Pianist Tigran Hamasyan recently announced the release of his upcoming Nonesuch Music debut album, Mockroot, which will rock the world February 3. The new songs, the rambunctious "Entertain Me" and the somber ballad "The Apple Orchard in Saghmosavanq", sound just in line with the direction Tigran has been going, particularly working with Sam Minaie on bass and Arthur Hnatek on drums. If this is what we're getting with Mockroot, it's looking like there's a lot more reason to get excited for 2015. Stream the tracks after the jump.
Tigran is the shit. It's hard not to be that crass about it but his frenetic energy, his inventive ideas on the keys both acoustic and electric, his crazy sense of timing-- all these attributes evoke a rawness that just makes you want to curse. Tigran is the shit. We mentioned some months back that he was going to venture out more with his sound, leaning into even more electronic and dubby influences as he moves to the Nonesuch label. Now that time has come and Tigran Hamasyan is set to release his new album, Mockroot, on January 26th with Sam Minaie on bass and Arthur Hnatek on drums and electronics. Check out a video album teaser after the jump.
The most important element that one would find of Tigran's signature style would be his unique sense of time. Compositionally, this is of course clear. The young 2006 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition winner has been wowing listeners the world over for years with his five albums -- the latest of which, Shadow Theater, just released yesterday on Sunnyside-- making well known how the Armenian rhythms he's always known have melded with so many other sounds around the world in such a purely jazz kind of way. It's this sense of time that seemingly comes to a tantalizing head in Shadow Theater and shifts even further to the fore last night on the album release show at Austin, Texas' The Belmont kicking off Tigran's US tour.
Around the tail end of last year, we made a lot of to-do about the latest album from pianist Tigran (Hamasyan, but he's going by just one name because he's cool like that), Shadow Theater, which was released internationally on the Verve label, but not in the US. When he stopped in Austin, Texas, as part of a US tour, Americans could only get a glimpse of this album from the then recent release of the The Poet EP. Finally, Shadow Theater is getting a US release on Sunnyside Records on April 15th.
It was worth taking the drive from Denton. Of course, this should have been clear to me from the start. Seeing pianist Tigran at Frank in Austin this past Friday, November 1, was the predication for my own purchasing of Megabus tickets from San Antonio to Austin, about an hour and twenty minute ride if the traffic is alright (the traffic was not alright). This is Tigran's first U.S. tour, a few dates in the fall in the midst of a world tour through Europe all the way through February. He was only stopping in Texas twice, Friday's show in Austin and a show on Sunday in Houston. It's a show worthy of a sojourn, and folks from all across Texas certainly did. A couple cars full of music students from the University of North Texas' College of Music made the four hour drive to Austin to catch this show. For it to be as fun as it was, especially for an artist like Tigran who is extremely talented and whose star is steadily rising, a road trip was certainly in order.