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date: 07 December 2019

Avakian, George locked

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(b Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919). Record producer and writer of Armenian descent. He grew up in New York, played piano (from 1930), and studied English literature at Yale University (BA 1941); while a student he began to work as a jazz critic for Tempo (1937). Later he was a contributing editor on jazz to Mademoiselle and Pic (1946–8), contributed to Esquire’s 1947 Jazz Book, and, with W. E. Schaap, revised and enlarged Charles Delaunay’s Hot Discography for its first American edition (1948). He wrote articles for Down Beat and Metronome and provided numerous liner notes for jazz albums. Avakian produced the pioneering documentary jazz album Chicago Jazz (1939–40) for Decca, and in early 1940 began to work for Columbia, where he established a series of jazz reissues. After four years of military service he returned to Columbia as a full-time record producer for jazz and popular music; he was director of the international department and later head of the popular album department. In ...

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