Dec 20, 2011

Vladimir Shafranov, a multinational jazz pianist based in the Åland Islands, brought Lena Bloch on saxophone and Putter Smith on bass to the intimate salon-like atmosphere of the Salmagundi Club last week.

Vladimir Shafranov was educated in Leningrad Conservatory on violin and piano. Already as a teenager he began playing jazz at the local scene, much to dismay of his teachers. He emigrated to Israel in 1973 and then to Finland in 1974.

While in Finland he was one of the most in demand pianist especially accompanying visiting Americans. Greatly encouraged by many of them to move to New York he did so in 1983 and was very active in Manhattan Jazz Scene playing at clubs such as Bradley’s, Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Village Gate among others. He was a duo partner with bassists like Ron Carter, Red Mitchell, George Mraz, and Buster Williams, led trios with Ron Carter-Al Foster, Rufus Reid, Victor Lewis, George Mraz, and Albert “Tootie” Heath to name but a few.

He also played with many top soloists such as Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer, Clifford Jordan, George Coleman, Pepper Adams and accompanied singers such as Carmen McRae, Ernestine Anderson, Etta Jones, and Jimmy Scott. Since 1998 he and his family settled on Åland Islands and has become one of best-selling jazz pianists in Japan having released 11 CD’s and a DVD. His latest release is “I’ll Close My Eyes” (2010) featuring Jesper Lundgaard on bass.

These seasoned musicians drew a respectable audience who listened attentively and took it all in with pleasure. Several of our performers have noted that our audiences tend to be serious listeners – no talking and clinking of glasses in the background! We hope to hear them again soon.

A pleasant surprise was Shafranov inviting his friend, jazz singer Jeannine Otis, from the audience to participate in two songs towards the end of the program!