January 1, 2009

Mikhail Zhukov

Mikhail Zhukov [or Michail Žukov] (dr,perc): Saink­ho Nam­tchy­lak: „Creation Song“ Sain­kho & Di­gi­tal Mu­ta­tion: “un­known tit­le (Live Moers 2004)”

Mikhail Zhukov is a drummer stemming from the Russian progressive jazz scene of the 1980's, who has later broadened his stylistic range towards ethnic and folkloristic forms of music and classical or modern composed music.
In the 1980's he performed with Russian jazzers like Sergey Kuriokhin and led his own "Non-Light Music Orchestra" as well as a percussion ensemble. On the Western European scene he appeared with the Moscow Composers Orchestra, the Russian-German "Documenta Band" and his albums on Leo Records.
He's living in Potsdam - close to Berlin - now, where he is a member of the Russian ex-pat group Ersatzmusika, together with Leonid Soybelman. In his residence town he's playing with the chamber music ensemble Arpeggiato. Since the early 90s he's often been collaborating with ethnic and/or shamanistic music singers from Siberia and Tuva, including famous throat singer Sainkho Namtchylak and singer and khömus (jaw harp) player Nikolay Oorzahk.
Zhukov has a tendency for playing hand drums. His playing is described as "mystical" or could be more neutrally referred to as relaxed and moodful. However, his development from innovative jazz drummer to folk-world-fusion music is not undisputed. In his "Essay of New Jazz" Andrey Soloviev writes:

I remember, how Letov and Zhukov played a short and frantic suite "Tyani-Tolkay" in 1982 - minimum pathos with maximum expressiveness. [...] Another figure, not less distinguished than Letov and Lukin, was the drummer Mikhail Zhukov, who had his own percussion ensemble, called Uneasy Music Orchestra. Many interesting musicians played there - the percussionist Igor Zhigunov (later Megapolis), the arranger Aleksey Nechayev, future MD&C Pavlov - Aleksey Pavlov from Zvuki MU, Dima Tsvetkov, the drummer of Nicholas Copernicus. Zhukov's orchestra was a part of the nonconformist scene, but then Sainkho appeared. Zhukov started playing the "Tuvinian card" and it all ended up as ambiguous bunch of ethnic banalities.
Would you consider the "Tuvinian card" playing of Zhukov as banal as well? Well, check for yourself: After Zhukov played with Sainkho in a group named "Digital Mutations" on Moers Jazz Festival in 2004, the festival's website had offered a short 2:30 minutes excerpt of their one-hour-concert for a while. It's not hosted on their website anymore now, but has survived on my hard disc drive in the past five years, so I can offer it for download here.

No comments: