Saint Petersburg Music Label Rainy Days Records Strives to Showcase Russian Jazz Musicians to the United States and Beyond

Rainy Days Records is a Saint Petersburg-based record label that is changing the global perception of modern Russian music in the global music landscape.   Founded in 2018, the label has released eight albums that demonstrate the stellar musicianship and vibrancy of today’s Russian jazz scene.  Acting as a platform for Russian and international musicians, Rainy Days facilitates the creation and presentation of innovative new works and fosters unique collaborations of the finest musicians that Russia has to offer.

This Fall, Rainy Days will be releasing two outstanding projects that perfectly exemplify this. On September 27th, Rainy Days will release Jazz Animals, the debut album from saxophonist and composer Makar Kashitsyn, which features Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and Josh Evans. On October 11th, Russian pianist and composer Evgeny Sivtsov will introduce fans to his new trio project with the release of Zoo. On the recording, Sivtsov is  joined by bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Shawn Baltazor.  

Founded by Eugene Petrushansky, Andrey Agiyan, Dmitry Komedea and Sasha Mashin in 2018, Rainy Days Records has released three titles to date. Sasha Mashin’s debut album, Outsidethebox – featuring Alex Sipiagin, Rosario Giuliani, and Josh Evans – aptly served as the label’s inaugural release. An innovative drummer and producer in his own right, Sasha fills the role of both A&R and musical producer at Rainy Days Records. April 2019 saw the sophomore release from the label – Russian bassist Makar Novikov teamed up with Dutch vocalist and composer Hiske Oosterwijk to present Stereobass. This ten-track album contrasts greatly in ambiance, orientation and context to the kinetic, modernist hardcore jazz heard on the label’s debut release. Following Stereobass came the June 7th release of The Change, an exciting quartet recording from saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev and guitarist Federico Dannemann. The album presents these two internationally renowned musicians in the company of two sought-after New York jazz musicians – Obed Calvaire on drums and Luques Curtis on double bass. Each of the label’s past, current and forthcoming releases are distributed digitally, and many are available as a CD and limited edition vinyl LP. 

A great deal of young Russian artists are discovering and nurturing their own individual voices in modern jazz by reflecting upon Russian culture of days gone by. Sasha Mashin continues, “of course, in Russia we boast a formidable legacy of classical arts like Russian ballet and Russian classical music, veteran’s of which including Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Glinka, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev etc.” The label co-founder enthuses about the desire to support collaboration between the current generation of Russian musicians and jazz artists from far afield.  “We as a label will support openness and creativity in our musicians, aiding them to create new, innovative, bold music, without fearing the potential of hostility amongst international audiences, in response to this niche art.” Alongside recording, the label curates a series of outstanding jazz events featuring both Russian and international musicians, the purpose of which relays back to the label’s ethos – to create unique artistic collaborations within surroundings that evoke full creative freedom. 

At the label, Mashin is in the company of CEO Eugene Petrushansky who also lends his talents as a photographer to the artwork gracing some of the label’s releases. In conjunction, some of Andrey Agiyan’s beautiful paintings will be featured across forthcoming releases. The label’s graphic design and branding is credited to Dmitry Komedea.

Release plans currently confirmed for 2020 include Disrespectful from JZ Replacement (Zhenya Strigalev and Jamie Murray) featuring Tim Lefebvre; Sasha Mashin’s Happy Synapse featuring Benito Gonzalez, Rosario Giuliani, and Josh Evans; a new trio recording from Benito Gonzalez with Christian McBride and Sasha Mashin feat. Jeff “Tain” Watts, Nicholas Payton, Essiet Essiet, and Josh Evans; and a new album from Azat Bayazitov (recorded by Aaron Nevezie) which will see the saxophonist in the company of Adam Rogers, Dave Kikoski, Samvel Sarkisyan and Boris Kozlov.

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