George Avakian, jazz producer and scholar, dead at 98

12:00 • 23.11.17



George Avakian, a Russian-born jazz scholar and architect of the American music industry who produced essential recordings by Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and other stars has died at age 98.


Avakian's daughter, Anahid Avakian Gregg, confirmed that her father died Wednesday morning at his home in Manhattan. No further details were immediately available, according to the New York Times.

 

Avakian, an executive at Columbia Records and Warner Bros. among other labels, helped popularize such consumer standards as liner notes, the long-playing album and the live album.


Few could claim as many milestones as Avakian, who started out as an Ivy League prodigy rediscovering old jazz recordings and became a monumental industry figure and founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, presenters of the Grammys. Through the artists he promoted and the breakthroughs he championed, Avakian helped shape the music we listen to and the way we listen to it.


"The innovations Avakian brought or helped bring to the recording industry are so fundamental and taken for granted today that most people under the age of 70 would find it hard to imagine there was ever a time when they didn't exist," DownBeat magazine declared in presenting Avakian a lifetime achievement award in 2000.


His contributions date back to the late 1930s, when he was an undergraduate at Yale and a jazz fan frustrated by the limited availability of his favorite music. He wrote to numerous companies and finally convinced Decca to let him compile "Chicago Jazz," widely regarded as the first jazz album and among the first jazz records to include liner notes, written by Avakian.


"Decca said in essence, 'We don't know quite what jazz in those cities is about but you seem to know so why don't you go ahead and produce them,'" Avakian told JazzWax in 2010.


Avakian was soon working on new and old music, documenting and making history, and jazz's stature was changing from popular entertainment to art. He prepared a series of reissues at Columbia that featured recordings by Armstrong, Ellington and Bessie Smith and helped launch the inclusion of alternate takes of individual songs. He produced the classic "Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy" and one of Dave Brubeck's most popular albums, "Dave Digs Disney." He also signed up Davis for Columbia and co-produced "Miles Ahead," the 1957 album that began Davis' collaborations with arranger Gil Evans and established him as among the first jazz superstars of the post-World War II era.


"I saw him as the best trumpet ballad player since Louis Armstrong," Avakian told The Wall Street Journal
in 2005.


The music business was rapidly changing in the 1940s and '50s, thanks in part to Avakian. Columbia was the industry leader in issuing classical recordings as albums and Avakian, as head of Columbia's pop division, oversaw the landmark 1948 release of 100 long-playing records for pop and jazz. Featuring Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore and other artists, they were pressed on vinyl that was thinner than the traditional 78 rpm "shellac" records and played at what became the standard speed, 33 1-3 rpm.


In the 1950s, Avakian supervised two historic live recordings: "Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall 1938" and "Ellington at Newport." The Goodman concert, released in 1950, was among jazz's first double albums, first live albums and first to sell a million copies. "Ellington at Newport," featuring a sensational 27-chorus solo by tenor saxophone player Paul Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," captured the 1956 performances that revived the middle-aged Ellington's career.


Avakian's other achievements ranged from producing Bob Newhart's Grammy-winning debut "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" and Sonny Rollins' comeback album "The Bridge" to managing Keith Jarrett and teaching, at Columbia University, one of the first courses on jazz. In 1958, he was among the founders of the recording academy, which in 2009 presented him a Trustees Award for lifetime achievement. His other honors included an advocacy award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Commandeur des Arts et Lettres from France and the Soviet Union's highest honor, the Order of Lenin.


Avakian, essentially retired from the music industry since the 1970s, was a breeder of race horses in recent years, notably the champion pacer President Ball. Avakian was married to the violinist Anahid Ajemian, with whom he had three children. She died on June 13, 2016, at age 92.


He was born in 1919 in the Russian city of Armavir, the child of wealthy Armenians who fled from the civil war that followed the 1917 revolution. Once settled with his family in New York, Avakian fell in love with jazz listening to the radio, on low volume, so his parents wouldn't know he was still awake. When he entered Yale, jazz was still a relatively new and popular genre and few sensed it had lasting value.


Avakian was barely out of his teens when he met Armstrong. While at Yale, he helped unearth tracks from Armstrong's foundational Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions from the 1920s. After serving in the infantry during World War II, when Avakian was based in the Philippines, he was hired by Columbia and was soon back in touch with Armstrong.


"Louis remains the artist I most admired and most enjoyed recording, by a distinct though relatively narrow margin," Avakian told JazzTimes in 2000, "narrow because it was also an enormous pleasure working with Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Mahalia Jackson, Erroll Garner, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck and a host of others who were not just great artists, but among the best friends I have ever had."


 
 

 





Загрузка...

LATEST NEWSAll Today news

16:13 • 21/07

EU-Armenia relations discussed in Yerevan  

14:53 • 21/07

 George Bush’s former doctor shot and killed while riding bike in Houston

14:27 • 21/07

Future developments in Armenia ‘test to global democracy’

12:50 • 21/07

Azerbaijan opens gunfire towards roadway in Armenia’s north-east

12:27 • 21/07

Poland backs judicial changes amid row

12:15 • 21/07

Beyoncé enjoys a family holiday with Jay-Z and Blue Ivy, 6, as they take a break from their On The Run II tour

12:05 • 21/07

The Washington Post: Ukraine is not a country, Putin told Bush

11:43 • 21/07

168 Zham: Angela Merkel to visit Armenia in August

10:47 • 21/07

Fall of the Insta-mafia: Brutal gypsy gang who loved to flaunt their ill-gotten gains on social media were arrested after mobster's wife turned supergrass

10:41 • 21/07

Disney fires James Gunn from 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3' after offensive tweets are unearthed

10:05 • 21/07

Hraparak: Armenian ambassador to Canada to step down after La Francophonie summit

09:30 • 21/07

Israel carries out Gaza strikes as soldier dies from gunshot

09:12 • 21/07

Facebook investigates data firm Crimson Hexagon

18:10 • 20/07

Conte to sue Chelsea over his sacking

18:02 • 20/07

Russia fears hypersonic missile leaks

17:37 • 20/07

Armenian president hosts delegation from Ernst & Young

17:05 • 20/07

Michael Douglas reveals adventures of 101-year-old father

16:44 • 20/07

Stronger democracy-building to make Armenia internationally attractive – opinion

15:53 • 20/07

Artsakh’s direct engagement in peace talks ‘indispensable’ to future progress - Pashinyan  

15:10 • 20/07

Bitcoin to soar as ’digital gold’ of the future

14:56 • 20/07

Six US senators seek to restrict loans to Turkey over 'pastor' ruling

13:47 • 20/07

Armenia must raise ‘landlocked country’ status on United Nations' agenda - expert

12:04 • 20/07

‘Architects of Denial’ team to be Honored at 2018 ANCA-WR Gala

11:56 • 20/07

Armenia to join NATO military exercises in Georgia  

11:37 • 20/07

Four indicted with murder in slaying of rapper XXXTentacion

11:24 • 20/07

Armenia needs snap parliamentary elections until April, says vice prime minister

10:13 • 20/07

Hraparak: Fifty country leaders invited to La Francophonie summit in Yerevan

09:34 • 20/07

Eleven dead as US 'duck boat' capsizes in Missouri

09:13 • 20/07

Trump invites Putin to visit US in autumn

18:51 • 19/07

Ruben Vardanyan buys 50% of Atlanta business forum’s shares

17:19 • 19/07

Putin attacks at Trump's summer critics

16:58 • 19/07

Lewis Hamilton extends contract with Mercedes until 2020

16:52 • 19/07

Yerevan to host Sixth Watermelon Festival on July 22

16:18 • 19/07

Iranian, Armenian foreign ministries hold consular meeting in Tehran

15:57 • 19/07

FIBA bans 13 players after basketball brawl

15:31 • 19/07

State Revenue Committee to ease tax burden for SMEs

14:54 • 19/07

British police halt attack against Theresa May

14:19 • 19/07

Royal Family nicknames revealed

13:58 • 19/07

BBC launches live news streaming on Yahoo Japan

13:47 • 19/07

Kim Kardashian makes million dollars on new fragrance line after spending $0 on advertising  

12:35 • 19/07

Serious test to Armenian-Russian alliance: Pashinyan condemns unannounced drills as sabotage ‘targeting state sovereignty’

11:35 • 19/07

Ryanair cancels 600 flights over cabin crew strike in Belgium, Portugal and Spain, affect potentially almost 50,000 passengers

11:11 • 19/07

Australian PM says Pope must sack archbishop over child sex abuse scandal

10:31 • 19/07

Turkey announces end to state of emergency after two years

10:17 • 19/07

Facebook defends Holocaust deniers’ right to be wrong

10:09 • 19/07

Israel approves controversial ‘Jewish state’ law

09:55 • 19/07

NATO chief says Georgia, not Russia, must decide on NATO membership

09:49 • 19/07

Trump holds Putin ‘responsible’ for election meddling

09:32 • 19/07

UK House of Lords ratifies EU-Armenia agreement

09:11 • 19/07

Khachatur Kokobelyan: United States is interested in boosting investments in Armenia  

18:15 • 18/07

Armenian society ‘enthusiastic’ about new government's social reforms – expert

17:36 • 18/07

Trump says there is 'no time limit' for North Korea to denuclearise

17:26 • 18/07

Richard Mills: US considers increasing assistance to Armenia

16:24 • 18/07

Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110bn in orders at Farnborough

16:02 • 18/07

Russian pranksters' call with Juncker reveals what EU chief thinks about Trump

15:52 • 18/07

Liverpool agree on world record fee for Roma’s Brazilian goalkeeper

15:43 • 18/07

Battle of jets: Putin's lavish plane interior - including gold-plated toilet - is revealed... so how does it compare to Air Force One?

15:25 • 18/07

Trump-Putin summit ‘good restraint’ for powers capitalizing on conflicts – debate

14:02 • 18/07

Russian military base conducts full-scale exercises in Armenia ‘without prior warning’

12:06 • 18/07

Harrison Ford Eyes ‘Call of the Wild’

11:43 • 18/07

Armenian vice premier attends high-level UN political forum in New York

11:08 • 18/07

Google to face Giant Android fine

10:55 • 18/07

Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh 'must enter into political-military cooperation pact'  

10:25 • 18/07

Building collapse in Delhi suburb killing at least two

10:15 • 18/07

Hraparak: Russia has special message for Pashinyan after Brussels summit

09:41 • 18/07

Trump reverses remark on Russia meddling

09:34 • 18/07

Zhamanak: Emergency minister to run for Yerevan mayor?

09:13 • 18/07

ANCA seeks US-Armenia social security Agreement

17:50 • 17/07

Government to submit ‘specific proposals’ to EU, says prime minister’s spokesperson

17:15 • 17/07

Spain captain Ramos proposes to girlfriend

16:58 • 17/07

Armenia’s ‘velvet revolution’ featured in museum exhibits

16:16 • 17/07

George Clooney made $322 million last year to become highest-earning actor in world

15:55 • 17/07

Rolls-Royce building future-style flying taxi 

15:25 • 17/07

President: We have positive outlook on Armenia’s great future

14:27 • 17/07

Pashinyan, Ter-Petrosyan discuss developments in Karabakh peace

13:57 • 17/07

Trump praises Turkey’s Erdogan for ‘doing things the right way’ in defense spending

13:45 • 17/07

Brent crude oil recovers in Asia trade after slumping to 3-month lows

13:28 • 17/07

Russia to ease citizenship rules for Armenians

12:46 • 17/07

Zhamanak: Fight against corruption ‘wasted effort’ to resolve past crimes

11:48 • 17/07

‘Don’t hold US-Russia ties hostage to internal politics’, Putin says after meeting with Trump

11:29 • 17/07

Henry Morgenthau III passes away  

11:19 • 17/07

Judges becoming ‘increasingly independent’ in Armenia, says president of Supreme Judicial Council

09:57 • 17/07

From a 35-arch ancient aqueduct to an eye-popping 20-mile road crossing: World's most incredible bridges revealed

09:29 • 17/07

Flying volcano injures 23 in Hawaii

09:20 • 17/07

Trump under fire after Putin summit

17:59 • 16/07

Trump sits down with Putin after denouncing past US policy on Russia

17:49 • 16/07

How Israel, in dark of night, torched its way to Iran’s nuclear secrets – The New York Times

17:17 • 16/07

Mission: Impossible-Fallout: Critics praise dangerous stunts performed by Tom Cruise who injured his ankle on set

16:53 • 16/07

Pashinyan 'politically inclined to peer-to-peer dialogue’ – diplomat  

16:07 • 16/07

French President Macron meets plenty of fans at World Cup final

15:55 • 16/07

Amazon Prime Day deals ‘deceptive’

15:14 • 16/07

No Armenian-Azerbaijani ministerial talks agreed in Brussels – MFA spokesperson

14:31 • 16/07

Ucom offers more Viasat Family channels to subscribers

14:05 • 16/07

Switalski: EU needs Armenia's 'specific proposals' to revise mutual agenda

12:46 • 16/07

Yerevan city council fails to secure quorom to elect new mayor

12:10 • 16/07

Erdogan: Turkish citizens ‘saved dignity of democracy’ during 2016 coup attempt

10:39 • 16/07

Two fans die as France's World Cup celebrations are marred by police violence

10:33 • 16/07

Italy to allow migrants to land in Sicily

10:05 • 16/07

Iran nuclear deal: US rejects EU plea for lifting sanctions

09:34 • 16/07

Trump calls EU 'foe' of the United States