Jazz Pianist Tigran Hamasyan Is An Original

The 2006 winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, New York-based Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan is considered one of today’s most vital and young original jazz artists. Finding inspiration from traditional Armenican folk music and poetry, his dynamic songs are shaped as much by experimentation as they are by rhythmic and harmonic diversity.

According to Michael Bugeja of The Times Of Malta,  Hamasyan has challenged himself to find new ways toJazz Pianist Tigran Hamasyan express himself through music. As a result, he has successfully come up with a potent and imaginative sound that is built on tradition but exudes his personality and passion. Check out this 2007 review of Tigran Hamasyan by David R. Adler of Jazz Times:

“By the time Tigran Hamasyan won the prestigious Monk piano competition in 2006, he had already dominated similar face-offs in Monaco and Montreux. In Moscow, nearer his native Armenia, he placed third. It’s an enviable track record for any rising musician, much less one who is just 20. Of course, Hamasyan isn’t the only precocious keyboard demon stirring today’s waters: Eldar Djangirov, also 20, emerged from another corner of the former Soviet empire (Kyrgyzstan) and, like Hamasyan, wound up in southern California. Add 23-year-old Taylor Eigsti of the Bay Area and you have a Golden State triumvirate.

In late November the diminutive Hamasyan came to Paris for a two-nighter at Sunside, sister club of the older Sunset, which is downstairs (and less focused on Jazz Pianist Tigran Hamasyanacoustic jazz).

Drawing mostly on repertoire from his sophomore release New Era (Nocturne Jazz), Hamasyan played to a packed and eager house. Unfortunately, this correspondent was restricted to the bar area, which lacked seats, oxygen and a full view of the bandstand. Hamasyan couldn’t be seen. If there was a silver lining in this, it was the ample opportunity to focus on bassist François Moutin and drummer Louis Moutin, the brothers whose Moutin Reunion Quartet had played the New Morning club earlier in the week. Both took visible delight in the fiery inventions of their much younger partner, who addressed the audience tentatively in English.

The most stirring and unusual moment didn’t involve piano at all. In his intro to “Homesick,” a modern, uptempo blues in the “Matrix” mold, Hamasyan launched a lightning-paced vocal display, an acappella hybrid of Indian konakol and human beatbox, with intricately overlapping rhythms and riveting forward motion. After about two minutes he returned to the piano, cued the band and leapt into the body of the piece, a densely syncopated and skittering affair not unlike the arrangement of “Solar” that began the show. Read More...”

There are a number of Youtube videos of Tigran Hamasyan. Here is one entitled “Leaving Paris” with Hamasyan on the piano with Francois Moutin playing bass and Luis Moutin on the drums:

This 2011 clip at La Maroquinerie in Paris features the entire Tigran Hamasyan Trio: