Tigran Hamasyan is on a roll. Based on his brilliant new album of solo piano, a French Grammy award, his collaborations with several top-tier musicians (including Trilok Gurtu and Dhafer Youssef), international performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, among others, and accolades from jazz piano legends Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, this proved to be a banner year for the young Armenian pianist, now based in the US.
In addition, the 20-minute extended play EP No. 1 was released in France, available only on vinyl and as a digital download. He toured extensively with Youssef, performed a concert with Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra at Paris's renowned Cité de la Musique, invited French guitarist Nguyen Le to guest at some of his concerts and recorded with Swedish bass player Lars Danielsson. Tigran performed a series of sold-out concerts in Paris at various venues, and in a NY Times piece where pianist Brad Mehldau discussed his favorite artists in 2011, he singled out Tigran Hamasyan.
Tigran launched a European solo tour and has also been performing with his own trio at several European festivals, including the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Vienne Jazz Festival in France, the Vitoria Jazz Festival in Spain, the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, a charity concert in Brazil, and the London Jazz Festival. Tigran's next album is due for release on Universal in 2013, and he'll perform a two-week tour of Canada in March 2013.
Tigran's music teems with his personality and is fired by his passion. His potent jazz improvisation fuses with the rich folkloric music of his native Armenia, resulting in a fresh sound, charged dynamics, the shifting between acoustic and electric modes of expression, and the use of exotic instrumentation including duduk, shvi and zurna.
Previous to being signed by Universal Jazz in France, Tigran recorded three albums on European labels - World Passion (2006), New Era (2008) and Red Hail (2009). Based on those discs, he became heralded as a jazz revelation by critics.
Tigran won a series of piano competitions, including the top prize at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition in 2006 and in the same year second place in the Martial Solal International Jazz Competition in Paris.
For his debut album on Universal Jazz France, A Fable, Tigran delivered a dynamic solo piano collection with lyrical songs that ranged from gracefully refined pieces to energetic experiments with rhythmic and harmonic diversity. The source of inspiration for the album came from traditional Armenian folk music as well as poetry. With music featuring Tigran's inventive arrangements, A Fable featured the pianist's own compositions as well as a wealth of covers, including Armenian melodies and a mystical rendition of the jazz standard, "Someday My Prince Will Come," as well as music inspired by the poetry of Hovhannes Tumanyan and Gegham Sayyan.
Chick Corea called him "a mature and great and rich and deep artist." Herbie Hancock commented by saying "...now Tigran, you are my teacher!" Jazzwise said that Tigran "has the potential to make a huge impact", and DownBeat Magazine described A Fable as "a poetic and haunting album... [his] touch is sublime."