Recently in the Moscow Conservatory sounded “Musical trophies”, and it means that the guests plunged into the world of jazz and gave tribute to king of jazz arrangements — George Garanjana, which for eight years is no longer with us. Isn’t it a reason for us to remember the Maestro and his contribution to the art of music? Correspondent “MK” talked to the wife of George Garanyan Nelly Zakirova.
photo: from personal archive
‘Nelly, do I feel for George Aramovich, like the human scale of musical thought, it was very important to share his glory and to support talented young guys?
— You are absolutely right. He said more than once at the Great hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, where he had a pass: “I gave all the solos, because I have young children”. From the audience shouted: “George, play solo! They even do not know how!”. And the husband replied: “I’ll play again, let’s hear it guys!”. He really supported them, and any musician will confirm this.
Hence, the festival Garanyan driven by this idea?
— Yes, coming up with the festival, George realized that the young people can acquire a real concert, only by working with these great masters. Not to engage in Amateur performances, although it is not forbidden, but to act as serious artists. I told him once said, “There came to you the little musicians”, and he replied: “No, they are great artists.” That was his mission: to unite on one stage children and adults. Adults accompanying children children accompanying adults — they do a number together. It was included in the concept of the festival: experience exchange “hand in hand”, directly.
— Here’s how you feel, most importantly Georgy Aramovich gave jazz and the jazz gave him?
— I think the George Aramovich gave the jazz promotion. Once read in Internet something like: “I Suspect that thanks to George Garanjana, I fell in love with many melodies.” I think it’s fair. Because the way he arranged the music, could not arrange one. George had great taste, he was good, loved the highlight in the melody all its advantages, to do the accents, beautiful finals. He said: “I Want of the most ordinary, even boring, melodies to make a work of art.” He liked to do it. He loved the music of the Soviet composers who believed it was real, saw it as interesting ideas, saw some things to work on, the material for improvisation.
If gave music a second life.
— Yes, so he was updating his famous music, gave her a breath of fresh air. In addition, George was a brilliant soloist played a lot of tunes so that they eventually acquired the status of performing the classics. This is his solo in “Diamond hand”, a song from “Nu, pogodi!”. Even foreigners still write: “could we help with notes? We want to play this music!”. George, for example, very proud that he took the song of Matvey Blanter and made the first Soviet Foxtrot. And said: “Before, it was just a song, and I made her a very popular Foxtrot!”.
What about his compositions? Or the priority was exclusively arrangements?
— I asked him, saying, why don’t you play his music, and he replied — “But why?”. Believed that music is written already much. His, of course, also wrote for film and theater, but he wasn’t a narcissist in music. Believed that it is better to present the viewer what is already there. And yet every time he managed to find something new and better. And the musicians with whom he worked in the orchestra, and the music that he arranged, and even if you take a book that he wrote (“fundamentals of pop and jazz arrangements”, — A. G.) and there is about love for musicians. He writes: “With the melody consider whether the musicians are comfortable? The pianist will need to move the hand, the trumpeter needs to take a breath — don’t forget about it.”
But really George jazz has given freedom of thinking, because jazz is very free art, there is no need to strictly follow the notes. Moreover, if you play all the notes — you’re not a jazz musician. Jazzman is the one who can be distracted from the music and freely improvise on any subject, to create their own composition in front of audience.
— Nelly, in one interview you said that Georgiy Aramovich, in addition to his musical sphere, was interested in everything, and integral calculations, and plumbers were asking — Yes it is. But what about sports? If he was gambling, was it a fan?
— He was engaged in Cycling and watched everything that usually men are watching football, hockey. But to an avid fan is not. He was interested in other things in life. He was engaged in the sound, was Chairman of the jury of engineers, he installed a sound Studio, and she’s still alive, nothing happened, and we have in the apartment. At concerts he exposed himself, said sound – “Just don’t touch anything!”. He was an engineer by profession, was seriously fond of technology. Also, collecting vintage equipment, loved to find an old analog thing, where you could listen to music of good quality.
photo: from personal archive
And often the music sounded at home?
— Frankly, the music in our apartment sounded very rarely, because music, after all, was his job. But still, when he listened, for example, your favorite Louis Prima, could let a tear such a thin man he was. George deeply touched when people do something well. I was amazed at how a grown man could sit with tears in my eyes listening to the melody. But looking at the photos and videos from the concerts, you can see how sometimes he would go to the musicians from behind, put hands on shoulders, hugging them after a successful solo. He was very kind, truly loved and appreciated their music.
— Yes, in the video especially shows how much light energy was charging Georgy Aramovich and musicians, and the audience…
— It is to the musicians-the boys addressed as “Lord.” He is very, very loved. Realized what hard work it is. Sometimes we went somewhere, stuck in traffic, he said: “I don’t Have time to stand in traffic jams!”, — gave the keys and went out grafting on the subway. And then one day he comes home and says: “I saw the ad in the metro about the recruitment in assistant engineer, a salary of twenty-four thousand roubles, term of training — three months, and my musicians all his life, engaged in the instrument for five or six hours a day, enroll in music schools, institutions, and the salary they are miserable. How so?”.
— Could it at least bring something of yourself?
— Like any other person, of course. Especially some moments of injustice made him angry. But in hysteria he has never fallen.
— That he was especially interested in the last years of his life?
He loved to live an interesting life and it really worried. If we, for example, went on vacation, he said, “let’s Go home! I… miss my way of life”. Indeed, he could not withstand weeks, well ten days maximum. All the time worried that without him will be something interesting, loved to participate in all. Curious was the man, curious. Read a lot, and very quickly! If I had to sit in the library to study and learn the material that George “swallowed” page after page, as if photographed. Was very capable. And read equally quickly in Russian, and English. By the way, he learned English by himself, and even in forty years. For six years, I read only in English.
— Not if he remembered the time when 9 years was restricted to travel abroad? I read that he put it mildly, was very upset because of the denunciation, moreover, never found out who did it.
— Of course I remembered! Yes, his friend refused to give the name of an informer, he said — “just kill him”. This was still the heyday of his creative life, and after they went on a few jazz festivals, he was invited to participate in many activities, playing various concert halls, called where good sound, where is a great game, but… all of these invitations were rejected, and the Ministry of culture simply repeated it as usual — “He’s busy. He’s busy”. The brightest of his years were spent in prison.
— Back to the jazz. Now quite a lot of jazz festivals, but do you have the feeling that all the jazz it was there and focused? He disappeared from life, sounds in cafes, on the streets, records no longer put as before (and it was an event). There is a feeling that jazz was ephemeral phenomenon?
On the contrary, I have a feeling that the jazz is very, very popular. Maybe I think so because of the fact that I have to spend time in places where they play good jazz. Maybe I’m just lucky: recently, taxi village, and there’s jazz! In addition, we are working a lot with children. Our musicians teach at music schools. So the demand for this area is very large! At the open Day in one school of music Director said, “Please, everyone who is interested in jazz, go next door”. And moved all (laughs). I think this is largely due to the fact that the jazz is a very beautiful and striking instruments — saxophone, trombone, trumpet.
— Maybe the impression that jazz is better…
Yes, many people feel that jazz is classical music easier because of the greater freedom of action, the possibilities of improvisation and not cramming. Perhaps this is the truth. But the real jazz in the first place, should know the basics of classical music.
And you do not agree with the statement that jazz is an elitist art?
— Certainly, no, no. Jazz is very democratic and accessible. Just those people who say that jazz is an elitist art, most likely, listen to some samples, intended for professionals. Maybe they go to the clubs at night, where the sound more deep, complex songs, performed with sophisticated jazz musicians who try to impress each other. Popular jazz pieces and much easier to understand than the classic. If we compare the jazz with popular music, probably, Yes, jazz will seem more complex. But, most importantly, the jazz can fall in love at any age. And the students who come to our concerts, it’s perfectly prove.
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