Musical Feast by Tigran Hamasyan
“Aram Khachaturian” concert hall
2010-04-05

Yerevan jazz fans waited for this concert for quite a long time. And, naturally, the fantastic pianist’s first official performance in the homeland aroused great interest.

Tigran Hamasyan and his quartet performed a program consisting of the compositions of his latest album “Red Hail”, and also presented a couple of entirely new compositions. Drums, bass, sax, female vocals and piano – it would seem the traditional instruments for a traditional jazz concert. But here it was wholly different. Let’s start with the fact that the vocalist Areny Aghbabian was singing not in the traditional sense of the word. These were songs without words, vocalises in unison with the saxophone, melodic staining of the main theme. The picture was more complicated with the instrumentalists. Despite not making any “jazz” impression, playing flashy, somehow in a minimalistic manner, they at the same time were suddenly exploding exactly where and as much as it was needed. Well, Tigran was literally brilliant at the piano. During the concert they performed renditions of Komitas’s songs, of Armenian folk melodies and compositions by the leader of the band himself – each with a large amount of flavour of the Armenian folklore. All were equally melodic and beautiful, bright and showy.

Outwardly calm, soft, lyrical musicians were initially performing musical compositions not foreshadowing any shocks. However, by the middle of the composition, the mainspring of the musical story was beginning to unfold, to pick up speed, the energy was starting to beat through the edge, everything was getting to poppling and reaching a boiling point. It was a real show – with its directing, concept, accurate build and an intrigue. The hall accompanied each piece with thunderous applause and shouts of “Bravo!”, and, in the end, the audience gave the musicians a standing ovation, forcing them to play another powerful composition on “encore”.

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