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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Armenia

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Tigran Hamasyan picture
Tigran Hamasyan biography
Born 17-July-1987 in Gyumri, Armenia, Tigran Hamasyan is classified by most sources as a jazz pianist. While it is true he tends to exude his jazz influences at the core of his compositions, he is also deeply influenced by the folk music of his native Armenia, frequently incorporating them into his work. Significant progressive influence is also evident in his song structure approach. Hamasyan also had a desire as a child to be a thrash metal guitarist, an influence that is rarely expressed in his music. His earliest piano melodizing started at the age of 3. He would go on to begin his formal training in music school at the age of 6, with a focus on jazz by the age of 9. When he was 10 his family moved to Armenia's capital of Yerevan. At 16 they would move to California for a time, but he eventually returned to Yerevan.

Hamasyan's debut album, World Passion, which is characterized by a more traditional jazz bent, was originally released in 2006, but was recorded in 2004 when he was 17-years-old. His discography is quite varied, always features his piano work with jazz influence and as mentioned, often contains an underpinning of Armenian folk. Heavy progressive jazz/rock flavors are most evident in albums like 2009's Red Hail and 2020's The Call Within. He is also not adverse to entire solo piano performance releases or lending his own vocals to his pieces.

Highly recommended for those who appreciate a diverse discography rich with jazz, rock, classical and world music influences.

TIGRAN HAMASYAN Videos (YouTube and more)

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TIGRAN HAMASYAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
World Passion
4.57 | 14 ratings
Red Hail [Aratta Rebirth]
4.00 | 6 ratings
A Fable
4.33 | 3 ratings
Shadow Theater
4.07 | 10 ratings
3.75 | 4 ratings
Luys I Luso (with Yerevan State Chamber Choir / Harutyun Topikyan)
3.08 | 4 ratings
Atmosphères (with Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang)
4.25 | 4 ratings
An Ancient Observer
3.00 | 3 ratings
For Gyumri
4.11 | 18 ratings
The Call Within
3.50 | 4 ratings

TIGRAN HAMASYAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIGRAN HAMASYAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TIGRAN HAMASYAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIGRAN HAMASYAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
EP n°1
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Kingdom


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Atmosphères (with Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang) by HAMASYAN, TIGRAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.08 | 4 ratings

Atmosphères (with Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang)
Tigran Hamasyan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars Listening diary 10th October, 2021: Tigran Hamasyan, Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset & Jan Bang - Atmospheres (ecm style jazz, 2016)

I listened to this a load when it came out - as a primitive form of my current habits of listening to minimal instrumental music whilst reading. But honestly, I can't think of many albums that I'm seven listens into that I can't recall a single second from. This is pleasant, even immersive music, and for great lengths it's absolutely perfect for the purpose of mild background music, but if you're wanting anything substantial, you'll probably be left wanting. It's almost closer to ambient than jazz, and I'm not sure that's wholly a criticism.

6.4 (7th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

 The Call Within by HAMASYAN, TIGRAN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.11 | 18 ratings

The Call Within
Tigran Hamasyan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Born in 1987, TIGRAN HAMASYAN was certainly a child prodigy having taken a keen interest in the piano at the tender age of two and by three already learning how to sing the songs of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Beatles, Queen and even Louis Armstrong! Born in Gyumri, Armenia, a young TIGRAN didn't take long to discover the complexities of the world of jazz and continued on quickly to embrace Western classical music. By the time his parents moved to Yerevan, the Armenian capital, HAMASYAN was already mastering the techniques of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum and pretty much every hi-brow technical jazz wizard that has left an imprint on the world.

After participating and dazzling audiences in several jazz festivals in Yerevan, at only 13 years old HAMASYAN was already attracting the attention of Chic Corea, Avaishai Cohen, Jeff Ballard and other jazz masters. It wouldn't take long for more invitations to come and for HAMASYAN to meet legendary artists such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin. I don't know but usually when somebody this talented emerges from the womb, i can only think that it reinforces the notion of reincarnation and that such artists are simply carrying on from some of the masters of the past but of course i digress with absolutely no proof to back this up, but it does make me wonder!

After an avalanche of accolades, HAMASYAN finally got a start with his recording career in 2006 with his debut album 'World Passion' which featured his talented in a more traditional post-bop and jazz-fusion context but art the years have elapsed with several albums under his belt, HAMASYAN has expanded his musical horizons by including elements of not only his native Armenian folk music roots but avant-prog, spiritual jazz and jazz-rock all fused into an appetizing attack of the senses. His latest and 11th album THE CALL WITHIN released in 2020 displays HAMASYAN's technical wizardry but wrapped up in a much more interesting package with exhilarating time signature workouts, complex compositions and a series of unorthodox tones, timbres and tenacious treats for the adventurous listener.

Rooted in piano virtuosity, HAMASYAN continues his technical expertise by providing the expected jazz piano workouts but adds elements of progressive rock, electronica and jazz-fusion somewhat out of the Herbie Hancock canon. The results coalesce into an exciting callithump of instrumental magnificence that shines brightly as only a true maestro can dish out. This collection of ten tracks is diverse and succeeds in not only bedazzling the listener with technical dexterity but yanks at key emotional tugs that exude a sense of deeper comprehension of musical magic unbeknownst to many contemporary jazz stalwarts who worship the ghosts of the past without breathing a new relevance into the here and now.

THE CALL WITHING is really an exciting roller coaster ride of musical maestrohood all wrapped into a beautiful package of coolness. Perhaps my favorite track on this album is the frenetic oddball time signature rich 'Vortex' which perfectly sums up the zeitgeist of the modern world in all its craziness but honestly i really love every track on this one as not only does it provide the technical chops of a seasoned genius but adds enough spice to make it work on multiple levels of creativity. HAMASYAN is clearly maturing and in a good way as his consciousness is expanding to make his music embody creativity on multiple levels. Very few jazz artists have succeeded in mastering the classics while remaining relevant in the present. Armenia's gift to the world has done just that. This is definitely an artist everybody needs to explore further. His brilliance is exquisite.

 Mockroot by HAMASYAN, TIGRAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 10 ratings

Tigran Hamasyan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Necrotica
Special Collaborator Honorary Colaborator

4 stars What kind of jazz would you expect from someone who wanted to be a thrash guitarist growing up? Well, despite the progressive rock influences Tigran Hamasyan brings to his work, I still don't think something like Mockroot would have been the expected result. Whatever compelled Hamasyan to choose the piano instead for the remainder of his career, I'd say it's for the best if these results are any indication. Mockroot is one of the most unique takes on modern jazz I've heard, a near-seamless blend of surgically-precise technical craft and vivid imagery. it practically washes you in its repetition, providing hypnotic meditations that are just as inspired by classical and Middle-Eastern folk as they are by their jazz/prog roots. It must be noted, too, that the instrumental setup is shockingly simple. Instead of oversaturating the production with horns and overall bombast, Mockroot gives us a simple piano/bass/drum trio format. But really, when you hear the ingenious interplay between the musicians, you end up accepting this fact pretty quickly. The real key to getting everything you can out of this album is listening closely and observing the subtle changes in rhythm and mood. Hamasyan's piano does lead the charge, sure, but the entire trio basically plays as one unified rhythm section as they shift through each intricate passage like disciplined chameleons. This is fleshed out even further by the odd polyrhythms and Phillip Glass-esque minimalism within the trio's interplay, making the experience even more dense and mystifying.

What's important, though, is that the band never fail to give us a reason for these oddities. As far as I can tell, it's all done to strengthen the album's unique atmosphere, which is a fascinating mix of the spiritual and the natural. The jazz brings out a homely, earthen vibe that's given a fresh new dimension by the inspiring and somehow intangible feel of the Middle-Eastern folk. It sounds very mystical, especially in songs like "To Negate" and "Song for Melan and Rafik" which like to use traditional Armenian musical - and even vocal - stylings to drive home the presence of world music that embellishes the album. There are other songs that really bring out the progressive rock side too, such as the highly complex piano runs of "The Grid" and the amazing tempo/dynamic shifts that define the aptly-titled "Double-Faced." The real beauty of Mockroot is that it plays with so many sounds and styles, and yet never loses its focus when it deviates to those different genres. In fact, I'd argue that the best aspect of the record is that every song has some progressive rock, some jazz, some Middle-Eastern folk, and some classical; it's just all in varying doses each time. So basically, different things are emphasized each time while still being consistent with the overall experience. And some parts are just flat-out gorgeous; just listen to the incredible female vocals at the climax of "The Roads That Bring Me Closer to You" for proof of that. Or there's "The Apple Orchard in Saghmosavanq (what a title, huh?), which uses the piano in a more varied and less repetitive manner to flesh out one of the most elaborate and contemplative pieces on offer. Listen to how the different vocal octaves compete with each other over the peaceful piano lines underneath; truly breathtaking. As weird as it sounds, Tigran Hamasyan reminds me a lot of the French death metal band Gojira. He's able to take catchy-yet-technical grooves, squeeze every bit of emotion and power out of them by an effective use of repetition, and then subtly shift out of grooves before they become stale. The difference is that he's doing so in a jazz context. And, to be honest, that's just awesome.

 Red Hail [Aratta Rebirth] by HAMASYAN, TIGRAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.57 | 14 ratings

Red Hail [Aratta Rebirth]
Tigran Hamasyan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by nikitasv777

5 stars Sometimes it sounds poetic, sometimes it is dark and inexorably threatening. Red Hail hits you from the very beginning. Aratta Rebirth a wide range of keyboards. The entire ensemble sound tight and highly progressive. I'm not really a jazz-rock sub-genre's great amateur. But, I can replay the album 5 times in a row and not get bored. Very cool sounding. Overall, I can find no shortcoming at all from this album. It's definitely a masterpiece. This album confirms, that miracles are possible. Just they are extremely rare and you must try harder just to find one. The group ARATTA REBIRTH and the artist Tigran HAMASYAN deserve to be discovered and carefully listened!
Thanks to tapfret for the artist addition.

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