Oleg Kireyev and the Feng Shui Jazz Theater in East Coast Premier

Russian jazz saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev, will bring his diverse jazz/world music quartet to Symphony Space in New York on Saturday, April 26, 2008. Titled "The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre, " Kireyev's band members include Valery Panfilov on guitar; Victor Matouhin on bass; Ildar Nafigov on drums; and Kireyev himself on tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards and vocals. All members of the band are from the former USSR and multinational Russia.

Kireyev grew up in Bashkiria near the European/Asian border. His interest in Asian culture and music has greatly influenced his musical style-a combination of Moldavian and Asian melodies, bebop and mainstream jazz, African rhythms and folk music from all over the world. A student of classical music as a youngster, Kireyev reports that his uncle bought him a violin, but when his parents saw his hesitation about playing the instrument, they ventured to buy a Soviet piano on credit-unheard of in those days. "At that time getting a jazz education in Russia was out of the question, " Kireyev says. "I often got bored studying musical composition and without noticing it, I started improvising melodies on the piano that I could hear in my head."

In the 1980's, Kireyev was the leader of a popular Russian group, Orlan, which fused jazz with Russian folk music using some unusual folk instruments such as the "kurai, " a wind instrument, and the "kubyz, " a juice harp. Orlan's popularity grew quickly as the global music scene was exploding.

With the success of Orlan and performances in Russia and abroad, Kireyev traveled to Poland where he spent three years in the early 1990's playing in the country's best jazz clubs with Poland's most popular jazz artists. In 1994, Kireyev won a scholarship to study with jazz legend, Bud Shank, and traveled to the US. Kireyev was invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland where he was awarded a diploma for outstanding performance and has performed at the Birmingham Jazz Festival and the Earling Jazz Festival in England, where he continues to tour. His 2000 recording, "Love Letters, " had strong sales in the U.K.

Incorporating traditional swing, Moldavian tunes, African rhythm and jazz into a distinctive art form, Kireyev recorded his latest CD, "Mandala, " in 2004 with percussionist Njaga Sambe (Senegal); guitarist Valery Panfilov (Moldova); bassist Victor Matiukhin (Ukraine); drummer Ildar Nafigov (Tatarstan); keyboardist Valery Belikov (Ukraine) and Kireyev on saxophones (Bashkiria). The result is a mix of ancient tunes of Asia with a striking contemporary sound, very high energy and exceptional musicianship. The CD will be released in the US in May, 2008 on the New York City based label, Jazzheads.

"The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre" concert celebrates the rich diversity of musical styles and instrumentation brought to the stage by Kireyev and his band members. "Often our music on stage comes from folk songs or a sudden mood we get after reading a French sonnet, " says Kireyev. "Sometimes we will combine an opera singer and vanguard jazz on the same stage for an interesting Italian opera affect."

"The Feng Shui Jazz Theatre, " will premier at New York's Symphony Space on Saturday, April 26, at 8 pm. Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway. Tickets: $30 ($25 senior/$15 student) and may be purchased by calling the box office at 212-864-5400 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.Tuesday through Sunday or online at Student tickets may only be purchased in person at the box office (12 noon-7 p.m.) with proof of ID.

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