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    9When I met American drummer Gregg Bandana, we knew about him is that he played and recorded with the famous avant-garde artist and innovator of jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, the same man who was turned into a cymbal orchestra of any tool. It was a unique case in the history of jazz: the great pianist has included in its album of the works of another artist and allowed him to play solos in two songs. But this glorious episode in the history of jazz has its own prehistory.

    Gregg Bendian was born in 1963 in new Jersey. In the family music sounded all day: parents Gregg Martin and Patricia listened to everything from Tchaikovsky to Sinatra and the Beatles to miles Davis. This could not affect future preferences Gregg. Luckily for him, the school where he studied, was developed system of art education, and the boy opened up a new world of music.

    When I met American drummer Gregg Bandana, we knew about him is that he played and recorded with the famous avant-garde artist and innovator of jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, the same man who was turned into a cymbal orchestra of any tool. It was a unique case in the history of jazz: the great pianist has included in its album of the works of another artist and allowed him to play solos in two songs. But this glorious episode in the history of jazz has its own prehistory.

    Gregg Bendian was born in 1963 in new Jersey. In the family music sounded all day: parents Gregg Martin and Patricia listened to everything from Tchaikovsky to Sinatra and the Beatles to miles Davis. This could not affect future preferences Gregg. Luckily for him, the school where he studied, was developed system of art education, and the boy opened up a new world of music.

    In nine years, as he remembers, his parents brought him to school and asked what instrument he would like to play. Gregg suddenly pointed at the drums. Then, the music world did not know that he had received a magnificent performer and composer. Gregg studied composition, wrote many chamber works, was fond of rock, but in the end came to jazz, and not traditional, though it was an excellent school in swing bands, and modern, avant-garde, creative. Gregg was closely within the framework of traditional ideas about contemporary music, he liked to push.

    And then one day his dream came true – the Derek Bailey invited 19-year-old Gregg to play in his team. Then came invitations to joint appearances from Roscoe Mitchell, George Lewis, John Zorn and other luminaries of the avant-garde jazz. In 1989, an event occurred that became a musician milestone – its called playing, and recording himself Cecil Taylor. Could Gregg ever dream of such a success? After the first performances, the legendary jazz drummer Max roach publicly voiced his address is very flattering, stressing that nobody has been able so accurately to realize musical ideas of Cecil Taylor.

    As time went on, Gregg increasingly wanted to play your own music, and it creates the INTERZONE team. A couple of years he embodies his old love for the music of guitarist John McLaughlin, creating your The Mahavishnu Project, the group for the performance of music from the repertoire of the once super-popular The Mahavishnu Orchestra, but in his own style. By the way, it is said that when the great John McLaughlin heard transcriptions of his compositions performed by the band Bandana, he went to Gregg and silently shook his hand. It was more eloquent than any words. Then came The Open Aspects Ensemble and Trio Pianissimo, which was provided exclusively to the music of their leader.

    In addition to his performing activities, recordings and performances, Gregg teaches music and writes books on the techniques of drumming, gives master-classes. Well, finally, most recently, Gregg Bendian was included among the 25 best drummers of our time.

    Information about Gregge Bandana on the Internet, magazines quite a lot. But all of it, as the reader guesses relates principally to the musical side of things. I also wanted to talk to Bandana as a person and as an Armenian, and I asked a mutual friend, the famous American jazz photographer Alan Nahigian us to meet. And here we are talking, I am in Yerevan, it is in new York, sitting in front of their computers.

    – What do you know about your roots?

    – Very little. I know that my grandfather Krikor fled Cakmakli in Turkey, fleeing the pogroms in 1915. His parents were killed by Turkish ascetics, and my then eleven-year-old grandfather and his brother got to America via Europe without a penny in his pocket, not knowing the language. I still don’t understand how they managed it. Perhaps someone could help. The details of his stories I don’t remember, but the General impression was, and thanks to him, I subsequently wrote some of his music for percussion instruments – “Ararat” (dedication to my grandparents), “Armenian old men”, “the Paintings of Arshile Gorky”. And Suite for chamber ensemble – “On the spot Cakmakli now desert”, “Diaspora” (in this work, I managed to enter the American slide guitar into the fabric of Armenian melodies, and the guitar is almost replaces UD) and others. These impressions of childhood are not keeping me alive.

    “But still you are American.

    – External evidence – Yes. I was born and raised here, I wear jeans and drink Coca-Cola. But at heart I’m a hundred percent Armenian. Badly for this accessory I first felt when he went to the Armenian school “Nubar” in new York. Communication with other Armenian children, familiarity with the culture and history of their distant homeland forever changed my life and its very essence. I am very proud of their belonging to an ancient people, their heritage. I always find this a source of inspiration, the theme for their works and a force for creativity. I think my Armenian identity helps me to stay true to their principles, to follow their own path in art and helps me to communicate – to transmit and receive creative ideas.

    – What do you think about getting acquainted with Armenian history and music?

    – Well, the history I know well. I studied it at school, and then continued to study independently and now read a lot on this topic. Moreover, I infected all my fellow Armenians, and they are now also interested in this. And all the rest (non-Armenian) I tell about the brightest pages of the history of our nation. Let them know about the good and the bad. With music the situation is worse. Of course, I know Alan Hovhannes, Aram Khachaturian, Komitas. This is from the classics. But modern and jazz musicians from Armenia I don’t know anyone. Here American – please: and Paul Motian, and Ara Dinkjian, and “System of A Down”. Dream to get acquainted with modern jazz musicians from Armenia.

    – You’re long time and a lot played and recorded. And not tried to play a real Armenian music?