers and with experienced masters of jazz. He studied jazz performance at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Prins Claus Conservatorium (Netherlands), and the Manhattan School of Music (USA), and made his debut as a band leader while still a student.
In 2005, he also became known as a composer, with compositions performed by the often international collectives that he formed. The current list of Vaiginis’ collaborators on the stage consists of jazz personas such as Barbara Dennerlein, Daniel Messina, Hernan Romero, David Berkman, Burak Bedikyan, Joonas Haavisto, David Kikoski, Alex Sipiagin, Boris Kozlov, Donald Edwards and JD Walter. He has been a member of the Dainius Pulauskas Group since 2009, and a member of the Three Stones quartet since 2012, which unites Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian jazz musicians.
Vaiginis became the first recipient of the European Cultural Foundation Europamusicale Music Prize (2013). The prize was awarded to him by the President of Germany Joachim Gauck, who said that Vaiginis’ music ‘offers new impulses to Lithuanian and European jazz’, refering to the saxophonist and composer as ‘an ideal example of how it is possible to contribute to creating and promoting jazz music’. The musician’s work has also been recognised by the Grand Prix of the Birštonas Jazz Festival (2010).
Stream/download this: Lights of Darkness
Kęstutis Vaiginis’s music is available at: www.mic.lt/lt/baze/dziazas/kompozitoriai-atlikejai/vaiginis