Review / Description
Souren Baronian‘s musical career has spanned over five decades and incorporates two vastly different yet compatible musical traditions: Middle Eastern and jazz. An Armenian-American from New York, Souren studied G-clarinet with Turkish master Safet Gundeger and saxophone with jazz mentor Lennie Tristano. He is also an accomplished percussionist, playing dumbek (hand drum) and riq (tambourine). Souren has traveled widely in the U.S. and around the world, teaching workshops and at music camps and playing with the Transition trio or with his fusion group Taksim. Souren is also a composer in both the Middle Eastern and jazz idioms. This live concert recording, which presents mostly Armenian folk music, includes three of Souren’s original jazz fusion compositions as well as one original Armenian tune.
Haig Manoukian, born of Armenian heritage in Virginia and a long-time resident of New York, is a self-taught musician who is a master of the oud, an 11-string fretless instrument used throughout the Middle East. Haig cut his musical teeth in the famous Middle Eastern clubs on 8th Avenue in New York in the 1970s and played there with many of the most influential Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Arabic musicians of the day. Souren met and began playing with Haig around this time, and in the early 1970s they recorded their seminal album Middle Eastern Soul. In 1975, Souren, Haig and others formed the jazz fusion group Taksim, and a decade later the Transition trio was also born. Their musical collaboration has continued ever since. Haig maintains a busy schedule performing and teaching throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East.
Cornelia Kraft, born and raised in Switzerland, performed for many years as a singer, guitarist and percussionist with a three-sister ensemble called Sarena Duga that played folk music from different parts of the world. She met Souren at a Balkan music and dance camp in 1984 and soon thereafter joined forces with Souren and Haig to form the group Transition. Their first gig was at the Gurten Festival in Bern, Switzerland, where they were an immediate success. They branched out to different locations in Europe and have been traveling the world ever since. Cornelia sings and plays dumbek and teaches as well as performs throughout Europe and the U.S.