I was born in 1936 in Moscow, Russia into the family of scientists and I was supposed to become a scientist too! Following the family tradition, I graduated from Moscow University with a master’s degree in Physics and was offered a prestigious and exciting job that other aspiring physicists would kill for.
But… the insidious serpent of jazz had been seducing me since the early fifties. Stalin was still alive when I started to spend my nights trying to tune to the jazz programs, which were broadcast on Voice of America, BBC and other similar stations. Then, in my sophomore University year, I surrendered to the urge to play jazz. I started out on clarinet and then switched to the saxophone and joined the early wave of jazz rebirth in the Soviet Union. It is worth mentioning that at this time, playing jazz in the Soviet Union was considered not far from committing treason!