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Tigran Hamasyan: New Era

Glenn Astarita By

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Armenian-born pianist Tegran Hamasyan is a striking talent, corresponding to his 2006 win of the Thelonious Monk piano competition. And with the Moutin brothers providing the largely peppy rhythms, the leader of this date transcends what many would surmise from a twenty year-old. Blessed with monstrous chops and a unique musical vision, the pianist seamlessly fuses Euro-folk melodies into a pulsating string of compositions, often tagged with brisk time changes and budding themes.

Hamasyan dances across the eighty-eights with eloquence and power as he augments his acoustic piano performances with electric piano and synths. His primary mode of attack is centered upon climactic chord clusters amid some truly dazzling solo enactments.

He playfully deconstructs Thelonious Monks' "Well You Needn't" by morphing the primary melody into a caricature of itself. Yet the pianist reaps the benefits of his crack rhythm section throughout, while conveying blazing speed that contrasts the funky wah-wah synth motif and lush crescendos heard on "Memories from Hankavan and Now." In other spots, Hamasyan delves into Tango and North African genres, as he swashes a course through a myriad of musical elements to include briskly paced classical maneuvers and driving swing metrics. No doubt about it, this young phenom is earmarked for a bright future and his compositions offer a great deal of staying power. Hamasyan shows the propensity to become a household name within the global jazz idiom, thanks to this superfine 2007 release.

Track Listing: Part 1: Homesick; Par 2: New Era; Leaving Paris; Aparani Par; Well, You Needn't; Memories From Hankavan And Now; Gypsyology; Zada es (You're an ill-fated girl); Solar; Forgotten World.

Personnel: Tigran Hamasyan: piano and keyboards; Francois Moutin: bass; Louis Moutin: drums; Varden Grigoryan: duduk (4, 8), shivi (4), zuma (8).

Title: New Era | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Nocturne

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