Ivan Nikolayevich Smirnov (Russian: Иван Николаевич Смирнов), born 9 September 1955 in Russia, is regarded as one of the greatest guitar players in Russia. He plays many different styles like fusion, folk, Russian folk, jazz, and flamenco. Smirnov lives in Russia and plays with musicians such as Michael Smirnov, Sergey Klevensky, Dmitry Safonov, and Alexei Kozlov.
His artistic development seems rather characteristic of that time’s soviet musicians’ generation. He starts to play guitar in his early teens, then enters a musical college (where one might take only classic, folk or, at the best, pop guitar courses) but drops his studies. He prefers playing a more interesting kind of music, working with amateur and semiprofessional bands.

1975 Smirnov co-works with a Moscow fusion-band «Second Breath», the latter subsequently considered to be a key band that contributed to the Russian jazz-rock phenomenon formation. 1979, on giving up «Second Breath» he joins Eduard Artemyev’s experimental electronic music ensemble. From 1984 till 1990 Smirnov cooperates with the most known USSR jazz-rock band, Alexei Kozlov’s «Arsenal». The band, being directed by one of the most powerful and authoritarian personalities on the soviet stage included best musicians of the time and surely could have claimed for an international fame but for the state’s policy. Still, even under conditions of the Iron Curtain, «Arsenal» managed to make a lot. It is when being a member of the band that Ivan Smirnov made the first note in his discography: 1986 the «Pulse-3» record gets released.

The beginning of the 90’s grew to be a breaking point: Smirnov starts his own career and changes his electric guitar for an acoustic one, although having on his rank-list numerous titles of a «nation’s best fusion guitarist». The decision the artist made in his late thirties was taken by his colleagues and fans for an odd and incomprehensible one. Anyway, in a couple of months Smirnov showed that he apparently had been going towards this very decision for his whole life. The move let him be what he is today — one of the most authentic, influential and famous Russian musicians. Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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