Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Japaridze, David

Japaridze, David, percussion; b. Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, 25 July 1954. His father was father was Shota Japaridze and he worked at the theater as a technical engineer. Mother is Helen Kevkhishvili, medical doctor.

The country I was born in was one of the Republics of the Soviet Union. My country had a big tradition of Georgian folk songs. I was very much interested in music, especially in its rhythmical part and that was one of the reasons why my parents decided to give me necessary education (classical music). In 1963 I started to study in special music school, but from the beginning my major subject was piano. During my studies at music school I was interested to play percussion as well as drums and any rhythmical instrument. I should mention that the Soviet Union was very much different country with its communist regime and everything has its influence, including art and music. Consequently jazz, (which was my favorite music) was absolutely prohibited in the Soviet Union as it was based mainly on improvisation and rhythm, which was unaccepted in this country. I was very much interested to play percussion but physically it was impossible to find the instrument in my country. So I decided to make one by myself and started to study jazz by listening to different recordings. I should say that I was the first musician who played on percussion instruments professionally in Georgia. In 1971 I continued my professional studies in Conservatory of Tbilisi, department of drums, simultaneously I was working in State Television Department of Georgia where I established the jazz group, which participated in many jazz festivals later in different cities, Like: Moscow, Riga, Donetsk, Tbilisi. Later this jazz group participated in the international jazz festivals such as "Jazz Yatra" in India, in 1982, "Jazz Festival in Istambul" in 1982, "Singapur Jazz Festival" in 1986, "Moscow Jazz Festival" in 1984, "International Festival in San Tander" Spain in 1994, "Ancara Music Festival" in Turkey in 1998, and "Jazz Festival in Armneia" Yerevan  in 2000. He  participated in music projects, such as a joint Georgian-British project together with the composer Keith Tippett. This was a project organized by South West in association with Bath Festival and the Georgian State Concert Organization. We had a concert in London in Jazz cafe. The name of the concert was "Jazz Mujician and Georgian Ensemble. This project was recorded by BBC in 1991. He also did a joint project with French composer and pianist Michel Legrand, concerts in New York, in 1996. He did a joint project in Tbilisi in December 1997, where he played together with John Abercrombie, D. Gotlieb, Igor Butman.
In 2002 Bob Mintzer and his band visited Tbilisi, Gergia on International Jazz Festival and Georgian Big band played together with US band: Bob Mintzer, Phil Markowitz, Jay Anderson and John Riley. At present he works in the Tbilisi Concert Orchestra, under the supervision of the conductor Givi Gachechiladze.

My wife, Tinatin Magradze is the specialist of English language and she works at the US Embassy in Tbilisi. We have one daughter who is seven years old. She tries to play percussion but this is on the level of entertainment for her. She is a ballet dancer and participated in two ballets staged in opera house in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Jazz festival in Tbilisi (1978); Jazz in Moscow (1985); Keith Tippett (1991); Thank you music (with Tamar Gverdsiteli, 1995); Night City (1999); Pantomima (2000); Horoscope (2002); The Georgians Play Jazz (2003)

Films and videos:
Movies: Documental movie "TV_JAZZ" - 1986
Video concert played together with John Abercrombie, D.Gotlieb, Igor Butman - 1999
Bob Mintzer, Phil Markowitz, Jay Anderseon, John Riley - 2002.

Article on 1997 concert with John Abercrombie, New York Times, New York, Monday, April 29, 1996.
Books, where his biography together with achievements is published: "Soviet Jazz. Problems. Events. Masters", published in Moscow "Soviet Composers" - in 1987.

The best player of percussion - in 1980
Honorary medal of the Jazz festival in Armenia for active participation in jazz development in the Caucasus region.

Contact information:
E-mail: magradzet@state.gove or tinamagradze@yahoo.com

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