Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Georges Arvanitas (1931 - 2005)

The web abounds with excellent jazz blogs who present major jazz masters, past and present, in a most comprehensive and respectful manner. As regular visitors of this blog should know by now, what we do here is try to raise awareness for lesser-known jazz artists who, either due to luck (or lack thereof) or choice never earned the recognition they so rightfully deserved.

One such artist is Georges Arvanitas, a French pianist born in 1931 in Marseilles from Greek immigrant parents, a figure of cult status in his native country as well as among visiting US musicians as a highly respected session contributor; he earned the nickname "Georges Une Prise" ("One-take George") for his reliable efficiency and mastery as can be seen on video below filmed in Brussels in 1962 displaying him accompanying the Hawk, the great Coleman Hawkins, with great verve.

He accompanied and recorder with the likes of Don Byas, Mezz Mezzrow, Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Slide Hampton and many others; LPs with his name command astronomical prices in France among collectors. Rumor has it that on Psychiemotus, a 1964 Impulse! Yusef Lateef date on which Arvanitas performed piano duties, Lateef was so smitten by his playing that the album's last piece is an unaccompanied piano rendition of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehaving.

He was the recipient of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award in 1985 for lifetime services; Arvanitas was at home with every jazz piano idiom as I had the chance to witness during the various times I've seen him live and as these offerings from the 90s amply demonstrate, enjoy.

A great all-Gershwin set.

Ditto, but this time it's the Duke who gets the Arvanitas treatment and we get the chance to hear Take The 'A' train, Duke's signature piece, in 5/4 time - a must-listen.


Anonymous said...

I Had The opportunity to listen to Georges arvanitas several times in the late 60's in Paris in La Maison de la Radio.
Thanks for the posts ; are they CDs or Vynils ? I will try to find them.

Cheers. Merci pour tout.

d3lta said...

Both are CDs - do yourself a favor and try to find them.

Neroon001 said...

grabbed both of these albums after reading the reviews and watching the video clip and put the albums/cd's on my wish list thanks for sharing these records otherwise I would not have ever heard of him