SCOTT ROBINSON - EMIL VIKLICKY DUO
June 6, 2012 , 7PM, Free
Emil Viklicky was born November 23, 1948, in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and started to play piano at a very early age. His grandfather Victor Wiklitzky had brought a Hoffbauer concert grand piano from Vienna as a wedding gift for his musically gifted bride. Emil graduated from Palacky University with a degree in mathematics in 1971. While a student, he devoted much time to playing jazz piano. In 1974, he was awarded the prize for best soloist at the Czechoslovak Amateur Jazz Festival, and that same year he joined Karel Velebny's SHQ ensemble. Emil was a prizewinner at the jazz improvisation competition in Lyon in 1976, and his composition “Green Satin” (Zeleny saten) earned him first prize in the music conservatory competition in Monaco. Nine years later, his “Cacharel” won second prize in the same competition.
In 1977 Emil was awarded a four-year scholarship to study composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then continued his composition studies with Jarmo Sermila, George Crumb, and Vaclav Kucera. Since his return to Prague he has been directing his own ensembles (primarily quartets and quintets), composing and arranging music and—since the death of Karel Velebny—working as director of the Summer Jazz Workshops in Frydlant. He has also lectured at a similar workshop event in Glamorgan, Wales.
Between 1991 and 1995 Viklicky was President of the Czech Jazz Society, and since 1994 he has worked with the Ad Lib Moravia ensemble, whose performances combine elements of Moravian folk music, modern jazz, and contemporary music. In 1996 the ALM ensemble undertook a highly successful concert tour of Mexico and the United States.
As a pianist, Emil often performs in international ensembles alongside musicians from the U.S. and European countries. During 1983-89, he worked with the Lou Blackburn International Quartet, the Benny Bailey Quintet, and American multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson. He has made frequent appearances in Finland (with the Finnczech Quartet and in particular with Jarmo Sermila) and Norway (with the Czech-Norwegian Big Band and Harald Gundhus), and has performed in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Israel, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands (at the North Sea Festival), and elsewhere. Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner wrote of Emil that “It was a delightful surprise to see such first-class, top-of-the-line jazz in Prague.”
As a composer and pianist, Emil has become noted for his unique synthesis of the melodicism and tonalities of Moravian folk song with modern jazz. As English critic Euan Dixon wrote in 2005, “Emil Viklicky is one of those European jazz pianists who successfully incorporated elements of his indigenous folk culture into jazz.”
He also composes straight-ahead modern jazz as well as chamber and orchestral works that utilize certain elements of the New Music, and at times his music requires a combination of classical and jazz performers.
In addition, Emil composes incidental and film music and has produced scores for several full-length feature films and television series. Throughout the 1990s he devoted an increasing amount of time to the composition of contemporary classical music for a variety of instrumental combinations ranging from small chamber ensembles and electronic instruments to symphony orchestras and choruses. Viklicky’s work has gained him a number of prestigious awards, including the 1991 Film and Television Association prize for music for animated films, second prize at the 1994 Marimolin contemporary music competition in Boston (for “Tristana”), a 1996 Prague award for electroacoustic music (for “Paradise Park”), a 1996 Czech Music Fund prize for use of folk music in art music, and first prize in a 2000 international OPERA composition competition in Prague (for the opera Phaedra).
“One of the best contemporary pianists, Emil Viklicky’s soloing and comping, his touch, voicings and intervals have a good deal in common with fleet, tasteful pianists like Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles and Bill Charlap.”
Doug Ramsey, Jazz Time (Dec. 2004)
“Combine elements of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson with a deep infusion of Moravian soul, and you have Emil Viklicky, the patriarch of Czech jazz piano.”
Jack Massarik, Evening Standard, London (June 5, 2006)
“Emil Viklicky Trio has the same collective energy as Esbjorn Svenson Trio, though without electronics and rock input.”
John Fordham, Guardian, London (Sept. 13, 2006)
“Viklicky himself is a wonderfully lyrical yet robust pianist, his playing packed with dynamic and textural subtleties.”
Chris Parker, London (Dec. 22, 1997)
“The program did have its share of happy marriages. Emil Viklicky cloaked the writings of Vaclav Havel in two distinctly different garments: a slinky, flirtatious raiment to accompany an early work and a gray, bluesy fleece that provided a huddling place for a prison letter afforded a witty reading by Mario Van Peebles.”
David Sprague, Variety (Oct. 29, 2004)
“Emil Viklicky’s introspective musings might remind you of Keith Jarrett or Brad Mehldau… The CD Morava is promising arrival at new creative plateau.”
Calvin Wilson, Schwann Inside Jazz &Classical (April 2001)
“Emil Viklicky plays Bill Evans inspired piano... ‘Myjava,’ “Slunecko sa nizi’ and ‘Touha’ are masterful examples of world-class jazz artistry.”
Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times (March 25, 2001)
Scott Robinson (born April 27, 1959 in New Jersey) is an American jazz musician. Robinson is best known for his work with various styles of saxophone, but has also performed with the clarinet, flute, and sarrusophone, along with other, more obscure instruments.
Robinson has appeared on more than 150 professional recordings, including seven under his own name, with musicians such as Lionel Hampton, Anthony Braxton, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Ella Fitzgerald, Paquito D'Rivera, Sting, Maria Schneider, Elton John, Buck Clayton, and the New York City Opera. Two of these recordings won a Grammy Award. He has also received four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2000, the U.S. State Department named Robinson a "Jazz Ambassador" for the year 2001, funding a tour of West Africa in which Robinson played the early works of Louis Armstrong. Material from these appearances was subsequently released on the album Jazz Ambassador: Scott Robinson Plays the Compositions of Louis Armstrong by Arbors Records.
Throughout his career, Robinson has worked to keep unusual and obscure instruments in the public view. For example, he has recorded an album featuring the C-melody saxophone and performs with the ophicleide. He also owns and records with a contrabass saxophone, so rare that fewer than twenty in playable condition are known to exist.
Robinson is a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is married to Sharon Robinson.
Robinson is currently a music professor at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, yet continues to tour throughout the United States.
•Jazz Ambassador: Scott Robinson Plays the Compositions of Louis Armstrong (Arbors Records)
With Randy Sandke
•The Music of Bob Haggart Featuring His Porgy and Bess Arrangements (Arbors Records)
With John Sheridan
•John Sheridan's Dream Band: Easy As It Gets, Featuring Rebecca
•John Sheridan & His Dream Band: Swing is Still the King (Arbors Records)