Simon Nabatov - The Music of Herbie Nichols
Simon Nabatov pays tribute to the genius of Herbie Nichols' compositions at the Plushmusic Loft Festival in February 2009.
"Simon Nabatov is a prodigious pianist and composer reaching a new career plateau." International Herald Tribune
Includes HD Video & Audio files
Recorded live at Loft, Cologne as part of the Plushmusic Loft Festival, February 2009
1. 2300 Skiddoo
2. The Spinning Song
3. Lady Sings The Blues
4. Twelve Bars
5. The Third World
6. Sunday Stroll
HD Video and Audio – 49 minutes
All compositions by Herbie Nichols
Simon Nabatov – piano
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Robert Nacken
Cameras by Matthew Jolly and Bernhard Reddig
Video editing by Balsa Boskovic
Produced by Hayden Chisholm
Many thanks to Hans-Martin Müller
When he was three years old, Simon Nabatov began his musical education with his father, a former Soviet soldier who had fallen in love with jazz – and America – while stationed in Berlin after World War Two. Simon went on to study at the Central School of Music and the Moscow Conservatory. The family emigrated and settled in America in 1979 (‘My folks live in the hippest part of New York,’ Simon told journalist Mike Zwerin, ‘and they love it’) and Simon continued his studies at the Juilliard. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music had grown strong enough to make them his main activity. Today he composes quite as much as he performs, inventing new forms out of past traditions. Nabatov’s music can be mighty strange – but mainstream jazz and classical influences are always there in abundance.
He has performed and recorded with many fine musicians. His own projects include solo recitals, a trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey (both based in New York), and the quartet Nature Morte with Frank Gratkowski, Nils Wogram and the British vocalist Phil Minton.
The composers Kenny Werner, Ronan Guilfoyle, and Daniel Schnyder have all written chamber works with Simon Nabatov in mind, and Simon himself wrote and recorded over six hours of music for a radio production project co-sponsored by WDR and Bayer AG. This included the 90-minute work A Few Incidents, based on the texts of Russian writer Daniil Kharms.
Since 1989 he resides predominantly in Cologne, Germany, but keeps an apartment and a part of his heart in New York.
Herbie Nichols (1919-1963) was a remarkable jazz pianist and composer, who, tragically, never attained the recognition he undoubtedly deserved while alive. His visionary innovations, so amply evident in his compositions, are as fresh and strong today as back in the 50's.
A number of musicians have been fascinated by his unique musical world and have dedicated part of their activities to it: Misha Mengelberg, Ruswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, most notably; later also Geri Alen and Frank Kimbrough, among others.
Simon Nabatov "discovered" for himself the music of Nichols soon after he came to live in New York in 1979. The unusual combination of a wicked humor, twisted formal procedures, juxtaposition of the refined European harmonies (Satie or Bartok) and the rhythmic sensibilities harking back to the West Indies and Africa – all of it was most appealing to Nabatov – and, indeed, still is. Even though he soon learned most of the (back then) known tunes, playing them in public, and especially in a concentrated form of a solo concert, is a new development in his activities.
The tunes included in his new solo program were originally recorded by Herbie Nichols trio during the legendary Blue Note sessions of 1955-56 and represent the artistic quintessence of Nichols's musical genius.