Harry Tavitian

Harry Tavitian is …”the most interesting contemporary Romanian jazzman”. (International Herald Tribune - Oct 19, 1990). Born in Constanta, Romania in 1952, from Armenian parents, Tavitian started classical piano at the age of 6. He graduated The Academy of Music in Bucharest. In 1970 he saw bluesman Memphis Slim live in Brasov, Romania. This was a major influence in his future career. After this event, he started singing and playing the blues and soon he made his first steps in jazz. In 1976 he gave up classical music completely for jazz.

The music of Harry Tavitian is characterized by an openness towards multiple influences and a great capacity of synthesis as well. Tavitian himself says: …”We are here in Levant and we are part of the world. We are open to world culture and open to spontaneity”… (from the interview “HARRY TAVITIAN - A CRY FROM THE BALKANS', by Bruce Granath / JAZZ FORUM 102, nr. 5 - 1986).

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In less than two years of activity Orient Express played concerts and festivals in all major cities of Romania, at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington (June 1999) and the World Exhibition - Expo 2000 - in Hannover (August 2000). About this last event the press wrote: …”nine musicians from Romania combine tradition and modernity in a very explosive mixture”… (Ulrike Strauch - “Expo Journal” / Aug 19, 2000)

About Black Sea Orchestra, jazz critic Virgil Mihaiu wrote: …” I have never seen a jazz concert in Lisbon, with such a strong and enthusiastic public reaction, with standing ovations, such as the one provoked by the East European musicians of the Black Sea Orchestra”… (Curentul / Apr 5, 2000)

Harry Tavitian's first two records (”Horizons”/1985, LR 124 and “Transylvanian Suite”/1986, LR 132) are released on Leo Records, London. …”Leo, the small English label that distributes jazz from Eastern Europe, has come up with another winner

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