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Dmitri Kolesnik, bassist and composer,
is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. Growing up during the times of the Iron Curtain he was steered towards jazz music by his father, mathematician, jazz fan and a piano player. He taught himself to play upright bass by listening to Willis Conovers Voice of America Jazz Hour and transcribing from smuggled records.
Kolesnik abandoned his engineering career to become a professional musician. He graduated from Mussorgsky College of Music and began touring and recording with top Russian groups, jamming with visiting American and European musicians including Dave Brubeck, Billy Taylor, Jon Faddis and Pat Metheny. At the age of 24 he was voted Discovery of the Year by the Russian Jazz Federation and for the next several years was listed among the top bassists of the country. He was featured on eight LPs on the state-owned Melodia label. His name is recognized in "Jazz. XX Century. First Russian Encyclopedia."
Dmitris love of American Jazz made it one of his life long dreams to come to New York to learn first hand from great musicians there. He was trying to get this opportunity for 15 years but was refused by the Soviet government. He finally came to New York in 1991. Legendary bassist Ron Carter accepted him as a student and Kolesnik studied with him for 4 years while earning his Master's degree in Music from City College of New York. Asked by Carter, he wrote a book: "Ron Carter Collection. Note-for-Note Solo Transcriptions to 19 Songs," which was published by Hal Leonard Corporation in 1996. Later Carter wrote in the liner notes for Dmitris first album: "His sound is warm and big, and his choice of notes is truly inspirational. His playing continues to grow and make his presence on New York jazz scene necessary. His compositions also merit close attention."
Over the years in New York Kolesnik worked and recorded with many wonderful musicians: Mark Murphy, Eric Alexander, Andrei Kondakov, Jim Rotondi, Lenny White, Gene Jackson, Graig Handy, Joe Farnsworth, Harold Mabern, Paul Bollenback, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Peterson, Billy Drummond, Alex Sipiagin, Phillip Harper, Joe Cohn, Grant Stewart, Bob Mover, Jed Levy, Valeri Ponomarev, Richie Cole, Woody Allen, Chris Gillespie, Anthony Wonsey, Keith Loftis, Bill Ware, Johnny Colon, Joe Magnarelly, Harry Whitaker, Jimmy Madison, John Hart, Café, Bobby Purceli, Willard Dyson, Manny Duran, Papo Pepin, Duke Ellington Big Band and many others. He performed at such well-known places as Iridium, Birdland, Smoke, Jazz at Lincoln Center Dizzys Club Coca Cola, Smalls, Café Carlyle, Symphony Space, Flushing Town Hall, Knitting Factory, JVC, Montreal, Rochester International Jazz Festivals.
Composing was always a part of his musical personality. Kolesnik released 3 CDs as a leader and composer: "Blues for Dad" (Boheme Music), "Five Corners" (Challenge) (both are featuring Lenny White on drums, Eric Alexander on tenor, Alex Sipiagin/Jim Rotondi on trumpet and Andrei Kondakov on piano) and Dmitri Kolesnik & HMK Trio: Russian Caravan (Bomba-Piter) with John Hart on guitar and Jimmy Madison on drums. Dmitri also composes for a band, which he co-leads with pianist Andrei Kondakov. The band released 2 albums: The Corners Five: Live at the Hermitage Theater (sponsored by Finnair) and Meeting Point: "Quintessence" (Challenge) produced by Todd Barkan. His latest recording Spiritrio: Episode I (Masha Records), is his collaboration with pianist Anthony Wonsey