Vahagn Hayrapetyan is one of the most popular and renowned Armenian contemporary jazz musicians. For a long time he has been considered a swing and bop follower and performed with his trio (Vahagn Hayrapetyan – piano, vocal, Nikoghayos Vardanyan – bass, Alexander Aghamyan – drums).
But at the turn of 2004 – 2005 he established a new band “Vahagn Hayrapetyan and Katuner”, changing abruptly his musical image. Initially the band-members were Vahagn Hayrapetyan (keyboards), Tigran Suchyan (trumpet), David Nalchajyan (alto sax), Artyom Manukyan (bass, cello), Tigran Sanoyan (drums). Later on, the band was accomplished by new members Ashot Harutyunyan (trombone) and Norayr Kartashyan (folk instruments player and a percussionist). The latter added a kind of oriental breath into the band’s sounding. Since 2006 Tigran Sanoyan, the drummer gave place to Arman Jalalyan.
All the musicians are experienced enough, being young though. Tigran Suchyan, David Nalchajyan, Tigran Sanoyan and Ashot Harutyunyan are member of the State Jazz Band of Armenia and Armenian Navy Band, Artyom Manukyan is a full-fledged member of Armenian Navy Band and Nooz avant-garde band. Norayr Kartashyan performs as a guest musician almost in all Armenian jazz and pop groups. Arman Jalalyan, Armenian best drummer plays in Armenian Navy Band, in ethno-jazz sextet Tme Report and is a backline musician at many Armenian pop stars concerts.
“Katuner” band plays only original compositions and has already have its own easy-to-recognize sound. The band style is a fusion of jazz rock of 70s, M-BASE 80-es, World Fusion, Melos and Armenian folk rhythms.
The septet had a great success at Jazz Appreciation Month in 2005 and 2006 jazz fests organized by the U.S. State Department and presented its art at the First and Second International Avant-garde Folk music festivals in Yerevan as well as at Third International jazz fest “Yerevan-2006”. Besides, the band played solo performances on the concert stages and the clubs of Yerevan and today it is in great demand and is one of the most active bands on the Armenian jazz stage.
In the summer of 2005 the band participated in South Caucasus Music Conference (Tbilisi, Georgia), within the scope of which performed successfully in “Noa-Noa” club. In 2006 the band met with a great success in “DOM” (The House) in Moscow. Two years later “Katuner” played at “KHARKIV ZA JAZZ-08-09” jazz fest in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The same year they took the first prize at the “Usadba Jazz” fest-competition in Moscow for “ethno jazz” nomination. In 2009 the band participated in “Dyagilev Seasons” (Perm, Russia). The same year “Katuner” performed at Dubai International Jazz Festival within the framework of Armenian Jazz week. The same year the band had a brilliant joint performance with Camber Orchestra of Armenia at the “Open Fest-2009”.
In 2009 the band faced some changes. David Minasyan now is on trombone, and Arthur Grigoryan is on sax. The same summer the two band-members – Artyom Manukyan and Arthur Grigoryan won the competition organized within the support RA Ministry of Culture, “Аrmenian Jazz 70” NGO and SHARM Holding were afforded with an exceptional opportunity to take a course in jazzmen’s Mecca – Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA USA). In the fall of 2010 the cellist and bass player Artyom Manukyan left the band. He is substituted by Edgar Sahakyan.
“Norevan” – 2007
“Red Sun” – 2009