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Old Blues

E}|{E Правда Guitarist.Ru

ABOUT: Jazz.Ru took off in 1997 as a mere jazz Web site in Russian and, by 1999, turned into Russian Jazz Web central. With its 40.000 unique user sessions a month and more than fifteen years of intense online experience, www.jazz.ru is the definitive source of jazz information for millions of Russian-speaking audience worldwide. In 2007, Jazz.Ru started to publish a full-color, 72-pages-thick printed magazine, published seven times a year and titled simply Jazz.Ru (so far, 3.000 copies a month, sold in major Russian cities - Moscow, St.Petersburg, Ufa, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Yaroslavl, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, and many others.)
Contact: editor@jazz.ru (editor Cyril Moshkow); +7(495)945-8910 (check your international phone call rates first!);
Cyril Moshkow, P.O.Box 10, Moscow 125284 Russia

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NEW: European ring of jazz publications, Europe Jazz Media, present their monthly feature -
a collection of European jazz releases currently listened to in editorial rooms: EUROPE JAZZ MEDIA CHART

NEW: Welcome to the official YouTube channel of Jazz.Ru, Russia's jazz magazine and jazz web central!

russian jazz web magazine · russian jazz artists · other english resources on jazz.ru · cd of the month

Valetin Parnah, by Pablo PicassoThe answer is "YES". The first jazz concert in Russia took place in Moscow on October 1, 1922. The band was local, called no less than The First Jazz Band of the Republic, led by not a musician, but a dancer, one Valentin Parnakh (1891-1951), who also was a gifted poet, poetry translator, and literature historian, and spend seven years (from 1915 to 1922) in Western Europe. That band was later employed by the great theatre director, Vsevolod Meyerhold, in one of his plays where the sounds of live jazz should represent the "Western reality." The band included piano, saxophone, clarinet, trombone and a trap set. One of the musicians known to be a part of this band was pianist Yevgeny Gabrilovich (1899-1993), later a successful playwright and movie screenplay writer.
(On the picture: portrait of Valentin Parnakh, by Pablo Picasso, 1919)
The first American jazz bands to perform in Russia were drummer Benny Payton's Jazz Kings in 1926, with the great Sidney Bechet (then clarinet, not yet soprano sax) on board. The hot New Orleans-style band spent several months performing in theatres and ballrooms in Moscow, Kharkov, Odessa and Kiev; Bechet reportedly had to extend his Soviet visa for a while, because he needed a few weeks in a hospital to recuperate after too close acquaintance with Russian vodka.
That same year, London-based  Sam Wooding Orchestra toured Russia (Moscow and Leningrad) as part of European musical revue Chocolate Kiddies. The band also consisted of African-American musicians, but, according to historical sources, sounded less hot than the Jazz Kings.
Alexander TsfasmanThe first Russian jazz band to be recorded was pianist Alexander Tsfasman's Moscow-based AMA Jazz, in 1928 (the band could be heard in one of Russian Jazz Podcast series.)
The most interesting recordings of early Russian jazz were made in the late 1930, the most notably by Tsfasman, Alexander Varlamov, and the fresh émigré from Poland, which was captured by Nazi Germany, trumpet virtuoso Eddie Rozner.
(On the picture: Alexander Tsfasman, 1938)
During the World War Two, jazz music was regarded as the music of the allies (U.S. and Soviet Union were allies against Hitler) and thus widely spread. When the Cold War began, Soviet authorities' attitude towards jazz changed. After that, the first significant recordings of Russian jazz were made only in late 1950s...
more on the subject:
True story of new jazz in Moscow: The answer is blowing in the wind, string and percussion instruments, by Andrei Solovyov
"Golden Years of Soviet Jazz. A brief history of new improvised music in Russia", by Alex Kan.
My Escape to America, by Leonid Pereverzev (announcing the forthcoming 2011 book, "Leonid Pereverzev. An Offering to Duke Ellington, and Other Jazz Texts")
Grigory Shabrov: In Memoriam, by Oleg Stepurko (dedicated to the memory of one of the pioneers of the Soviet jazz rock fusion)

LP sleeveBenny Goodman Big Band performed in Moscow in 1962 at the Soviet Army Sport Palace. At the height of U.S.A.-U.S.S.R. spy scandal (American U2 spy plane was just shot off the Russian sky) the KGB was suspicious of "capitalist provocations," so only a handful of tickets went into Moscow's jazz fans' hands; several thousand tickets were distributed among "ideologically tested" blue collars through the Party committees at Moscow's industrial facilities. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was present at the concert, but soon got bored by the alien music that he hated, and left during the intermission.
The concert was recorded, and released by RCA in 1962 (never reissued on CD, though.)

Louis Armstrong never performed in the U.S.S.R, though producer George Avakian tried hard to arrange his Soviet Union tour. Ekaterina Furtseva, Soviet Union's culture minister, refused because she felt that "he was going to be too popular." In 1958, Louis Armstrong addressed to his Russian fans a few words in Russian through the Radio Liberty airwaves, and played his trumpet along with the recording of U.S.S.R's 1957 #1 hit, "Five Minutes" (from the Carnival Night movie), which was, coincidentally, the first Soviet recording that involved overdubbing technique (singer Lyudmila Gurchenko sang in an empty studio, listening in earphones to previously recorded Eddie Rosner Big Band.) The recording of this "double overdub" exists, and is released by Russian label SoLyd Records in 2006 (as a bonus track on "The Liberty of Jazz" CD, SLR 0363).

by Cyril Moshkow

October 4, 2009: Cyril Moshkow, the publisher and editor of Jazz.Ru, Russia's only Jazz magazine, appeared on WPFW in Washington, DC as a guest of Larry Appelbaum's Sunday radio show, Sound of Surprise, for a two-hour dialog about the state of jazz in Russia. Many Russian jazz recordings can be heard during the conversation.
part 1 (wma, 25.7 Mb, 1:13:47); part 2 (wma, 14.2 Mb, 0:40:47)

September 30, 2009: The Open World Leadership Center and the Library of Congress Music Division cosponsored the Russian-American Jazz Summit. Conversations on the American influence in Russian Jazz were led by two world-renowned jazz experts, Russian Cyril Moshkow and American Larry Appelbaum, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The first printed jazz magazine in post-Soviet Moscow, proudly titled Jazz.Ru Magazine, hits the shelves seven times a year since 2007

#2/3-2013 (55/56):
On the cover: David Goloshokin (cover photo by Evgeny Eliner)
the director of St.Petersburg Jazz Philharmonic Hall turns 70
The Happiest Jazzman in the World: David Goloshokin interviewed (by Anna Filipieva)
Boris Frumkin's Jazz Life
Russian pianist and current leader of the Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra, Russia's oldest big band, interviewed (by Cyril Moshkow)
Jazz Travel. North Sea Jazz 2014: A Herculean Task of Choice
Robert Bagdasarov and Elina Samoilenko review the gargantuan Rotterdam festival in words and photos
Musician's Tales. Alexei Shubin: The Stage From Piano Tuner's Point of View
Moscow-based piano tuner and accredited Rhodes piano technician shares several stories from his years of experience
The Capital of Jazz. Meanwhile in New York: spring
Jazz.Ru reinstalls the regular New York news column, now with Andrey Henkin as columnist!
History. My Blue Bird: 50 years since the opening of the legendary Moscow jazz club, active 1964 to 2010 (by Mikhail Kull)
Behind the Stage: Rafail Tuishev, producer of the Rostov Jazz festival in southern Russia, interviewed on the occasion of his 75th birthday
The Discreet Charm of the Vinyl. History of Jazz LP Cover art, Chapter Five: Prestige Records (by Oleg Skvortsov)
ArtBeat. Anton Gorbunov: New Stories For E-Bass and Ensemble
Moscow-based electric bass virtuoso  interviewed before his new dual CD/DVD live release
Vijay Iyer: The Real I
Part of Europe Jazz Media text exchange program, this article from German magazine Jazzthetik reveals the details of the famed NYC-based Indo-American pianist's debut on ECM
The Life and Fate of Drummer Boris Bagdasarov
Moscow-based pianist Yakov Okun interviews Russia's oldest working jazz drummer who just turned 87
History. "St. Louis Blues": A Centennial
Vladimir Feyertag about the history of the W.C.Handy's evergreen title
In Memoriam. Pianist Horace Silver, bassist Charlie Haden, pioneer Russian jazz vocalist Nonna Sukhanova
Russian Real Book: piece by pianist Eldar Djangirov

#1-2013 (54):
On the cover: Dave Holland, headliner of the Triumph of Jazz Festival in Moscow
Interviewed: Igor Butman - "We Have Talented Cadre To Conquer The World With".
Russia's leading bandleader interviewed after Moscow State Big Band's North American tour.
Jazz Travels. Tampere Jazz Happening: continuity as a sign of excellence
Jazz.Ru editor Cyril Moshkow reviews Finland's most artistically daring jazz event
The Capital of Jazz. Meanwhile in New York: winter
Jazz.Ru reinstalls the regular New York news column, now with Andrey Henkin as columnist!
The Legendary. Alexei Zoubov: Soviet Jazz legend from L.A.
A big biographical interview with renowned Russian saxophonist who visited his native Moscow for the first time since his emigration in mid-1980s.
The Fate. Nathan Leites: The American Adventures
The legendary, late staple of Leningrad jazz scene, Nathan Leites (1937-2013) tells the story of his unlikely mid-1990s U.S. anabasis in this chapter from his massive last interview, taken by Jazz.Ru Magazine's Anna Filipieva
The Discreet Charm of the Vinyl. History of Jazz LP Cover art, Chapter Five: Reid Miles (by Oleg Skvortsov)
Maxim Gorky, America, and Jazz: Vladimir Feyertag reads the late Russian Stormbringer's Collected Correspondence and analyzes Gorky's views on music, epitomized in his infamous 1928 Music of the Fat People essay.
Russian Music and Jazz: An Unwritten Romance?
St.Petersburg-based musicologist Alexander Galitzky muses on mutual influences between Jazz and Russian classical music.
2014 Grammy jazz winners: an overview
Soviet Jazz: A Testimony. 1960s Moscow Jazz festivals on vinyl and on photo: Mikhail Kull comments on his own photo chronicle of the Jazz 67 and Jazz 68 festivals in Russian capital.
14th Triumph of Jazz festival in Moscow: Rudresh Mahanthappa and Dave Holland interviewed, by Gregory Durnovo.
ArtBeat. Moscow-based Ornament Trio: Third Rebirth, First Album - violinist Felix Lahuti interviewed
In Memoriam: producer Victor Livshitz; flugelhornist Igor Shirokov; professional rebel Amiri Baraka; pianist/bari sax player Vsevolod Danilochkin
Russian Real book: a piece by bassist Ark Ovrutsky


The answer is "YES" and "NO".
Yes, because three such books do exist.
No, because they are out of print, and the newest is 14 years old.
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Feigin, Leo. Russian jazz : new identity. London ; New York : Quartet Books, 1985. ISBN: 0704325063
Minor, William. Unzipped souls: a jazz journey through the Soviet Union. Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 1995. ISBN: 1566393248
Starr, S. Frederick. Red and hot: the fate of jazz in the Soviet Union, 1917-1980. New York : Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN: 0195031636

NEW! Welcome to the official YouTube channel of Jazz.Ru, Russia's jazz magazine and jazz web central!


Andrey Kondakov (piano, percussion,) Vladimir Volkov (bass) and Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky (trumpet) perform their composition based on the Russian classical romance song, Alexander Dargomyzhsky's "I Still Love Him" (1851,) during the Moscow premiere performance of their "Dargomyzhsky, Dargomyzhsky" suite at DOM Culture Center, Moscow, Russia, on January 14, 2011
Published with artists' permission


Pianist Ivan Farmakovsky and his band (saxophonist Dmitry Mospan, bassist Anton Revniouk, and drummer Donald Edwards) perform Ivan's original "Soul Inside Out" at the Moscow House of Music on November 10, 2010
 with artist's permission


Herman Lukianov and his KADANS perform Lukianov's "Constant Value" during the June 26, 2010 Jazz.Ru: New Sound series concert at the Union of Composers jazz club, Moscow, Russia (Herman Lukianov - tenor horn, Alexey Kruglov - as, Anton Zaletayev - ts, Alexey Becker - p, Makar Novikov - b, Alex Zinger - dr)
from the series' producer, with artist's permission

October 4, 2009: Jazz.Ru editor Cyril Moshkow appears on Washington, DC WPFW as a guest of Larry Appelbaum's in his Sunday radio show, Sound of Surprise, for a two-hour dialog about the state of jazz in Russia!

Jazz.Ru editor Cyril Moshkow tells the story of unique Muscovite jazz accordion player Vladimir Danilin, who celebrates his 60th birthday on December 2, 2006. Danilin started his career playing at the dances in his native town of Lyubertsy, near Moscow, in late 1950s, and by the early 1960s he was already playing jazz clubs in Moscow. Jazz in its pure mainstream form was (and still is) all what he was interested in. This was also true when Vladimir Danilin switched to the piano, and spent many years in the country's most popular jazz big band of the late 1970s - early 80s, Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra. And this stayed true, when Danilin returned to his primary instrument, the accordion, in early 1990s and continues on this instrument ever since...>>>>


Ivan, now in his 30s, "paid his dues" when playing in Igor Butman Quartet and Big Band in late 1990s; in 2008, after a few years in a country's most popular rock band (the one which better must not be named,) he resumed his high-profile jazz career by recording an album in New York City with Igr Butman on sax, Gene Jackson on drums, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Ryan Kisor on trumpet. The very same band, except that now it's the great Eddie Henderson on the trumpet, presented the freshly released "Next To The Shadow" album at the Moscow House of Music on April 21, 2009; "The Way Home" (on Butman Music), recorded by Farmakovsky's working band, followed in October, 2010.

Igor has a rare gift: he is not only a brilliant performer, he is also an able promoter of his own work and of the genre in general. He easily makes friends with musicians, politicians, businessmen, and media people, and thus pushes jazz as a genre further than it has ever been in Russia. He is the first Russian jazz musician to release albums on Universal label, and a successful jazz event producer: his Triumph of Jazz festival, held each February since the year 2000, is a must-see on Moscow jazz scene. Igor Butman also runs jazz clubs: Moscow's premier jazz club, called Le Club, the only jazz club in Russia ever mentioned in Down Beat's Top 100 jazz clubs in the world, worked under his artistic direction from 1999 to 2007; currently, the new Igor Butman Club presents world-class live jazz played by both Russian masters and visited Americans.

The horn virtuoso, who started his career in the Bolshoi Theatre orchestra and the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony, switched to jazz and improvised music in the 1980s, and since then recorded for ECM, Jaro, and Quinton, worked with Three O, the Vienna Arto Orchestra, the Moscow Art Trio, the Pago Libre band, and in many settings under his own name. Master of French horn, alphorn, and flugelhorn, this virtuoso innovator works now in Germany, though his Russian fans still see him many times a year...>>>>


Since early 2010, the Russian jazz magazine on the Web changed its paradigm. In 1998-2009, we used to publish the weekly or bi-weekly "issues," or "editions," formed much like traditional paper magazines, only without paper. Wait a minute, we said to ourselves in late 2009, it's been three years since we already did have a paper magazine as well! So, instead of running two magazines (one on the paper 7 times a year, another on the Web some 30 times a year,) we switched to a new blog-like, read-while-we-write layout - Russian Jazz Magazine 2.0.
It's still in Russian, understandably, as it's targeted on Russian jazz community, and Russians don't care much about reading in foreign languages. They like their jazz discussed in their mother tongue, in very many well-arranged words, just like Tolstoyevsky did (or was it Dostoy?) That's what the Russian Jazz Magazine 2.0. is all about. You can even read it - using, for example, the Google Translate tool. Read it, comment it, and even subscribe to it!
Still, we keep the English digests of many our pre-2010 "issues" in our archives.

ОБЛОЖКА CD - КУПИТЬBoris Kurganov - "Come Rain or Come Shine"
BK, 2010
BUY ONLINEMuscovite audiences in the 1990s knew alto sax player Boris Kurganov really well, thanks to his long-time collaboration with Nick Levinovsky's Allegro (one of the most popular jazz groups of the 80s in the U.S.S.R.) and then to his appearances with Alex Rostotsky, Ivanov Brothers Project, Andrei Kondakov and other prominent Russian jazzmen. In 2000, Boris suddenly moved to New York City, apparently unable to resist to the magic gravitation of the world's busiest jazz market in the
Big Apple. This record, made in NYC, is some kind of a intermediate bottom line for Kurganov's ten-year stay in NYC, a collaboration with very serious masters: Russian Americans -- drummer Oleg Butman, pianist Arkady Figlin, bassists Dmitry Kolesnik and Boris Kozlov -- and one Brazilian American, percussionist Cafe Da Silva, who epitomizes Boris' involvement in NYC Brazil Jazz scene. No wonder that the last pre-emigration Kurganov's recording was Andrei Kondakov's "Old and New Brazilian Tales" (2000,) recorded with the top NYC Brazil Jazz players, including Cafe.
The album consists of six standards and four Kurganov's originals. We hear a brilliant work of a master instrumentalist, who haven't changed mush as compared with his Moscow years, except that he obviously gained that hard-to-define New York glitz, the ability to interact with his ensemble on the near-telepathic level -- the very effect that musicians are looking for while heading to in NYC. Here's also Kurganov's trademark ability for the
piercingly-clear theme statement, very emotionally, but not falling over the extravaganza edge -- even is the theme itself is set forth in a new, unusual way, like Boris does to Irving Berlin's Russian Lullaby. The saxophonist's improvising skills never conflict with this ability, well-integrated with his experienced sidemen's work, which is especially true in the case of Arkady Figlin, pianist who made his debut on Russia's jazz scene together with Boris Kurganov some two and a half decades ago. (Cyril Moshkow, Jazz.Ru)


True story of new jazz in Moscow: The answer is blowing in the wind, string and percussion instruments, by Andrei Solovyov

..With a borrowed jacket and tie on, the saxophonist came to the dean's office and promised to play at the reporting concert a paraphrase on the Russian folk song "A Birch-Tree in the Field.” With a heavy heart, the administrators gave him the green light. Lukin was playing for twenty minutes. Alone. Solo. He roared double tides, first on his knees, then lying on his back and, finally, standing on his head. "I just impersonated a birch-tree,” he explained, twisting his moustache and grinning. The members of the art direction had a hard time at the district party organization, and Lukin was expelled. This is how the Russian free jazz was born...

NEW Grigory Shabrov: In Memoriam, by Oleg Stepurko

It was Shabrov's song that provoked a scandalous riot during an audition at MOMA (organization that unionized and ‘ideologically controlled’ all club and restaurant music performers — Moscow Association of Music Ensembles). Kleynot decided to play "The Song of Joy," by Grigory Shabrov... [...] ...when the sound of the last note vanished, something extraordinary happened — the audience arose in a standing ovation, and the cheering, whistling, applauding lasted unbelievably long — 40 minutes!
There were three other bands scheduled for audition after Kleynot's band, and the committee asked the audience to calm down so that they could move on, but there was no question of that! The crowd (which largely consisted of Muscovite musicians) was chanting violently — "Bravo!" The committee members lost their temper calling them to order. Finally they decided to postpone the audition till the next day and left, but it stopped no one — everyone was screaming with frenzy. [...] It's reasonable to suggest that the musicians not only welcomed the music but strove to show rejection of totalitarian system this way — the system that oppressed jazz as a mean of free self-expression...

English pages of Russian jazz musicians and journalists:

  • Academic Band - trad jazz band from the city of Ulyanovsk
  • Alexey Batashev - Russia's most famous jazz critic
  • Igor Boiko - jazz fusion guitar player, composer and teacher based in Moscow
  • Igor Butman - simply Russia's best saxophone player, called "Moscow-New York jazz bridge"
  • Mike Ellis-Mordvinoff - New York-based sax player of Russian origin
  • Extra Trio Plus - St.Petersburg's best young jazz ensemble
  • Gregory Fine - a brilliant straight-ahead jazz pianist from the Mid-Russian city of Samara
  • Alexander Fisher - Vienna-based Russian trumpet player, past member of Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra and "Allegro" ensemble, teaching at the Vienna Konservatorium now
  • NEW Arcady "FreeMan" Kirichenko - Moscow and New York based new improvised music vocalist and tuba player
  • George Garanian - veteran alto saxist and bandleader who recently conducted for Oregon's "Oregon In Moscow"
  • Anatole Gerasimov - formerly Duke Ellington's sax player, now back to his native Moscow
  • Yuri Goloubev - outstanding classical and jazz string bass player
  • NEW Michael Green - Moscow-based jazz producer, art director of Hermitage Garden Jazz Festival
  • Enver Izmailov - an unique tap guitarist who plays in crossover style between jazz and his Asian heritage
  • Oleg Kireyev - saxophone virtuoso who gained international reputation and is regarded by critics as one of Russia's best sax men
  • Dmitri Kolesnik - New York-based acoustic bass player
  • Andrei Kondakov - one of Russia's best piano players
  • Alexey Kozlov - Russia's most popular veteran jazz musician, godfather of Russian jazz rock
  • Boris Kurganov - alto sax player, now based in New York City
  • Lev Kushnir - one of Russia's outstanding jazz piano players
  • NEW Evgeny Lebedev - Muscovite pianist who shares his time between playing on Moscow jazz scene and getting his Berklee College of Music education
  • Nikolay Levinovsky - New York-based pianist and bandleader, formerly one of ex-USSR's most famous jazzmen
  • Eugene Maslov - New York-based pianist, currently signed with Blue Canoe Records
  • Alexander Oseichuk - Moscow-based alto sax player and godfather of Russian jazz education
  • Svetlana Panova - Muscovite female jazz singer
  • Valery Ponomarev - NYC-based trumpet player, ex-Art Blakey Jazz Messengers
  • Andrey Razin and the Second Approach project - an innovative group led by classically trained pianist which explore mixtures of jazz, ethno, classical etc.
  • NEW The Rooms - Moscow-based jazz group led by piano player and singer Ekaterina Chernousova
  • Andrei Ryabov - Russian guitar player based in NYC, in the 80s - one of USSR's leading guitar improvisers
  • Ruslan Sirota - Boston-based pianist and composer from Israel
  • Arkady Shilkloper - simply, world best improvising French horn player, a native of Moscow, now based in Wupperthal, Germany
  • Igor Tiourlik - St.Petersburg-based pianist and teacher
  • Dmitry Ukhov - music writer, chairman of Moscow Jazz Journalists Association
  • Grigori Voskoboinik - St.Petersburg double bass player specializing in both classical music and jazz
  • Ed Zizak - Moscow-based drummer, member of Igor Butman Quartet and Big Band


Lev Kushnir's Virtual Jazz Agency (invite Moscow's best musicians to perform at your event!)

Veteran Jazz Writer Leonid Pereverzev (1930-2006): Obituary in English
My Escape to America, by Leonid Pereverzev (announcing the forthcoming 2011 book, "Leonid Pereverzev. An Offering to Duke Ellington, and Other Jazz Texts")

A Brief Guide to Jazz Festivals in Russia
"Golden Years of Soviet Jazz. A brief history of new improvised music in Russia". By Alex Kan.

If you have any questions on Russian jazz, Russian jazz artists, festivals, clubs, organizations, labels etc., don't hesitate to ask this portal's editor, Muscovite jazz journalist Cyril Moshkow.

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Dear label/musician,
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Jazz In Russia
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