Sebastian’s regular London Column in the new issue of the German magazine JAZZTHETIK (link to German text below) looks forward to new releases by 2020 releases from two musicians with a family heritage in classical music, Misha Mullov-Abbado and Douglas Marriner:
Among the habitual flood of hundreds of CDs that can be expected in 2020, two with an interesting common thread caught my eye, from musicians who have grown up with a family background at the pinnacle of classical music, but who have chosen to forge their own musical identity – in jazz.
Bassist/composer Misha Mullov-Abbado is the son the classical violinist Viktoria Mullova and of the late conductor Claudio Abbado. He will be releasing an album of violin/bass duos with his mother. And drummer Douglas Marriner, grandson of the founder of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Sir Neville, perhaps the most-recorded classical music ensemble of all time – he is also the son of recently retired solo clarinettist of the London Symphony Orchestra Andrew – will produce his debut CD.
Misha Mullov-Abbado says that he and his mother Viktoria had played music together informally through the years, but that the original idea that they might do concerts as a duo had come from her. His initial reaction had been “the same as the normal reaction you have when someone really good suggests playing with you, which is to ask yourself seriously whether it feels right.” And in this case it did. During the course of his two-year stint as a BBC New Generation Artist, Misha Mullov-Abbado had been working more often alongside classical musicians, and he had the feeling he would now be bringing more to the collaboration. So the first concert happened in Lapland in Finland in April 2019, and they have proceeded to build a concert repertoire. “It includes classical arrangements, jazz works, quite a lot of Brazilian music and my own compositions,” says Misha. The album should be released in April or May.
Whereas Mullov-Abbado has literally stayed close to his family, Douglas Marriner moved to New York at around 20 and has lived there for the past nine years. He studied at the Juilliard School and now teaches there. Marriner combines a range of freelance activity with a regular slot in an American institution, “Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks”, a band with a huge repertoire and a legacy going back to Paul Whiteman. One notable influence on him has been the great Billy Hart. Marriner talks with excitement about a mentoring arrangement that has echoes of a traditional apprenticeship and perhaps even echoes of father-son: “A ‘lesson’ could be spending 8 hours with him as he made a recording. I would set up his drums for him. He is he hardest working touring musician I know, and the most generous and warm-hearted man.” And what about the album? “Wait and see,” says Douglas.