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Simon Nabatov

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Simon Nabatov, a remarkable jazz pianist and composer, was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1959. Since his father was a musician, Nabatov's first steps into the world of music came very early. At the tender age of three he began learning to play the piano; by his sixth birthday he was composing. He later attended the Central School of Music, and next the Moscow Conservatory. His preference, and talent, for jazz was soon evident to all. In 1979, Nabatov crossed the threshold into the professional world of jazz in a little club in Rome. He performed there in place of pianist Dick Wellstood. A year later, Nabatov entered New York's famous Juilliard School of Music, made possible because his family had left Moscow and settled in the United States. In 1984, only a year out of music school, Keyboard Magazine named Nabatov as Best Pianist. Over the following years, Nabatov worked with many well-known jazz artists like Kenny Wheeler, Chet Baker, Sonny Fortune, Ray Anderson, George Adams, Mark Feldman, and Attila Zoller. Nabatov also performed with the Perry Robinson Quartet, the Klaus König Orchestra, and the Ray Anderson Quartet, among others. In 1985, Nabatov won second place in the International Great Jazz Pianist Competition in the United States. The next year, he recorded the album Circle the Line with bassist Ed Schuller and drummer Paul Motian. Two years later, ENJA Records released his album Inside Looking Out. In 1989, Nabatov left New York to move to Cologne, Germany. That same year he won third place in the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition in France. He has also been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant. The album For All the Marbles Suite, recorded under the ASP label, hit the stores in 1991. The Switzerland-based Hatology label released Sneak Preview. In 1993 Nabatov recorded Tough Customer with drummer Tom Rainey and bassist Mark Helias. The album featured unique tracks like "Sage," "Puzzled," and "Simple Simon." During his career, Nabatov has also been a teacher, working at schools such as the Folkwang Hochschule, the International Jazz and Rock Academy, and the Musikhochschule Luzern. ~ Charlotte Dillon

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1959 in Moscow, Russia

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s