Meet Hrayr Attarian

Meet Hrayr Attarian
AAJ Staff By

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I currently live in: Oak Park, IL

I joined All About Jazz in: 2006

What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz? I have grown up on jazz and it has been one of my passions. At one point in time I had considered being a full time writer. When I decided to merge my two avocations I was looking for an appropriate outlet. My wife found All About Jazz one evening and brought it to my attention. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the writing and the breadth and depth of the content.

How do you contribute to All About Jazz? I write CD and live concert reviews as well as try to maintain a column on the science and the art of jazz on the overlap between jazz and neuroscience.

What is your musical background? I studied piano for a year as a child but do not currently play. I also taught myself to play the harmonica as an adult but it was another abandoned endeavor. I am a long-time listener. As far as back as I remember I have been playing jazz recordings, from cassettes, to LPs to CDs and finally downloads.

What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today? Charles MingusTijuana Moods.

What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most? Primarily avant-garde and free jazz but I also am partial to the hard bop records of Blue Note's golden era.

Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy? Classical, primarily 20th century works. Blues, primarily acoustic delta style and some progressive rock like King Crimson and early Genesis.

What are you listening to right now? Kim Kashkashian, Edward Bruner and Robert Levin—Hommage à R. Sch: Gyorgy Kurtag, Cindy Blackman—Someday.

Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste? Aquarius (Delmark) by Nicole Mitchell Stream of Consciousness (Alfa) by Carla Marciano Kurtag/Ligeti: Music for Viola (ECM) by Kim Kashkashian Forever (Libra) by Gato Libre Small Places (ECM) by Michael Formanek

What inspired you to write about jazz? As I began discovering new jazz artists or previously under-recognized ones I felt I needed to share my findings with a select group of my friends. With their and my wife's encouragement and support I decided to expand my audience hence I have been writing about jazz since 2006.

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies? Between work and writing about jazz I do not have much free time but the little that I have I like spending it with my parrots, reading, watching art house films and dabbling in photography.

What role does jazz music play in your life? There is not a day goes by that I do not listen to jazz. I feel like I am missing something if I don't. Several albums are associated with memories of people and events from my life.

How does writing about jazz contribute to the music itself? I think it introduces the work of musicians to their current and potential audiences and helps give greater recognition to artists, whose talents may otherwise be known to those in their immediate geographic proximity.

What do you like most about All About Jazz? The ease of submitting articles. The helpfulness of the editorial staff. The wide variety of high quality content. The exposure the published reviews get.

What positives have come from your association with All About Jazz? It has introduced me to new friends both musicians and other writers. It has also given me seemingly unlimited access to great music and has given me the chance to speak this fall on the role of improvised music's during brain's recovery from a stroke. I am still holding out, however, for the chance to write liner notes.

Hrayr Attarian at All About Jazz.


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