Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back to the Two Questions

In this current blogpost, the two questions have been answered by the incredibly-talented Russian-born jazz pianist and composer, Misha Piatigorsky. Actually, his music is about more than just straight-ahead jazz. It also encompasses elements of classical, Brazilian, rock, funk, and World, plus he's a darn good drummer too! Misha performs with many types of bands, in particular, his trio, his septet and the more rock-oriented Sketchy Black Dog. Furthermore, he's been the music director for Mark Murphy since 2002. Misha recently released the CD, "17 Rooms." It showcases his versatility as he, ably assisted by Boris Kozlov on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums, performs mainly originals, such as "Ballade of Edward vs. Edward Opus 23," "Kindred Spirit," and the title song, along with a few songs by other composers, such as John Lennon's "Imagine."

With all these projects, it's amazing that Misha had time to answer my questions. But he did, and his answers now follow:

1) Why did you decide on a career in music?

Well I think it's not a matter of choosing to make music my career. Making a decision that this is all I want to do. So a career or no career--that's a subsidiary sort of occurrence. I decided that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is what I want to do everyday all day long. This is my hobby. This is my love. This is my food. So you do what you need to do and if you can work out a situation to make some money doing it, then you're in business.

2) What is it you love about jazz that made you decide to focus on that type of music?

Well I've always heard jazz in my house growing up and I was a classical pianist until I was about 16 years old or so. Besides hearing jazz I heard a lot of Beatles, because that's what my parents were really into. But my dad always played Oscar Peterson albums and different kinds of stuff--George Shearing albums--and I just got incredibly into it. When I was about 17, I started checking out different albums and different pianists, and I realized I really want to learn how to do that and how to make that happen. And the more I examined, the more infatuated I got with different pianists, with different horn players, musicians--just the sound of jazz. And there is such a round and open art form from so many different generations of great jazz musicians. And I started just eating everything up, you know--starting from anything from eating up the way Count Basie plays, to falling in love with Monk, Duke, you know, and then falling in love with the way Bill Evans plays, falling in love with the way Kenny Barron plays, falling in love with the way Chick Corea plays, Keith Jarrett. So I just started to focus on whoever I was infatuated with at that moment. If I heard something I was crazy about, I just needed to understand it and devour it.

To see videos of Misha Piatigorsky with his octet at the Iridium Jazz Club, as well as videos of his earlier gigs, click on this link.

For even more information about Misha Piatigorsky, check out his site at