Monday, August 9, 2010

The Two Questions: Late Summer Edition



Russian-born Misha Tsiganov is one of the most in-demand pianists on the scene today. He was born into a family of artists, so it's no wonder that he was drawn in such a creative direction. As well as performing straight-ahead jazz, he has been involved in bands which play Brazilian Samba, Latin Jazz and Salsa. Among the many musical legends he has performed with are Joe Chambers, Gary Bartz, Claudio Roditi, Johnny Colon and Chico Freeman. Furthermore, Misha has television credits, as the featured pianist on the CBS-TV children's show, "Little Bill."

Misha kindly agreed to be my latest subject for the "two questions" interview, and his responses follow directly below.


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

It wasn't my choice to study music. When I was 6 years old my parents brought me to music school in St. Petersburg. Many years later I understood how music is important to me and realized that music is my passion. I decided to be a jazz musician not for career reasons. I never asked myself: Where I want to make my career happen, in jazz, in math, in sports etc... Back when I never really thought about a career, I just fell in love with jazz, I wanted to play jazz every day, I got addicted to jazz and finally realized that I can't live without jazz.


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

I studied classical piano for many years and I really love classical music. However, when I played classical music in public, I always felt that I'm not telling people my story. I felt like I'm telling people Mozart's story, or Chopin's or Rachmaninoff's story. They wrote tons of beautiful music and I love it, but this is their story, and I wanted to tell people my story. Some people express themselves through painting, writing, sculpting etc. I can express myself through playing jazz. For me, jazz is the freedom.


To give a few examples of Misha's different musical sides, I've included links to a couple of You Tube videos. Clicking here will get you to the first, a performance with the Hendrik Meurkens Quartet at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC. Clicking here will take you to a performance with the Johnny Colon Salsa Band.

For more detailed information about Misha Tsiganov and his music, go to www.mishatsiganov.com or his My Space page.

Lastly, Misha has released a great CD, "Always Going West." It includes his original compositions, and his bandmates on it are trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, bassist Boris Kozlov, drummer Gene Jackson and percussionist Samuel Torres. You can find out more about this recording by going to http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tsiganov.