Artists | Simon Nabatov (RU/US/DE)

Simon Nabatov | Photo by Florian Ross

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His musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity. Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian, Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos and many others. He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy–Simon Nabatov Duo, Perry Robinson Quartet, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram–Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert–Simon Nabatov Duo, Klaus König Orchestra. His own projects and activities include solo recitals, trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey (both based in New York), quartet Nature Morte with the British vocalist Phil Minton, multi reed-player Frank Gratkowski and trombonist Nils Wogram (both from Germany), quintet including his trio plus the violinist Mark Feldman and the trumpet player Herb Robertson (both residing in New York). The most recent addition to the list is the formed in 2003 trio Nabatov–Reijseger–Vatcher. The current edition of it includes the Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and the American drummer Michael Sarin. As the co-leader Nabatov plays duos with Nils Wogram, Tom Rainey, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger, German tenor sax player Matthias Schubert, Dutch drummer Han Bennink and with the Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg. Simon Nabatov performed and recorded numerous pieces of chamber music, some of them written specially for him: Piano Concerto “Baba” by the American pianist/composer Kenny Werner, Sonata for violin and piano by the Irish bassist/composer Ronan Guilfoyle, Trumpet Sonata, Cello Sonata, Trio for flute, cello and piano by the Swiss reed-player/composer Daniel Schnyder. He also performed and recorded some of the more known “crossover” works, such as Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (NDR Symphony Orchestra Hannover, 1998) or Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra by Rolf Liebermann (NDR Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hamburg, 1996). Nabatov was among the winners of the 3rd International Great Jazz Pianist Competition in Jacksonville, USA (2nd prize) in 1985 and of the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition in Paris, France (3rd prize) in 1989. In 1987 he was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Simon Nabatov made numerous radio productions for most major European broadcasting companies: WDR, NDR, HR, BR, SFR, Radio France, Radio Zürich, Radio Ireland, etc. A more recent and by far the largest radio production project (co-sponsored by WDR and Bayer AG) saw him write and record over 6 hours of music for solo piano, duo (with the American reed player Michael Moore), his trio, the quartet Nature Morte and the quintet. Beginning of 2000 the Swiss label HatHut Records brought out the first recording – the trio release Sneak Preview. The next three recordings, quartet Nature Morte, quintet The Master and Margarita and solo Perpetuum Immobile, have been released by Leo Records. Two more CDs, Chat Room (duo with Han Bennink) and Autumn Music (trio with Ernst Reijseger and Michael Vatcher), were also brought out by this independent British label. The most recent project produced by WDR was a 90-minute piece A Few Incidents based on the texts of Russian writer Daniil Charms. The octet included Phil Minton, Frank Gratkowski, Nils Wogram, Ernst Reijseger, Cor Fuhler, Matt Penman, Michael Sarin and Simon Nabatov. Simon Nabatov has taught at the Folkwang Hochschule, Essen (1989–1991) and at the International Jazz and Rock Academy, Remscheid (1991–1993), both in Germany. From 1998 to 2001 he taught at the Musikhochschule Luzern, Switzerland. Since 1989 he resides predominantly in Cologne, Germany, but keeps an apartment and a part of his heart in New York.