20

Tigran Hamasyan: Shadow Theater

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Tigran Hamasyan: Shadow Theater
Pianist Tigran Hamasyan's Shadow Theater is an innovative convergence of composition and folk music from his birthplace in Armenia. Having performed since the age of three, gained acclaimed in Europe and won first place at the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, there's never been a question of his abilities. He shines in a traditional jazz trio setting in 2007's New Era (Plus Loin Music) with brothers Francois Moutin (bass) and Louis Moutin (drums) or showcasing virtuoso exploits in his 2011 solo release Fable (Verve).

With musicians that include members of the jazz-rock band Kneebody (drummer Nate Wood and saxophonist Ben Wendel) and others, Hamasyan's distinctive musicality blends jazz, European classical music and an array of influences like progressive-rock and DJ mixing. Yet the common thread is the inventive way the music balances ethnicity with a modernist verve. This propels "Erishta" via traditional melodies interlaced with electronics and beautiful vocals by talented folklorist Areni Agbabian as well as the peculiar "Drip" which mixes Armenian folk music, sampling, and groovy jazz saxophone.

The program is sprinkled with an assortment of hymns, ballads, and moving pieces such as "Lament" which juxtaposes powerful strings and tender vocals and the transcendent "Pagan Lullaby" highlighting Hamasyan on keyboard, piano, and voice. "The Court Jester" and "Road Song" are unwavering examples of writing and improvisation with their vigorous changes and odd time signatures, but equally engaging through catching melodies and Hamasyan's intrepid sense of imagination in one of the year's more memorable recordings.

Track Listing

The Poet; Erishta; Lament; Drip; The Year Is Gone; Seafarer; The Court Jester; Pagan Lullaby; Pt1 Collapse; Pt2 Alternative Universe; Holy; Road Song.

Personnel

Tigran Hamasyan: piano, keyboards; Areni Agbabian: vocals; Ben Wendel: saxophone; Sam Minaie: bass; Chris Tordini: bass; Nate Wood: drums; Jean-Marc Phillips Varjabedian: violin; Xavier Phillips: cello; Jan Bang: programming; David Kiledjian: programming.

Album information

Title: Shadow Theater | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

Post a comment about this album

Listen

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Read Pollinator
Pollinator
Matt Ulery
Read Hug!
Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet
Read Touch & Go
Touch & Go
Susan Tobocman
Read The Ilkley Suite
The Ilkley Suite
Jamil Sheriff
Read Moving Through Worlds
Moving Through Worlds
Fiona Joy Hawkins

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.