Tigran Hamasyan Trio: New Era (2007)
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 piecethe 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.
Track Listing: Part 1: Homesick; Part 2: New Era; Leaving Paris; Aparani Par (The Dance of Aparan); Well, You Needn't; Memories from Hankavan and Now; Gypsyology; Zada Es; Solar; Forgotten World.
Personnel: Tigran Hamasyan: piano, keyboards; Francois Moutin: acoustic bass; Louis Moutin: drums; Vardan Grigoryan: duduk (4,8), shvi (4), zurna(8).
Record Label: Nocturne