On Friday, I attended a concert at Jazz Dock, a new Prague jazz club for me. It’s a modern club located along the Vltava River. The crowd was mixed – mostly locals of all ages. I chatted with an American couple living in Stuttgart Germany but enjoying a long weekend in Prague.
Jazz Dock has early and late performances conducted inside and on the roof terrace. Jazz music performed ranges from classic to swing, gypsy bands, funk, orchestras, soloists, quartets, and trios. Many talented musicians perform at the club.
Unless you’re driving, there’s no way to get to the club without walking. The trams stop is about 15 minutes away. I took a tram on the way and walked home after the performance – a gorgeous nighttime stroll, with city lights reflecting on the Vltava!
The popular Czech Époque Quartet (EQ) was founded in 1999, uniting “four excellent soloists and chamber musicians with abundant stage experience”. Since then, the popular, highly-rated “ensemble has collaborated with a wide range of musicians”. EQ has produced acclaimed CDs, won prestigious awards, and performed throughout Europe, Israel, US, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and China:
- Jan Rokyta – violin
- Alexey Aslamas – violoncello
- Jan Kučera – violin
- Petr Wajsar – viola
The program included songs from their new CD and older favorites. EQ is a class act. They play with passion, exuding serious, yet lighthearted charisma!
Irvin Venyš Clarinetist
Irvin Venyš is “ranked among the most prominent artists of the young Czech generation”. He holds awards from world-renowned competitions and is noted for his unmistakable interpretations.
Venyš graduated from the Czech Conservatory in Brno and the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague with a Master’s degree. He obtained a PhD and is now an educator. During his impressive, versatile career, he’s toured and collaborated with the world’s leading bands, soloists, and conductors, created award-winning CDs, led workshops, and performed at festivals.
During the performance, Venyš played three different types of clarinets. The only one I could be sure of was the unmistakable contrabass. My guess is he plays all varieties of clarinet!
The group’s award-winning CD Époque Quartet Plays Jan Kučera, summarizes Kučera’s long-term collaboration with the ensemble. Their CD, Flow, was shortlisted for the prestigious Canadian Juno Award. In 2018, they received an invitation to perform at the Prague Spring Festival. The EQ is known to a wide audience for its performances on the Czech television show Stardance.
New CD Komp(l)ot
Eight years after their first joint CD, Irvin Époque (ArcoDiva 2012), Irvin Venyš and the EQ have produced a new CD, Komp(l)ot. It was created “during the autumn and winter of 2020, as part of the Czechs Cross Over project”. The CD title is “inspired by the graphics of Jitka Petrášová Kompot”. It includes interesting new “compositions by Czech composers and recent adaptations of EQ;s existing works”.
Czechs Cross Over – 9 Compositions / 7 Composers / 5 Musicians / 1 Komp(l)ot
The CZECHS CROSS OVER project “connects Czech musicians and composers who like to transcend genres and feel the need to create, even in a time that is more than unsuited to live music”. The group prepared “nine compositions covering a fairly wide genre spectrum – folklore inspiration, jazz ballads, musical puns, and memento-tuned compositions”. The link provides “song stories, composer profiles, and short interviews with some of the artists in the COMPOSITIONS section. All songs were recorded during November and December 2020 and are available in the AUDIO and VIDEO sections.
There’s no way to describe the Époque Quartet & Irvin Venyš except a group of totally brilliant, talented musicians! It was a memorable evening.