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Famed Russian composer and producer Yury Chernavsky discusses his early years on the Russian jazz circuit, discovering production and electronics and creating new music behind the Iron Curtain. #RBMA

4:14 – Early years as a jazz musician and orchestra member
10:28 – Muslim Magomayev and experimentation in the Russian jazz world
25:53 – The end of the jazz era and moving into production
39:28 – Electronic experimentation and Banana Islands

When Yury Chernavsky began work as a music producer in late ’70s USSR, there was little around him to draw inspiration from and so he looked to the advances and innovations happening in the West. His career began in the late ’60s as a jazz musician, playing the violin and saxophone as a member of various orchestras, including ensembles led by Russian jazz stars Oleg Lundstrem and Leonid Utyosov as well as Muslim Magomayev’s State Jazz Orchestra of Azerbaijan. Inspired by Coltrane, Count Basie and Quincy Jones, Chernavsky worked the concert circuit for over a decade before moving into musical direction, composition and production. In the ’80s he emerged as one of Russia’s first modern-day music producers, working with rock and pop groups as well as experimenting with early synthesizer and studio technologies. In 1983 he recorded Banana Islands with Vesyolye Rebyata [Jolly Fellows], one of the first Russian rock albums to gain international attention, and three years later he founded SPM Record, Russia’s first independent music and entertainment company and host of the first discos in Russia, and acted as musical director for the Goodwill Games.

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