Contemporary jazz with world beat overtones aptly describes the music of Canadian/Armenian multi-instrumentalist/composer Levon Ichkhanian. A third generation musician and artist of great versatility, Levon is proficient on the fretted and fretless guitars,oud, bouzouki and banjitar. Levon's musical odyssey first took shape in Lebanon.
He studied classical guitar under the direction of his uncle, Professor Joseph Ichkhanian. At the age of twelve, his family immigrated to Canada. One year later, he gravitated to the electric guitar and began his professional performing career, playing in a band with his jazz pianist father Edouard. Levons first professional gig was at the age of 13 with Adiss, the pioneer modern Armenian singer).
Levon's talent was sufficiently recognized throughout his formative years by various awards, most notably by the Canadian All Star Jazz Award received at the age of sixteen. Private studies with many different teachers followed suit, as did several scholarships, in particular one bestowed by the Ontario Arts Council, granting him the opportunity to attend workshops at the University of Toronto. Later, Levon had the opportunity to study with world renowned musicians Pat Martino, Jim Hall Steve Khan and Simon Shaheen.
Years of study and practical experience behind him, Levon shares his knowledge conducting World / Jazz Improvisation clinics, and has published music articles in Guitar Player and Canadian Musician magazines, to name a few.
Levon has toured throughout Canada, the Middle East, Brazil and the United States where he has played in clubs, concert halls and at international festivals, such as Peter Gabriel's WOMAD, MIDEM (Cannes), Chet Atkins Musicians Days Concerts (Nashville) and the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has performed with Mark Egan, Danny Gottleib and Muriel Anderson, along side Liona Boyd, and was featured in PizzaExpress' (London, England) Guitar Masters Series, which included Birelli Lagrene, Larry Coryell and Martin Taylor. Most recently he has toured throughout North America and Europe with peter Murphy (former frontman of the band Bauhaus).
His career as a session guitarist has provided him with recording opportunities for a wide variety of musical situations. He co-led a CD "Kick-n' Jazz", with master drummer Bernard Pretty Purdie (Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Jeff Beck), has played on JUNO nominated projects, and recorded with producer/composer Kenni Hairston (Vanessa Williams, Cyndi Lauper, Freddie Jackson, Cameo), and recently recorded with Jolly Mukherjee for singer/songwriter Hariharan from India. Levon has also branched out into the film world, scoring and performing all instruments to the soundtrack of acclaimed Canadian filmmaker, Atom Egoyan's "Looking for Nothing". His guitar playing is featured on the soundtracks for films "You Can't Beat a Woman" (by Gail Singer) and the Canadian Film Centre's "Hockey Game". He has appeared on Bet on Jazz (the 24 Hour Jazz Station) and has been featured on the CBC, TNN, TVO, CITY TV and Global Television.
With this wealth of experience, the decision to record a CD of his own was inevitable. His debut, "after hours", blends Armenian/Middle Eastern melodies with contemporary jazz, featuring instruments from around the world, including the doudouk (Armenian wind instrument), tabla, bouzouki, and accordion. Featured musicians include Grammy award winners world renown artists John Patitucci (bass) and Paquito D'Rivera (sax/clarinet). Distributed by Mediterrano Productions, "after hours" was an Armenian Music Award nominee for Best Jazz Album, and reached #1 Indie and Top 10 Jazz on HMV Charts
Levons follow up C.D. Travels winner of the best in jazz/fusion category 2002 Armenian Music Awards is a collection of Levons compositions encompassing styles from Middle Eastern to Brazilian grooves and melodies, and features Alain Caron on fretless bass and Ernie Tollar on Ney and Bansuri flutes.
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