Armenian Jazz Presented in The History of European Jazz

On birthdays and especially on anniversaries, it is customary to make gifts. So, in the year of its eightieth birthday, Armenian jazz received a wonderful gift. The book “The History of European Jazz; The Music, Musicians and Audience in Context” beautifully published by the British publishing house Equinox contains information about jazz music and musicians from all over Europe.

Armenian music was mentioned in the book as well.

This encyclopedia of almost 750 pages contains information provided by 45 journalists, critics, and musicologists from throughout Europe.

American jazz has been widely covered by numerous works. The most famous encyclopedia of jazz was written by famous American publicist, critic, writer, pianist, composer, and arranger Leonard Geoffrey Feather. But, of course, his works were mainly devoted to American jazz.

American critics for the first time seriously presented European jazz musicians in 1988. Then, in 2002, European jazz was introduced much more widely in “The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz”. But still, it contained only scarce data about individual European musicians.

And finally, a work entirely devoted to continental jazz was published.

In addition to the fact that the subject of the book is divided by regions (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, etc.) and countries, it also includes separate articles on gypsy jazz, Klezmer music, big festivals, jazz education, and music films.

Such a solid publication was made possible thanks to the vigorous activity of the Europe Jazz Network and the funding from the European Union’s Creative Europe Program. The editor of the publication was famous Italian journalist, writer, and organizer of jazz festivals Francesco Martinelli.

It took three years for the book to be completed, which is understandable. Numerous specialists participated in the creation of the book, of whom only a few spoke English as a native language. Due to this, the process of translating and editing materials lasted quite long.

Armenia is represented in the book thanks to the efforts of great jazz enthusiast, journalist, and permanent author of “GA” Armen Manukyan. The quite in-depth article describes the entire glorious path traversed by Armenian jazz.

A rightful place was given to the pioneers of the jazz movement in Armenia, including Artemy Ayvazyan, Konstantin Orbelian, successors of their case Stepan Shakarian, Martin Vardazaryan, Levon Malkhasyan, Tatevik Hovhannisyan, Vahagn Hayrapetyan, and Armen Hyusnunts.

The young people who today successfully perform on stage, record albums with author music, develop national folklore, and represent our jazz outside the country were mentioned as well. The representatives of the Armenian Diaspora who contributed to jazz were also featured, including George Garanian, Sergey Manukyan, Hilda Kazasyan, Andre Manukyan, and others.

The representation of Armenia in this book is a great contribution to the promotion of Armenian jazz in the world. Experience shows that it is one thing to play jazz well and quite another to be able to present your skills to people. There is no doubt that the promotion of the success of Armenian jazzmen is a necessary and important process. And the book will play an important role in it.

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