CLIFF HABIAN BIO

The Los Angeles Times jazz critic, Leonard Feather, said in a CD review: “Cleveland has an engaging eclectic in Habian, everything switches around from cut to cut:  the size of the band, the genre of the music, the source of Habian’s inspiration”.  Since that review, Cliff has remained true to those words.

He began piano lessons at the age of nine and was composing music just a few years later, drawing on both classical and jazz influences. He decided early on to integrate the two genres into his own unique style. A multifarious pianist, Cliff can play in virtually any style and performs comfortably with groups as well as in solo performances.

After attending the Cleveland Institute of Music as a composition major, he accepted a position as Director of American Music and Department Head of Keyboards Studies at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where he taught for 13 years.

He has worked with such greats as Joe Lovano, Freddie Cole, Frank Morgan,
Jane Ira Bloom, Trent Reznor (NIN), Dion, Freddy Cole, Wayne Newton and Bobby Vinton, Dion and many others in addition to appearing on “Good Morning America”, and opened for such jazz legends as Mel Lewis and Dave Brubeck. He has performed for many celebrities ranging from Wilt Chamberlain to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Hal Holbrook and Larry King. Cliff also met with the great pianist Lang Lang and performed for him receiving the comment "I can't believe how versatile you are" .

His two landmark recordings, ”Tonal Paintings” and “Manhattan Bridge” were released international and in the U.S. on Milestone/Fantasy.  They consist of primarily of original compositions.  He has appeared in concert and on tour around the globe - including Russia, Thailand, Panama and elsewhere.  Cliff has appeared in jazz festivals and educational clinics across United States.  In the 90’s through the present, Cliff released two albums on the Azica Record label (internationally) “Havana Sunset” and “Originals” which garnered critical acclaim.  Reviews of Cliff’s recordings have come from the U.S., Europe, Asia South America and India.


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Locally, Cliff regularly has performed or is performing at Club Isabella in University Circle, Johnny’s Downtown, Nordstrom in Beachwood, Nighttown In Cleveland Heights as well as The Cabin, Johnny’s on Fulton and Taza in Cleveland.  He also performs for retirement community Centers such as Wiggin’s Place, Menorah Park, Stone Gardens and Meyers Place in Beachwood.

Recently Cliff became a “piano coach to the stars” when he was asked to coach child actress/star Yara Shahidi for her piano playing part in the movie “I, Alex Cross”. Cliff is also cited in the encyclopedia of Cleveland history published by CWRU. Cliff is now a published author with the release of his book "Jazz Piano Essentials."


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