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C. Andrew Hovan

An avid audiophile and music collector, Chris Hovan is a Cleveland-based writer / photographer / musician.

About Me

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, I have been active in the field of jazz since my days at the Berklee College of Music in the mid-'80s. I have been lucky enough to be involved in several arenas, including working as a dee-jay and in concert production, but my fondest memories have been meeting some of the legendary masters of jazz and digging through crates to find those sought-after LPs.

A freelance drummer , I play drum set and specialize in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian hand percussion. As a record collector, my prized possessions are my VPI Scout, VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine and the thousands of vintage sides on the shelves. I have been a contributor to the MusicHound album reference guides for jazz and swing and a regular contributor to All About Jazz. My work has also been featured in Down Beat, Hot House, The New York Times, and in the jazz history textbook Jazz Styles by Mark C. Gridley. I also regularly pen liner notes and have done so for a variety of labels including Cellar Music Group, Chicken Coop, Criss Cross Jazz, Water Music, Sharp Nine, Mighty Quinn, SteepleChase, and Smoke Sessions.

I have been documenting the jazz scene in Cleveland and abroad with my camera for many years now and my reviews and photos are regularly featured at AAJ as well as Down Beat Magazine. In addition, I have traveled to Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ann Arbor, Boston, Toronto, Detroit, New York City, Pittsburgh, etc. to cover jazz festivals and performances.

C. Andrew Hovan is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, a voting critic in the Down Beat Critics Poll, and uses Nikon digital cameras exclusively.

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My Jazz Story

I was first exposed to jazz back in high school when spinning the radio dial. I locked into this Sunday evening show where I first heard Pat Metheny's "Are You Going With Me?" and Dexter Gordon's "Fried Bananas". Having been raised on pop music, such as Chicago, The Beach Boys, and Burt Bacharach, these new sounds were nothing short of a revelation to my teenage ears. It wasn't long before I was searching out more and more of the new sounds I was hearing every Sunday evening. I still revel in my time spent searching for jazz albums and my vinyl collection has been an integral part of my life since this all started back in the '80s. As a photographer of jazz musicians, there is something intoxicating about losing yourself in the moment while simultaneously looking to capture the visage of a musician's spirit and soul. Like the music itself, that moment can be fleeting and can delude you. Sometimes it's a struggle and sometimes it comes easily. But when you capture it, there's nothing quite like being in that zone.

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