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May 26, 2011 7:00 PM

Rhythm on My Heels

Tribute to Josef Skvorecky - Film screening and Jazz concert by Emil Viklicky & other musicians. Admission Free.

The film is 86 min. long and the concert (8 songs) will take approx. 30 min.
Concert by Emil Viklicky and Greg Ritchie, Dan Loomis, Petr Cancura

Film: Rhythm on My Heels

Josef Škvorecky (born 1926) is a Czech writer and novelist living in Canada since 1968. For decades Josef Skvorecky taught at the University of Toronto as a professor of literature.

His novels and stories were translated to dozens of languages and he is the recipient of numerous literary and civil awards including the prestige Governor General’s Award and Order of Canada.

The literary work of Josef Skvorecky has been inspiring TV and movie productions for years. Rhythm on My Heels is a featured movie base on his book “The Tenor Saxophonist’s Story” shot in Prague last year.

The story takes place in Czechoslovakia in fifties and it is “a musical tragedy” about love. Main character Danny is the alter ego of Josef Skvorecky himself. Danny is passionate about beautiful girls and jazz, but at the wrong time in a country where communist regime considers this music be way too imperialistic for young people. Danny and his friends form a jazz band and try to live a normal life in a strange world, where one’s destiny is shaped by politics, secret police and undercover agents who might as well be those beautiful girls.

This movie received great reviews and was screened at many international film festivals. Its screening in Toronto followed by a musical performance of featured jazz songs, performed live by the actors, is planed for the end of May and we would like to dedicate it to Josef Skvorecky. Internationally acclaimed jazzman Emil Viklicky, who composed this movie’s scenic music and arranged all original songs, will play the piano.

This movie not only introduces the work of your famous fellow citizen, but also presents the viewers with the Eastern-Europeam reality of 1950s. Thanks to the beautiful jazz songs this film is interesting for younger generations and most importantly for jazz lovers.


Josef Škvorecký Biography
Born 1924 in Náchod, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, he graduated in 1943 from the Reálné gymnasium in his native town. As part of Josef Goebbel's Totaleinsatz scheme, he spent the next two years as a slave labourer in a German aircraft factory.
After World War Two he studied at Charles University in Prague, and received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1952. In 1952 - 1954 he served in the Czechoslovak army, then held editorial jobs in the Odeon Publishing House. His first novel, The Cowards, written in 1948-49 was not published until 1958, immediately condemned by the Communist party, banned and seized by the police. According to many critics, this novel marks the beginning of the end of socialist realism in Czech literature. Škvorecký then published several other books and wrote scripts for feature films.
After the Soviet ambush in 1968 Škvorecký and his wife left for Canada where he continued writing novels, and taught in the Department of English, University of Toronto until his retirement in 1990.
In 1971 Škvorecký and his wife, writer and actress Zdena Salivarová, founded the Sixty-Eight Publishers, Corp. which for over twenty years kept publishing banned Czech and Slovak books. For this, the president of post-Communist Czechoslovakia Václav Havel awarded them the Order of the White Lion. In 1992 Škvorecvký was appointed to the Order of Canada.
Among his numerous literary awards, the most important are the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1980), the Canadian Governor General's Aaward for Best Fiction (1984), the Czech Republic State Prize for Literature (1999) and the Prize of the Comenius Pangea Foundation “For Improvement of Human Affairs” (2001) which he received with the Polish film director Andrzej Wajda.
Most of his books are awailable in English: the novels The Cowards, Miss Silver's Past, The Republic of Whores, The Miracle Game, The Swell Season, The Engineer of Human Souls, The Bride of Texas, Dvorak in Love, The Tenor Saxophonist's Story, Two Murders in My Double Life, An Inexpliocable Story or The Narrative of Questus Firmus Siculus, his selected short stories When Eve Was Naked and the two short novels The Bass Saxophone and Emöke. He also wrote four books of detective fiction featuring Lieutenant Boruvka of the Prague Homicide Bureau :The Mournful Demeanor of Ltn. Boruvka, Sins for Father Knox, The End of Ltn. Boruvka and The Return of Ltn. Boruvka.
His poetry, both published and unpublished, has been brought out in 1999 as ...there's no remedy for this pain .
With his friend, the poet Jan Zábrana, Škvorecký published three more detective novels, Murder for Luck, Murder by Proxy and Guaranteed Murder and a novel for children Tanya and the Two Gunmen (not available in English).
With his wife, the novelist Zdena Salivarova he published (in Czech onlz, so far) three crime novels, Brief Encoounter, with Murder; Encounter After Many Years, with Murder and Encounter at the End of an Era, with Murder.
Škvorecký also published several volumes of short stories; a selection of them was published in English as When Eve Was Naked.
His non-fiction works include Talkin' Moscow Blues, a book of essays on jazz, literature and politics, an autobiography Headed for the Blues, two books on the Czech cinema, All the Bright Young Men and Women and Jirí Menzel and the History of the "Closely Watched Trains"
Škvorecký extensively wrote for films and television. The feature film The Tank Battalion, adapted from his novel The Republic of Whores, was the first Czech film made not by the Barrandov State Studios but by a private company, The Bonton Films; it was the biggest box-office success since the fall of communism. Other features, written for Prague TV, include Eine kleine Jazzmusik, adapted from his story of the same name,The Emöke Legend from a novella of the same name, and a two-hour TV drama Poe and the Murder of a Beautiful Girl, based on the murder of Mary Rogers of New York which Poe had used for his story "The Mystery of Marie Roget". Three very successful TV serials were made from his stories: Sins for Father Knox, The Swell Season and Murders for Luck.
Josef Škvorecký and his wife Zdena Salivarová live in Toronto, Canada.

Emil Viklicky was born November 23, 1948, in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and started to play piano at a very early age. His grandfather Victor Wiklitzky had brought a Hoffbauer concert grand piano from Vienna as a wedding gift for his musically gifted bride. Emil graduated from Palacky University with a degree in mathematics in 1971. While a student, he devoted much time to playing jazz piano. In 1974, he was awarded the prize for best soloist at the Czechoslovak Amateur Jazz Festival, and that same year he joined Karel Velebny's SHQ ensemble. Emil was a prizewinner at the jazz improvisation competition in Lyon in 1976, and his composition “Green Satin” (Zeleny saten) earned him first prize in the music conservatory competition in Monaco. Nine years later, his “Cacharel” won second prize in the same competition.

In 1977 Emil was awarded a four-year scholarship to study composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then continued his composition studies with Jarmo Sermila, George Crumb, and Vaclav Kucera. Since his return to Prague he has been directing his own ensembles (primarily quartets and quintets), composing and arranging music and—since the death of Karel Velebny—working as director of the Summer Jazz Workshops in Frydlant. He has also lectured at a similar workshop event in Glamorgan, Wales.

Between 1991 and 1995 Viklicky was President of the Czech Jazz Society, and since 1994 he has worked with the Ad Lib Moravia ensemble, whose performances combine elements of Moravian folk music, modern jazz, and contemporary music. In 1996 the ALM ensemble undertook a highly successful concert tour of Mexico and the United States.

As a pianist, Emil often performs in international ensembles alongside musicians from the U.S. and European countries. During 1983-89, he worked with the Lou Blackburn International Quartet, the Benny Bailey Quintet, and American multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson. He has made frequent appearances in Finland (with the Finnczech Quartet and in particular with Jarmo Sermila) and Norway (with the Czech-Norwegian Big Band and Harald Gundhus), and has performed in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Israel, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands (at the North Sea Festival), and elsewhere. Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner wrote of Emil that “It was a delightful surprise to see such first-class, top-of-the-line jazz in Prague.”

As a composer and pianist, Emil has become noted for his unique synthesis of the melodicism and tonalities of Moravian folk song with modern jazz. As English critic Euan Dixon wrote in 2005, “Emil Viklicky is one of those European jazz pianists who successfully incorporated elements of his indigenous folk culture into jazz.”

He also composes straight-ahead modern jazz as well as chamber and orchestral works that utilize certain elements of the New Music, and at times his music requires a combination of classical and jazz performers.

In addition, Emil composes incidental and film music and has produced scores for several full-length feature films and television series. Throughout the 1990s he devoted an increasing amount of time to the composition of contemporary classical music for a variety of instrumental combinations ranging from small chamber ensembles and electronic instruments to symphony orchestras and choruses. Viklicky’s work has gained him a number of prestigious awards, including the 1991 Film and Television Association prize for music for animated films, second prize at the 1994 Marimolin contemporary music competition in Boston (for “Tristana”), a 1996 Prague award for electroacoustic music (for “Paradise Park”), a 1996 Czech Music Fund prize for use of folk music in art music, and first prize in a 2000 international OPERA composition competition in Prague (for the opera Phaedra).

Review quotes:

“One of the best contemporary pianists, Emil Viklicky’s soloing and comping, his touch, voicings and intervals have a good deal in common with fleet, tasteful pianists like Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles and Bill Charlap.”
Doug Ramsey, Jazz Time (Dec. 2004)

 “Combine elements of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson with a deep infusion of Moravian soul, and you have Emil Viklicky, the patriarch of Czech jazz piano.”
Jack Massarik, Evening Standard, London (June 5, 2006)


“Emil Viklicky Trio has the same collective energy as Esbjorn Svenson Trio, though without electronics and rock input.”
John Fordham, Guardian, London (Sept. 13, 2006)

“Viklicky himself is a wonderfully lyrical yet robust pianist, his playing packed with dynamic and textural subtleties.”
Chris Parker, London (Dec. 22, 1997)

 “The program did have its share of happy marriages. Emil Viklicky cloaked the writings of Vaclav Havel in two distinctly different garments: a slinky, flirtatious raiment to accompany an early work and a gray, bluesy fleece that provided a huddling place for a prison letter afforded a witty reading by Mario Van Peebles.”
David Sprague, Variety (Oct. 29, 2004)

 “Emil Viklicky’s introspective musings might remind you of Keith Jarrett or Brad Mehldau… The CD Morava is promising arrival at new creative plateau.”
Calvin Wilson, Schwann Inside Jazz &Classical (April 2001)

 “Emil Viklicky plays Bill Evans inspired piano... ‘Myjava,’ “Slunecko sa nizi’ and ‘Touha’ are masterful examples of world-class jazz artistry.”
Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times (March 25, 2001)


Other musicians:
Petr Cancura - saxophones
Greg Ritchie - drums
Dan Loomis - bass

 Greg Ritchie:
Since moving to New York City in 2003 Greg Ritchie has been touted as one of the city’s premiere young drummers. As a sideman in high demand, Greg has been been involved in countless musical settings in a wide variety of music. He has performed with many of today’s finest jazz musicians including Dave Liebman, Seamus Blake, Vic Juris and Donny McCaslin in addition to being an integral member of rock, pop and folk groups such as Clare and the Reasons & Zach Williams.
He currently resides in Brooklyn where he is busy touring, performing, rehearsing and composing for his own projects as well as ‘The Story’ (www.thestorymusic.com) which he co-leads.

Dan Loomis:
A new presence on the New York jazz scene, Dan Loomis has already become one the most in-demand bassists of his generation.  Called “a forceful and creative bass player” (Cadence) “double-teaming you with style and substance” (All About Jazz), Dan has created a stir with both his powerful bass playing and his vision as a composer/bandleader.  Dan has toured extensively through the US, Canada and Europe with his groups The Dan Loomis Quartet (DLQ), The Wee Trio, Spoke, and as a sideman, winning new audiences and bringing enthusiastic praise from critics. 

Petr Cancura:
Multi-instrumentalist Petr Cancura is sought-after for his original voice and unique blend of musical influences, whether on saxophones or mandolin. Appearing on over 30 released albums, he has recorded and performed with Grammy-nominated Danilo Perez, Grammy-nominated Julian Lage, Bob Moses, Joe Morris, Kathleen Edwards, Kenny Wollesen, Joe Maneri, Cecil McBee and the Juno award-winning Mighty Popo among others.

Born in Czech Republic, raised in Canada and currently based in New York, Petr’s versatility and experience shines through everything he does. Petr is also the Programing director of the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, one of the leading North American Jazz Festivals. The Petr Cancura Trio has been featured on CBC Radio’s Signal, and continues to tour internationally with acclaim. In 2004, Cancura received an award to study at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, where completed the Masters program.

Today Cancura continues to record and perform with artists from all over the world, with musical project spanning from jazz to world and folk music. Petr’s current project called Down Home is jazz inspired by original black & white photographs and the music of the deep south (Mississippi and Kentucky). Other current projects are The Richie Barshay Group, his own groups PeopleMusic, a quartet with Polish marvel Jacek Kochan, guitar legend Joe Morris, Brazilian Country band NationBeat and the Grammy-nominated Danilo Perez Big Band. 


Film will be introduced by a film director Andrea Sedlackova, and during a concert you will also see and hear Vojtech Dyk, Jan Meduna, Berenika Kohoutova, Marika Soposka a Margareta Hruza, who also played in this tv-film.




321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


May 26, 2011 7:00 PM


Czech Center

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