He made his debut in 1981 with the Vladimir Chekasin Quartet (Chekasin was his teacher). Since then he has performed with many musicians coming from different musical backgrounds. In 1997 he made his debut as a leader with Leonid Shinkarenko Jazz 4 that later became a basis for his other formations, such as Jazz 5 and Jazz 7. All of them perform his original compositions.
He currently plays with his own bands and appears with the Lithuanian Jazz Trio and Dainius Pulauskas Group. Besides performing and composing, he also teaches and organises the annual Nida Jazz Festival. Leonid Shinkarenko (b. 1957), an acoustic and electric bass virtuoso, is a cornerstone figure in Lithuanian jazz. During 25 years of his career, he has collaborated with numerous musicians of different trends, and has participated in recording of around 60 albums.
For five years in a run the critics polls of the former USSR have selected him one of the best bass players. His performing style is marked by deep feeling and melodic sensitivity; as a composer he is especially well known for his ballads. His impressive jazz career started in 1981, when he played with the Quartet of Vladimir Chekasin, his mentor. From 1982 to 1989 the bassist was a member of the legendary Petras Vyšniauskas Quartet; later on he has been performing with the quintet Gone With Jazz, the Vilnius Jazz Quartet and the Lithuanian Art Orchestra. The scale of his creative interests is exemplified by his collaborations with the Indian music ensemble Svara (2001) and the Vilnius Percussionists (2003). In 1997 he made his debut as a leader by releasing an album of his compositions Sagittarius.
It was recorded by the group Leonid Shinkarenko Jazz 4, which he subsequently transformed into a quintet and then into a septet. With different groups Leonid Shinkarenko has performed on many European stages and has been featured by such festivals as Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw (1987, with Petras Vyšniauskas Quartet), Varna Jazz Festival in Bulgaria (1992, with Vytautas Labutis Quartet) and others. Recently he is mostly heard with his own groups and the Lithuanian Jazz Trio, whose contribution to promoting Lithuanian jazz was recognized by the LT Identity award of the Lithuanian Institute in 2004. With the Lithuanian Jazz Trio he has performed at the Jazz Expo in Genoa, Italy (2004), and the International Music Fair MIDEM in Cannes, France (2005). Leonid Shinkarenko is also involved in educational activity. The musician has started annual Nida Jazz Marathon that has evolved into Nida Jazz Festival. Read more on Last.fm.
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