It’s with a heavy heart that we report the death of legendary Australian musician Dr. Allan Zavod, who had been battling brain cancer for some time.
Allan’s contribution to music both locally and on an international level is immense. As a pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and conductor, there was little in music he didn’t achieve.
Allan was helping to break down music barriers in the 70s and 80s, pioneering classical jazz fusion with Jean Luc Ponty and also spent a year touring and recording with the great Frank Zappa.
Esteemed USA jazz magazine Downbeat named Zavod one of the top 10 keyboardists of the 80s. From studying at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, he later became a Professor there.
Allan wrote for theatre and orchestras worldwide and composed film scores, one with rock legend Eric Clapton.
He performed with superstars like George Benson, Sting, Nigel Kennedy and so many more.
In December last year the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra paid tribute to Allan with a performance of his extraordinary work, The Environmental Symphony, which was narrated by acting icon Jack Thompson.
Allan contributed to Australian Musician magazine from the very first issue and continued to write a regular jazz piano lesson and conducted many interviews with his international music legend friends for us.
On a personal note, I’ll never forget the many phone calls spent editing his regular jazz piano lessons he prepared for the magazine. Until we could hook him up with Sibelius software, Allan used to supply hand written music notation for his Australian Musician lessons. As someone who cannot read music, I’ll never forget the many humorous phone conversations with him, as I’d try to decipher his written genius and arrive at some kind of graphic representation of his work that I could understand before publishing.
Our thoughts are with Allan’s wife Chris and son Zak. Rest in peace Allan … thank you for the music … you’ll be truly missed.
Greg Phillips – Editor, Australian Musician
Here’s a clip of Allan playing keys for Jean-Luc Ponty at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1982