Souren Baronian’s Taksim
Considered the “Prez of Armenian- American musicians,” 93 years young reedman and percussionist Souren Baronian’s playing and composing is a true synthesis of jazz and authentic Near Eastern music, something which is born of his extensive experience in both areas. Growing up in Spanish Harlem, he trained with the renowned Turkish master Safet Gundeger as well as with the legendary Lennie Tristano and has recorded with jazz artists, Phil Woods, Don Jerry, Joe Beck, Arnie Lawrence, Carla Bley, Paul Motian, Joe Farrel, Steve Gadd, Armen Donelian and others, while continuing to lead ethnic ensembles in performance and on recordings. In 1975, Baronian assembled a quintet of kindred spirits capable of pursuing his musical vision, and named this group “Taksim,” a word which in the Near East refers to improvised melodic exploration. Before long, Souren and his band were surprising audiences regularly at important jazz venues in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, and earned a glowing review from Downbeat Magazine. Now enjoying their fifth decade of critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, Taksim features Souren Baronian, G clarinet, duduk, kaval; Adam Good, oud; Paul Brown, acoustic bass; Mal Stein, drums; and Lee Baronian, doumbek.