All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

30

Tigran Hamasyan: For Gyumri

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Even on this shorter album, Armenian pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan displays a tireless ambition with his compositions, performances and eclectic approach. Over the course of his career, this young artist has released a wildly diverse stylistic set of releases that portray his eclectic and sometimes contrasting music tastes. The muse knows no borders or limits for this gifted pianist. While his first releases—starting with World Passion (Nocturne Records, 2006), and New Era (Blu Jazz, 2007)—showcased his considerable talent in jazz, his third and breakthrough album Aratta Rebirth (Plus Loin, 2009) portrayed his taste for composing works of a true fusion nature. It's here that he began fusing his love for jazz with traditional melodies from his native Armenia. Since then his worldview expanded considerably and he has relentlessly followed his muse where the rich and timeless musical heritage of his homeland would serve as constant inspiration for his music, regardless how eclectic and diverse it has become.

Named after the city of his birth, Gyumri in Armenia, For Gyumri follows Hamasayan's 2017 release, Ancient Observer (Nonesuch Records). While primarily focused on the jazz universe, his compositions seamlessly integrate Armenian melodies and traditions with classical, ambient and even heavy metal noise, and past works such as Mockroot (Nonesuch, 2015), Luys i Luso (ECM, 2015), Atmospheres (ECM, 2016) and Ancient Observer capture a depth of vision far beyond Hamasyan's years. All of these works showcase a compositional approach which is open-minded, and full of nuance and intrigue.

The compositions he wrote for this album boast well-conceived, vocal-oriented melodies and sophisticated changes. What is evident is that he is a player of great subtlety writing songs full of emotive melodic hooks. "Aragatz" is the highest mountain in Armenia and is the also the name of the city's local soccer club. It is also the title of the album's opening track. It is characterized by an easy and warm melodic grace and hummable vocal melodies, including little details subdued within the harmonies that evoke '70s soul jazz. "Ray of Light" is a beautiful and poignant ballad where the melodies have been subtly embellished and manipulated with the help of electronics for the purpose of achieving a shimmering and layered cinematic effect. It has melodic wanderings that are complemented by moments of harmonic peace and clarity.

All throughout Hamasyan plays with vibrant elegance and exquisite subtlety, especially when he embellishes his piano lines with resonant Armenian folk motifs. "The American" starts as a lovely understated ballad but soon picks up the pace with its lilting, swirling melodies. Built around pulsing rhythmic patterns at moments, it is delirious with feeling and fun. "Self Portrait" is a burst of playful notes infused with kinetic, playful energy. It's one of the album's more upbeat and exuberant pieces and is based on darting, tightly executed patterns. The album bookends with the beautiful folkish ballad "Revolving—Prayer." It's the longest track on this release and it brings out a lyricism and sense of drama. There is a strong life-force that seems to flow through this music.

For Gyumri is a loving tribute to his home city. While it's not a jazz album in any strict sense, there is a freedom and openness to the music. It doesn't always reach for epic dimensions; and it is fine because of that. It is still a deeply absorbing and beautifully-recorded album.

Track Listing: Aragatz; Rays of Light; The American; Self-Portrait 1; Revolving - Prayer.

Personnel: Tigran Hamasyan: piano, voices, post production.

Title: For Gyumri | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
For Gyumri

For Gyumri

Nonesuch Records
2018

buy
Atmosphères

Atmosphères

ECM Records
2016

buy
Atmosphères

Atmosphères

ECM Records
2016

buy
Mockroot

Mockroot

Nonesuch Records
2015

buy
Luys I Luso

Luys I Luso

ECM Records
2015

buy
Shadow Theater

Shadow Theater

Verve international
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Sheroes" CD/LP/Track Review Sheroes
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 6, 2018
Read "Borderline Inspirations" CD/LP/Track Review Borderline Inspirations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Still Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "New Chapter" CD/LP/Track Review New Chapter
by Jim Olin
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "One of a Kind" CD/LP/Track Review One of a Kind
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "The Groove Cubed" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Cubed
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 29, 2017