April 2017, Best Jazz Album: An Ancient Observer by Tigran Hamasyan


We spoke about the wonderful release by Tigran Hamasyan in a recent post of this blog. From the first opportunites we had to listen to the music of Tigran’s new album An Ancient Observer, in fact, we immediately appreciated the quality of the songs collected in this record, which is definitely a candidate to become one of the best jazz releases of the year.

Differently from Tigran’s most recent productions, An Ancient Observer sees the young Armenian composer focusing primarily on the piano. The simplicity of the arrangements in this case is in favour of Tigran’s music, since we can fully appreciate the beautiful balance that he managed to achieve between Armenian folk music (which is based on a different tonal system with respect to the European one) and more conventional – and for us familiar – musical structures. The melodies in Tigran’s songs are always suspended on this unstable equilibrium between two worlds and two cultures, and this dynamic contrast creates a fascinating and magical atmosphere. From listening to the album, however, it is evident how this is the result of years of work and refinement rather than just a circumscribed musical experiment. As a matter of fact, we’re speaking of a musician that is incorporating local folk melodies into jazz-form improvisations since his teens.

Sometimes, even if quite rarely, there are songs that can hit you deep in your emotions. Songs where the beauty of the melodies is combined with a great expressiveness of the interpretation. An Ancient Observer is full of these kind of songs. This is with no doubts a musical work that will leave a mark for a long time. Not to be missed, absolutely.






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