Oleg Butman

Jazz With Harp: “The Magic of Jazz”

The Jazz With Harp «The Magic of Jazz» is a new experiment by one of the most creative Russian Jazz duos, Oleg Butman and Natalia Smirnova and is the first Russian jazz project featuring a harp.

The goal of this project is to combine the sentimental, tender and mystical harp sound with the passion, pressure and drive of a vigorous jazz group. In a jazz band, the harp could play the guitar part (there are actually harpists who play Flamenco and Latin), but Oleg and Natalia decided for an entirely individual role for this instrument that perfectly accompanies the grand piano and the guitar. Those three harmonic instruments enrich the music with their own voices without disturbing each other.

Jazz With Harp, The Magic of Jazz

The project features the famous harpist Anneya who is from a renowned family of harpists where she graduated from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. She is a constant guest in various experimental projects, and has composed original songs in a genre that is hard to define since it combines ethnic melodies, electronic rhythms and jazz harmonies.

In addition to all that, Anneya is a good singer and participated in the Russian version of «The Voice» competition. Oleg met her in 2005 while working on a symphonic jazz project. 10 years later, Oleg and Natalia decided to compose a jazz program with the harp, and Oleg’s choice was clear.

«Anneya is one of the few harpists who knows jazz harmony, improvisation, and is open to free music-making», Oleg said. «Anneya and I have similar temperaments, and we perfectly complement each other in this project. It is great that she sings as well. As a result, we can improvise in different genres; Anneya sings ethnic songs, while I sing jazz», Natalia added.

«The Magic of Jazz» combines original compositions, well-known jazz standards, folk songs and classical pieces. It is a completely new chapter in the Russian jazz; it is a unique concept that will surely «whet the appetite» of jazz fans and music lovers.

In an interview for the M24 TV channel, Oleg Butman said: «During 30 years of my jazz performing I’ve never had an opportunity to play with a harp, neither in Russia, nor in the USA and Europe. The harp has enriched my music, and in the near future I would really like to introduce this project to the international audience.

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