Saxophonist, arranger, big band leader, music lecturer Kārlis Vanags was born 1984 in Riga. The first musical impressions gained in the family. Mother Solvita Vanaga is an organist, father – Andrejs Vanags is conductor. K.Vanags plays saxophones, flute, clarinet, EWI and piano. In 2007 created his own big band “City Jazz BigBand”, in 2012 big band released their debut album "Introducing The Band", which received Latvian Music Record Awards nomination for "Best Jazz Album". Since 2012 Kārlis Vanags is the musical director of Latvian Radio Big Band. Kārlis actively performs with his Kārlis Vanags Trio, and also regularly plays with the Quintet of Raimonds Macats "RM5", periodically hits the stage with “Zodiac” – legendary electronic music band, and takes part in different festivals and concerts, jam sessions and masterclasses.
Studied at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, supplemented his knowledge and practice in Sibelius Academy of Music in Finland.
Compositions K.Vanags is an author of more than 200 compositions and arrangements, including both music for small ensembles (trio, quintet) and compositions for big band, choir and symphonic orchestra. In cooperation with legendary Latvian pianist and composer Raimonds Pauls, K.Vanags has written big band arrangements for theater music, vocal arrangements, instrumental arrangements, arrangements with strings. K.Vanags latest original compositions for big band has been recorded and released on Latvian Radio Big Band’s CD “Latvian Jazz Suite”.
Kārlis Vanags is a lecturer in arranging, composition and improvisation at Jazz Department in Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, he runs his own private training program “Big Band School" as well as he regularly manages and leads a number of rhythmic music training courses and masterclasses in various cities in Latvia.
As musical director of Latvian Radio Big Band has worked in cooperation with: Kurt Elling (USA), Roberta Gambarini (IT), Randy Brecker (USA), Jojo Mayer (CH), New York Voices (USA), Marius Neset (NO), Mats Holmquist (SWE), Diane Schuur (USA), China Moses (FRA), Allan Harris (USA), Nils Landgren (SWE), Jiggs Whigham (USA).
Karlis Vanags City Jazz Big Band – Introducing The Band, James Morrison, Latvian Radio Big Band - Mare Balticum, Latvian Radio Big Band - Latvian Jazz Suite, Raimonds Pauls, Latvian Radio Big Band, Sinfonietta Riga - Opera, Mats Holmquist, Latvian Radio Big band - Big Band Minimalism.