Claude Tchamitchian was born in Paris on 28 December 1960. Everyone in the family played music, his father had been a pupil of Alfred Corto and his mother and brothers were all amateur pianists so he was brought up in a very stimulating atmosphere, where his parents constantly preferred to put all their spare money into a new record or book or tickets for a live show. He didn't feel the urge to play himself until he was twenty years old, although he'd experienced his first musical shock at the age of fifteen, when he discovered John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. Thanks to the family record library, he listened to all sorts of jazz from it's earliest beginnings, and spent a vast amount of time exploring this universe that was gradually opening up for him. After listening over and over again to the likes of Paul Chambers, Henry Grimes, Charlie Mingus and a bit later on, Barre Phillips, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden and Henri Texier, he finally decided to take up the double bass.