• Tigran Hamasyan – piano
  • Ben Wendel – sax
  • Areni Abgabian – voice
  • Sam Minae – Bass
  • Nate Wood – drums

(…) In maybe the most startling moment of musical cross-pollination, 24-year-old pianist Tigran Hamasyan  stole the night with an infectious, energetic set. Hamasyan, who was born in Armenia but raised in L.A. after turning 16, found previously undiscovered land between Armenian folk, breakneck bop and sparks of progressive rock with a nimble quintet that featured Ben Wendel and Nate Wood from Kneebody.

Hamasyan released a solo recording as his major label debut in February, but with a full band his  approach took on new power with unique hybrids such as “Shogher Jan,” which featured a knotty, Eastern melody that whiplashed through multiple shifts in time and tone as Hamasyan’s acrobatic piano merged with Wendel’s soprano saxophone and the lush, near-operatic vocals of Areni Agbabian.With Hamasyan’s head-spinning piano attack playing off a fuzzed-out electric bass from Sam Minaie and Wood’s off-center drive on drums, the quintet sounded unlike anything else in a powerful performance that felt like the arrival of a talent to be reckoned with.

Chris Barton – LATimes