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Take Five With Ivan Farmakovsky

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Ivan Farmakovsky: My name is Ivan... Farmakovsky Ivan. I was fortunate to become part of a creative family: my father was a pianist and a choir conductor, my mom is an actress. I inherited the right passion, and at the age of 5 I was sent to special children's music school under the studio of recreation center "Moskvorechie." As a matter of fact, at that time this institution was practically the only school in our country, where jazz was a part of educational program together with classical music.

That was the starting point, and many things followed: once I became student of the variety-jazz department of The Gnessin State Musical College - Russia's most respected musical school. After that, I participated in various international competitions and succeeded to be a price-winner ("Europe Jazz Contest" in Belgium in 1997) and become a regular member of Igor Butman's Big Band. By that time the first concerts, jam-sessions and collaborations with the outstanding jazz stars took place: Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Wynton Marsalis, Seamus Blake and many others.

I have been into writing my own music since being a student of the Gnessin College, but I didn't want to release anything of average quality. By the time I got a chance to record my debut album, Next To The Shadow, I had all of the compositions ready, and only the title song was composed on the eve of the recording.

I was lucky to collect an international quartet of such excellent and prominent musicians as Ryan Kisor, Igor Butman, Ugonna Okegwo and Gene Jackson. All of them are Americans, and only Igor could be named both American and Russian musician at a time. Igor Butman not only participated in the recording but helped me to organize this event.

The recording session took place in the legendary Sear Sound Studio in New York city on 16 and 17 March, 2009 with the fantastic sound engineer James Farber. And soon after that, my debut album Next To The Shadow was released in Russia.

Instrument(s): Piano.

Teachers and/or influences? John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... Soon after I went to music school at the age of 5.

Your sound and approach to music: My approach is expressed by the music.

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