Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Armen Nalbandian Trio - Manchester Born (Blacksmith Brother Music)

Armen Nalbandian has recently turned 30. The career of this improvisational and experimental jazz musician spans over a decade of over 600 original compositions and performances. Born in Manchester, England, Armen has dedicated his life to music, recently rising to the position of Musical Director of California's Fresno Art Museum. A protégé of jazz legend John Hicks, Armen has experience playing with members of the Classic Coltrane Quartet, Ornette Coleman Quartet and Charles Mingus' ensemble. For Manchester Born, Armen comfortably settles behind Fender Rhodes, while Kevin Hill joins him on the upright bass and Brian Hamada on the drums (I just love his brushed ride cymbals). The collection of ten tracks is upbeat and light, transforming musicians' inner moods into gliding fingers, plucked strings, and gentle taps. This child of contemporary jazz skillfully folds the familiar influences into an interpretation curated for a modern ear. The playful and organic sound instantly reminds me of the limitless possibilities that can be achieved with just three instruments, leaving me afterward humming my own improvisations to the rhythm buried in my mind. Armen's latest solo album, Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off, is an abstract and experimental improvisation for prepared Fender Rhodes, full of distorted reverb, controlled delays, noisy feedback and altered hammers for a unique percussion, all recorded live with no post-production - John Cage would have been proud. |

No comments: