An article in the newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva about ChetMen’s performance in Montreux (Switzerland)

ChetMen is on fire. We have shocked Montreux

Septembre Musical in the Swiss city of Montreux is a special story. Montreux is a place of power. Here Vladimir Nabokov worked, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky wrote. It was here that Igor Stravinsky’s brilliant “The Rite of Spring” was born. And then 70 years ago, the best musical forces of the world began to gather during fall, to show each other their talents and skills and together pay tribute to the great art – such different and such beautiful music.

For many years the festival in Montreux did not have any special theme. But not so long ago, the current head of the festival, Misha Damev, introduced a rule – to dedicate festivals to one country or another. Russia was chosen this year, as well as the sometimes obvious and sometimes invisible connections that exist between Russia and the charming Swiss city.

To perform at the festival, the famous Michael Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra have chosen, among other things, Scriabin’s First Symphony, which is rarely performed in Russia. In Montreux, it was performed for the first time. For two evenings, the hall froze, spellbound by perhaps the most emotional music in the world: The orchestra, the boys’ choir of the Glinka Choral School, tenor Yuri Rostotsky and mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva, the winner of the Big Opera project, who specially learned Scriabin’s symphony for performing at the festival. Shostakovich and the indescribable soul-tearing Rachmaninov were performed by Nikolai on Lugansky. In addition, the Mariinsky Theater Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev, as well as young talents of our country – participants in the Nutcracker project and the Reverese break-dance show, all performed in Montreux.

But before the classical concert, those gathered at the festival were in for a surprise – a pleasant and rather unexpected one. For the first time in the history of modern jazz, the Russian fusion group ChetMen took part in the famous festival, playing instrumental original music. The performance took place on September 7 at the Funky Claude’s Bar.

The ChetMen band was created by Dmitry Chetvergov and Michael Men. Dmitry is a world famous guitar virtuoso, composer, arranger, sound producer, and producer of the Moscow City Records label. Regular readers of “VM” probably remember Dmitry as a participant in the “Evening Moscow” project and the production center of Igor Sandler “Ploschad ploschad” – he was one of the members of the authoritative jury. The owner of unique experience and technologies for creating guitar arrangements, Dmitry is a laureate of the “Golden Note” award in the nomination “Best Guitarist of 2014”.

Known in the world of music, Michael Men is a musician, singer, composer, producer and director, a member of the Union of Composers and the Union of Cinematographers of Russia. Michael is the author and producer of the project with ex-members of Rainbow and Deep Purple groups Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner “Made in Moscow”. His works have repeatedly hit the charts of digital showcases in many countries, and recently he became the chairman of the artistic council of the Moscow City Records label.

The ChetMen band includes professional musicians, participants in top projects playing in various styles and directions – in addition to Dmitry Chetvergov and Michael Men, it includes keyboard players Michael Saushev and Alexander Mironov, Michael Ponkratyev – drums, and Timur Nekrasov – saxophone, flute, percussion. The collective performs mainly original music, and the style of the group can be described as fusion of jazz, blues, funk, soul with elements of pop- rock, art-rock and ethnic music.

According to Michael Men, it is a special honor and responsibility for their team to perform in Montreux, a city significant for Russian culture and a Mecca of world jazz for more than a decade.

– “We are grateful to the sophisticated audience of Montreux for the appreciation of our music and the applause. I’m sure we’ll be back!” He added.

– “The extraordinary beauty of these places with the developed uncommon history of the life of great people, the twists and turns of their creative destinies – all this imbued with the amazing aura of Montreux” – Dmitry Chetvergov shared his impressions about the festival and the trip. – “Feelings are overwhelming when you visit places previously visited by great composers, writers, jazzmen and rock musicians. And once you get here, you fully feel this height of the status of a musician, which you forget about in everyday life. This is, of course, a festive for any creative person. It is undoubtedly a great honor for any Russian musician to be here! And not just take a walk, saturated with the energy of these amazing places, but also perform within the framework of the legendary festival, show your own creativity, which from the innermost becomes a part of the Montreux legend”.

The first days of September and music, music to dizziness! An honor to everyone, and for the author’s project ChetMen there is also additional proof – you are writing great music!

VM columnist Olga Kuzmina