Musical Performance: Souren Baronian's "Taksim"

Fri, June 4, 2010 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Souren Baronian - G-clarinet, saxophone, kaval, duduk, riq


Haig Manoukian - 'oud
Lee Baronian - darbukkeh
Mal Stein - drums, percussion
Sprocket Royer - double bass

Tickets: $15 available at door or online here. (A surcharge applies, use printout as your ticket.)

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Souren Baronian grew up in Spanish Harlem riding two powerful currents of his creativity: his ethnic Armenian heritage, and jazz. His own music is an authentic organic hybrid of those two idioms. The sound of his band is truly unique, applying a jazz vocabulary and the bebop sensibility of Charlie Parker and Lester Young to Middle Eastern rhythms on traditional instruments such as the oud, kaval, dubek, G-clarinet and dumbek. "Taksim" is a Middle Eastern term meaning improvisation, and inspired imprvisation is the home territory of Souren Baronian and his band.

Souren and Taksim have performed in most of the city’s major jazz clubs. Many concerts in Europe have built a strong following there, and they recently created a sensation at the 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Jazz Festival. Alwan welcomes them back for an evening of great music.

Listen to the sounds of Taksim here.

What the critics have said:

"The cheers of five thousand people at the 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Jazz Festival spoke volumes about this band." - Dan Behrman, Festival Program Director

"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, the music is a remarkable hybrid of two cultures." - Boston Herald American


Souren "Sudan" Baronian perfected his craft in study with saxophonist Warne Marsh, the late master teacher Lennie Tristano, and with greats of the Middle Eastern world. The influence of such creators as Lester Young and Charlie Parker is also eident in his playing. Besides being a powerful reedman, bandleader and the principal composer of Taksim's repertoire, Souren is a multi-instrumentalist, percussionist and teacher who travels the world sharing his kowledge in local workshops. OVer the years he has made individual appearanes at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, the Bottom Line, and on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Oudist Haig Manoukian celebrates the musical traditions of the Middle East, India and Africa in improvisations that combine control of classical form and modern sensibility. His current collaborations with the groups Alba, Orchestra Kef, and Sounds of Taraab express his love for the rhythms and modal structures of Andalusia, Turkey, and East Africa. In addition, Haig is active with Taksim, a Middle-Eastern jazz fusion band, and Transition, an ensemble that regularly performs Armenian, Arab, and Turkish music. For many years, he has taught and performed at Balkan and Middle Eastern camps throughout the United States.

Lee Baronian is Souren's son; he could have had no better grounding for the masterful technique and musical awareness he brings to the dumbek and other percussion instruments. He has a virtuosic young group of his own called Charged Particles, the next chapter in the meeting of East and West.

Mal Stein has mastered the complexities of compound meters like no other drummer; his command of that specialty defines the state of the art today. He grew up in the company of jazz greats, his father Richard having been himself both a drummer and a jazz-club entrepreneur. When not powering up Taksim, Mal is very active on the New York musical scene.

Sprocket Royer has been a professional bass player in New York for over 25 years, playing in a variety of idioms including Latin, Spanish, Swiss, Klezmer, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Blues, Classical and all forms of American popular music. His teachers include Don Palma, Orin O’Brian, and Bassam Saba. He has recorded with Andy Statman, Tommy Tucker, Michael Moore and Yale Strom, and has toured and played concerts and festivals in the U.S. and Europe. Sprocket also has a career as a luthier and restores double basses and other stringed instruments.

Last updated: 2010-05-28 02:23:43

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