Vlad West

Obituary of Vlad West

Vlad West (aka Vladimir Sermakashev), age 86, of New York,NY, passed away Monday, May 1, 2023 at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Vlad was born April 5, 1937, in Baku, Azerbaijan, to the late Leon Sermakashev and the late Galina Babalyan.

Vlad was a child prodigy. He studied piano from the age of three, was composing at the Baku Conservatory from the age of five, as well as arranging and playing solo piano concerts alongside his well-known professors.  He later earned a Bachelors of Engineering Technology degree.  Vlad married the love of his life, Linda Kunkin, on February 26, 1981. Together they raised their daughter, Laura, whom he adored

Vlad spent his career as a musician and composer. He shared the stage with legends such as Duke Ellington, Gerry Mulligan, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Tony Scott, Earle Warren, among many others. Vlad released a multitude of Jazz albums. He was also the inspiration, music and story consultant for the movie "Moscow On The Hudson" (Columbia Pictures) starring Robin Williams. He was recognized for his work, receiving awards from ASCAP and International Jazz Festivals, as well as being featured in Down Beat and Jazz Times.

To Vlad, music was his life. He always lived with a passion: tenor sax and piano. In addition to music, Vlad was a professional soccer player in Baku and enjoyed playing soccer with his son-in-law, Greg.  Most of all, he loved spending time with his family.

Vlad will be forever missed by his wife, Linda Kunkin; daughter, Laura Karolewski (nee West); and son-in-law, Gregory Karolewski.

Vlad is predeceased by his parents, Leon Sermakashev and Galina Babalyan; and brother, Yuri Tushinsky.

Cremation was held privately under the care of Martin Funeral Home, Clinton NJ. To send condolences to the family please visit www.martinfh. Flowers may be sent to 24 Rymon Rd., Washington, NJ, 07882.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Vlad
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Martin Funeral Home
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