George Garanian, Russian Armenian jazz band leader, dies at age 75

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Russian alto saxophone player, conductor, and composer of Armenian origin George Garanian died aged 75 years last Monday at a hospital in Krasnodar, where he planned some concerts together with Michel Legrand and a city big band.

George Garanian was born in 1934 in Moscow. In the 1950s he played in the Orchestra of the Central House of Artworkers. He wrote music for a number of films including Pokrov Gates.

He led some of the best Russian big bands — "Golden Eight", Melodia (1970–80s), Moscow Big Band (1992–95) and the Municipal Big Band of Krasnodar (since 1998) and Oleg Lundstrem State Jazz Orchestra (since 2005).

He was a TV anchor of Jam-5 jazz history programme on Russian Channel Culture. He was also a member of the Union of Composers since 1975, Union of Cinematographers since 1996, Laureate of the Russian State Prize in 2000.

The announced concert in Krasnodar won't be canceled; his colleagues will perform in his honour tomorrow. He will be buried at Vagankovo (Moscow) on Thursday.