Claude Tchamitchian

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Parisian bassist Claude Tchamitchian belongs to the generation of musicians that arose in the early 1990s and redefined the French new jazz in the footsteps of Louis Sclavis. Comfortable in free improvisation…
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Parisian bassist Claude Tchamitchian belongs to the generation of musicians that arose in the early 1990s and redefined the French new jazz in the footsteps of Louis Sclavis. Comfortable in free improvisation settings but still embracing the jazz tradition, Tchamitchian's playing is well-rounded and graceful, melodious yet creative. His main project as a leader is his group, Lousadzak, and he plays sideman duties for Stéphan Oliva, Eric Watson, Raymond Boni, François Corneloup, Yves Robert, and Rémi Charmasson on a regular basis. His credits also include live appearances alongside Jimmy Giuffre and Joe McPhee. He directs the creative jazz label Émouvance and is active as an educator.

Tchamitchian (b. 1960) comes from a family of musicians with Armenian roots. Self-taught at first and immersed in jazz at a young age, he eventually studied with Joseph Fabre at the Conservatoire d'Avignon. That's where he met André Jaume and Rémi Charmasson, with whom he recorded his first sessions (Piazza di Luna with Jaume's quintet in 1989, the duo album Caminando with Charmasson in 1990). After recording albums with the Stéphan Oliva Trio (Novembre, awarded a Django d'Or in 1993) and Yves Robert (Tout Court, Tout de Suite), he released his first solo album, Jeu d'Enfants, in 1993. The same year he put together Lousadzak, which started out as a septet. The name comes from an Armenian word meaning "the emergence of light."

The production of Lousadzak's eponymous debut became the incentive to put together his own production company and record label. Émouvance was incepted in October 1994 and Lousadzak became its first release. Appointed to the National Scene of St-Quentin-en-Yvelines (near Versailles), Tchamitchian has worked extensively between 1995 and 1999 in bringing avant-garde jazz to the masses while teaching double bass and improvisation to advanced students. In 1998, Lousadzak grew into the orchestra Grand Lousadzak, releasing Bassma Suite, and in 2001 the 18-piece Acoustic Lousadzak (both projects received government support). Meanwhile the bassist teamed up with old pals Charmasson and Jullian, a trio that continues to perform and has recorded L'Ombre de la Pluie, released in late 2002.