12. Juli 2008 • 19.30,• Herzogburg St. Veit/Glan (Austria)
Harry Tavitians „Orient Express”
Harry Tavitian – piano, flute, vocals, percussion, Jim El Lako – violin
Zsolt Maier – alto saxophone, Edi Neumann – tenor saxophone
Hanno Höfer – guitar, David Yengibaryan – accordion
Oktavian Barila Andreescu – bass, Mario Florescu – drums, percussion
Harry Tavitian is …”the most interesting contemporary Romanian jazzman”. (International Herald Tribune – Oct 19, 1990). Born in Constanta, Romania in 1952, from Armenian parents, Tavitian started classical piano at the age of 6. He graduated The Academy of Music in Bucharest. In 1970 he saw bluesman Memphis Slim live in Brasov, Romania. This was a major influence in his future career. After this event, he started singing and playing the blues and soon he made his first steps in jazz. In 1976 he gave up classical music completely for jazz.
The music of Harry Tavitian is characterized by an openness towards multiple influences and a great capacity of synthesis as well. Tavitian himself says: …”We are here in Levant and we are part of the world. We are open to world culture and open to spontaneity”… (from the interview “HARRY TAVITIAN – A CRY FROM THE BALKANS’, by Bruce Granath / JAZZ FORUM 102, nr. 5 – 1986).
The Romanian pianist has a style of his own, well defined in East European new jazz, through his incessant artistic experiences. His sound is a melting pot of Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Cecil Taylor, Dollar Brand, folklore of the Balkans, contemporary chamber music, blues, old music. Also, his Armenian roots are obvious. His music has a strong ethnic character. The Romanian spiritual area, where he has developed is a synthesis between the cultural traditions of Orient and Occident. In this area archaic convictions are still preserved and Tavitian’s music is full of myth.
After 1999 Tavitian created Orient-Express, a nine artists group of different orientations launching on the Romanian market the ethno-jazz based, first, on the development of various folklore sources. Mainly South-East European (Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc.) but not only (Transylvanian-Central European and Armenian sources weren’t neglected by this new Brailoiu-Bartok willing to emphasise on the archaic harmonic richness). Much liveliness and colour, exoticism, the show is part of the performance’s direction (including the scenic movement, including picturesque costume design) and pleases to a public willing to receive this genre… … It is useless to say we liked the performance of Tavitian, we enjoyed seeing and admiring him once-more-and-who-knows-the-number-of-times. Orient Express is a milestone of the maturity of the Constanta-European jazzman, and the feverish research will bring him to the conquest of new musical teritories. Here is Harry Tavitian, the “enfant terible” of yesterday, the master of Romanian jazz of today.