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Meet Maxim Micheliov

AAJ Staff By

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What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most? Today my attention is focused on free jazz and improvisation as well as some modern jazz. I really adore piano solos by Howard Riley, Ran Blake, Burton Greene and anything with the name of Barry Guy on it. Mats Gustafsson and The Thing. Bill Dixon, David S. Ware and his quartet, Trio X. I love the sound of Joe McPhee. FAB Trio is another favorite of mine.

I don't perceive music through a prism of "style" and do not believe in a strong system of definitions to categorize music. That's why it is easier for me to just list names or even particular recordings. For example there is one very special live performance by the Stan Getz quartet Live in Belgrade, 1962 that gives me an unearthly experience. I tried listening to a lot of other recordings by Getz and never had that strong feeling. Andrew Hill is on the contrary—I just love everything by him. Jackie McLean, Walt Dickerson, Sun Ra, Grachan Moncur III, Horace Tapscott, Henry Threadgill, Archie Shepp, Kahil El'Zabar, David Murray. This is to give you a few names.

Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy? I am tempted to say something like "I am open to everything," but it won't be entirely true. I like pop music and easy listening, mostly songs from 80's, when I was at school. 99% of modern pop makes me sick and I stopped listening to it years ago.

Rock music occupied me for quite a long period too. I still like some bands. Gentle Giant and selected recordings by some other prog bands—King Crimson, Yes, ELP. Hard and weird bands like most projects by Mike Patton ranging from MTV stars Faith No More to avant-garde Mr. Bungle. Another favorite of mine is Living Color.

I also enjoy selected works of classical and contemporary composers. Sergey Prokofiev, especially his string quartets, that I re-visit regularly. However, in reality, I mostly listen to jazz. So it is All About Jazz for me.

What are you listening to right now? Walt Dickerson Vibes in Motion. Earlier today it was a new trio Barry Altschul, Jon Irabagon and Joe Fonda.

Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste?

I also highly recommend anything by No Business Records. Well, they have thrilling items like The Thing + Barry Guy single LP "Metal" or William Parker's 6CD box "Centering..."

What inspired you to write about jazz?

Write, or in my case stick around in any possible capacity. I write a little, work at All About Jazz, help friends at NoBusiness Records and run my own freelance project design4music.org—web design services for musicians.

Here is a small story. Howard Riley was in a boarding queue to his flight. The concert was over. It was a huge success musically but also gave a negative balance in terms of sold tickets vs. expenses. As predicted though. The magnificent performance was recorded for release at NoBusiness. I had our conversation with Howard on tape. Everything was discussed and agreed. Words of politeness and gratitude said, but something held us there. We just couldn't turn around and leave. Valerij Anosov (music store Thelonious, label, concerts) and I stood in the airport hall and watched Howard Riley slowly moving to a passport control desk. Sometimes he would look back at us, and wave his hand, and smile. We would do that too. Then again. He reached the desk in a bit, smiled to us for the last time and then disappeared behind the door. We went to Valerij's car feeling altogether happy, accomplished and yet sad.

What is it for? What is the driving force for this? Love,—my wise friend replied.—Love in its truest sense. No lust, no pride and selfishness. Just love.

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies? I have a wide range of tastes and interests, but in the last few years my personal space has shrunk. I spend long hours at the computer trying to concentrate on work as I am one of a very few people in my country, non musicians who are involved with jazz music full time.

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