Paul Arslanian is a professional pianist, composer, and dance accompanist. In San Francisco during the 1970s, he led his own jazz and Latin ensembles, was composer and pianist for Bishop Norman Williams, recorded with such notables as Pepper Adams, Pharaoh Sanders, Dave Liebman, Woody Shaw, and Bill Summers, and backed up Freddy Hubbard and Terri Gibbs. In 1979, Paul co-founded the Jazz Tap Ensemble, and as music director, worked with Honi Coles, Foster Johnson, Cookie Cook, Eddie Brown, Harold and Fayard Nicholas, and many other tap greats. Since relocating to the East in 1984, Paul has continued and expanded his musical explorations. He has been pianist for the Archie Shepp Quartet, and released a recording entitled,It’s The Feeling That Counts. Paul has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as music director for numerous productions, including Dance Umbrella’sFascinating Rhythms tour which featured Savion Glover and Jimmy Slyde.
Paul has also been music director for Tapestry, as well as for the Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival. In 1999, Paul composed music for Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker and in 2008 composed music for Off the Beaten Path: a Jazz and Tap Odyssey, which was funded in part by a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Paul’s jazz compositions have been recorded by George Coleman, John Hicks, Roy Hargrove, Rene Roznes, and Bertha Hope. His compositions for theater include works for the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, and People’s Light and Theater Company of Philadelphia.
Paul has been a lecturer in dance and accompanist for the Dance Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 1999.
Performance with Tap Dancer Josh Hilberman “Heeling Powers” (2009):
Interview: Northhampton Jazz Workshop (2014):
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