Considered to be one of the most skillful pianists and interesting composers of contemporary Russian jazz scene, Ivan Farmakovsky established himself as a notable bandleader in 2008 after years of participation in a variety of bands. Having an experience of backing practically every jazz star coming for a tour to Russia since late 90's, Ivan debuted with projects of his own by releasing an album of originals entitled Next To The Shadow. For this recording which took place in New York he gathered an international quintet of Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Igor Butman (tenor saxophone), Ugonna Okegwo (bass) and Gene Jackson (drums). Critically acclaimed Next To The Shadow was released in 2009 on Boheme Music label in Russia and digitally on Jazzheads in the U.S. Farmakovsky, born in Moscow in 1973 to a family of a musician and an actress, studied music since the age of 5 and eventually graduated from the Russian Academy of Music which has offered the country's best jazz curriculum over the past quarter century. In 1994 Farmakovsky won the bi-annual Rostov Jazz Competition, the biggest contest for young performers in Russia; in 1997, a similar achievement at the Europe Jazz Contest in Belgium followed. Later on, it was a significant step forward to enter Igor Butman's quartet and Big Band for the young pianist. As part of the band, he had a chance to perform in front of American and Russian presidents, Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin, in Kremlin Hall.
After an appreciable debut as a bandleader in 2009, Ivan Farmakovsky continued with his second recording featuring Donald Edwards of Mingus Dinasty on drums and two distinguished Russian jazzmen Anton Revnyuk on bass and Dmitry Mospan on saxophone. Consisting of original songs written by Farmakovsky and Mospan and Farmakovsky's arrangements of Russian folk and Soviet songs, The Way Home album was considered to become a wonderful example of sensitive teamwork and interesting approach to mainstream jazz.
Also happening in 2010, Ivan Farmakovsky implemented his long-standing dream and recorded a trio album with participation of two outstanding American jazz musicians, Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Christian McBride (bass). The recording (which was also held in New York) was based on Ivan's originals and arrangements of Soviet music, setting a unique combination of melodic richness of Russian music and the true spirit of American jazz played by it's greatest representatives.
Take Five With...
Read more articles
"Pianist Ivan Farmakovsky has an abstract approach to making
music that reminds me of Wassily Kadinsky’s method of painting.
Farmakovsky sprinkles his compositions in geometrical patterns
and profound shapes that keep the music in a state of flux".
Susan Frances, JazzTimes, USA.