Armenian News Network / Groong February 12, 2011 Entertainment Wire by Sahan Arzruni NEW YORK, NEW YORK It was a thrilling evening. An overwhelming occasion. An otherworldly experience. It was a night at Le Poisson Rouge: the chic Manhattan cabaret which has become the de rigueur performance venue for artists of all stripes-classical, pop, or jazz. And on this particular night, Le Poisson Rouge belonged to Tigran, the Armenia-born jazz pianist. Lean, sinewy, and shy, Tigran started off the program quietly - introspectively-weaving the well-known Komitas tune "Kakavik" into his opening solo segment. But his treatment of this familiar ditty was so novel, so appealing, that one forgot the melody's origin and approached it as if it were a song by Tigran himself. It was an authentic individual voice, soaring over the capacity audience. Gradually, other artists joined in. First, a flugelhorn player from Iceland, doubling the piano melody in its characteristically dark, foggy tone. Together they did a fantasy on "Nupar, Nupar" which would have worked just as well for solo piano. By the intermission, the band had grown to a quartet-and grown, too, in its exploration of new forms, novel sonorities, and fresh ideas. Indeed, the entire evening was a study in escalation, where the expanding number of performers on stage reflected an ongoing build-up in musical complexity, in compositional attitude, in the sheer ferocity of the music. At times once sensed an almost visceral bond among the performers. In the second half, with the group now at full size - incorporating piano, vocals, sax, bass and drums - the impact became overwhelming. Abrupt shifts in mood, rhythm, dynamics, and texture-all hallmarks of Tigran's music making-focused the intensity, driving the listener to a frenzy of sensory excitement. I had heard Tigran previously, in 2006-he had just won the highly-prized Thelonious Monk Award-and his gifts were unmistakable then. But in the intervening years he has developed into a true master, and (I strongly believe) a major voice in the music field. We hear almost daily of the difficulties afflicting our republic of Armenia. But how astonishing it is to see that, in spite of it all, Armenia can still produce such a world-class artist. # # # -- Master pianist Sahan Arzruni enjoys an international career, and is also known as a composer, ethnomusicologist, producer, teacher, lecturer, writer, recording artist and broadcasting personality.
Redistribution of Groong articles, such as this one, to any other
media, including but not limited to other mailing lists and Usenet
bulletin boards, is strictly prohibited without prior written
© Copyright 2011 Armenian News Network/Groong. All Rights Reserved.