Tigran Hamasyan – New Era (2008)

Tigran Hamasyan - New Era (2008)
Artist: Tigran Hamasyan
Album: New Era
Genre: Contemporary Jazz, World Fusion
Origin: Armenia
Released: 2008
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
01. Part 1 – Homesick
02. Part 2 – New Era
03. Leaving Paris
04. Aparani Par (Aparan Dance)
05. Well, You Needn’t
06. Memories From Hankavan And Now
07. Gypsyology
08. Zada Es (You’re an ill-fated girl)
09. Solar
10. Forgotten World

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Tigran Hamasyan has been fascinated with music since the age of two. Born in Gyumri (Armenia) in 1987, he caught the jazz bug at age seven and was soon playing piano and experimenting with improvisation. Studying music formally and practicing constantly, Hamasyan also immersed himself in his native land’s rich folk music, which he incorporated into his jazz performances. He won prizes in a number of music contests, though his crowning achievement was his first-place award in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition.

Bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Louis Moutin join him for his second CD, where he shows off his tremendous chops without overpowering the listener, as many a young jazz virtuoso has done in the past. He opens the disc with a two-part piece—the thunderous post-bop “Homesick” and the hypnotic title track, the latter building upon a vamp and gradually growing in intensity, using electronic keyboards for color.

By contrast, his “Leaving Paris” is a somber romantic waltz. The traditional Armenian folk song “Aparani Par” celebrates harvest time, wildly alternating between 14/8 and 5/4 time signatures, adding Vardan Grigoryan on duduk and shivi. Hamasyan’s loopy, reggae-accented arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” is humorous, and he takes quite a few liberties with Miles Davis’ “Solar” by altering its rhythmic structure and using its theme as a launching pad for his driving improvisation. The leader introduces his infectious “Gypsyology” on organ before returning to piano, conjuring images of a giant outdoor celebration centered on a circle of dancers.

Hamasyan’s ability to blend so many musical influences makes New Era stand out from the flood of new CDs.
By KEN DRYDEN

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