It is very difficult today to surprise anybody performing jazz by playing, seemingly not jazz instruments as French horn, oboe or violoncello. But, the native of Armenia, Yerevan conservatory graduate, Berkley College of Music trainee, cello and bass player, Artyom Manukyan tried to surprise fans of the modern jazz by his debut album “CITIZEN”.
Being the student of the conservatory, he became a member of the various jazz groups, then the “KATUNER” ethno-jazz-group bass player and finally a member of the most popular and successful Armenian Navy Band, founded and led by outstanding percussionist, composer and singer, Grammy award winner Arto Tuncboyaciyan.
Artyom Manukyan toured nearly all over the world with these bands and settled down in Los Angeles, and decided that here he could realize his musical ideas.
In a very short period of time he succeeded to enter the society of musicians playing a new music and became a full-fledged citizen of this society. And his album “CITIZEN” convincingly proves it.
Eight from ten compositions presented in the album, the author of which is Manukyan, though being different in their form, are absolutely identical and spiritually close to each other.
This new music, the new look, the new breath immediately attracts the attention of the advanced listener, gets him to thinking and enjoy simultaneously. The lyrical numbers - Old new Home and Waltz For Maya, devoted to his little daughter, follow the energetic and expressive Sailors Song and Turgut To be True. There is a composition, which surely gives a tribute of respect to the beginning of his musical career and which Manukyan composed and recorded with his old friend rapper A.Chilla. And finally, worthy of special attention is the composition Duet n.1, which is the duet with the fantastic piano-player and composer Tigran Hamasyan in free spontaneous improvisation style.
The partners of Artyom Manukyan this time are Tim Lefebvre (bass) and Vardan Ovsepian
Jamire Williams (drums), Troy Zeigler (electronics), as well as invited guests - Arto Tuncboyaciyan (percussion, vocals), Mark De Clive-Lowe (rhodes, keyboards), Vahagni (flamenco guitar, palmas ), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (violin) and others.
One composition was written by composer and piano –player, adherent of the Third stream in jazz Vardan Ovsepian, and the song of the famous in Armenia bard Ruben Hakhverdyan, Ovsepian transformed into an excellent ballad.
The debut album of cellist Artyom Manukyan illustrates his width of musical views, virtual boundlessness of his fantasy and absolute new approach to performance music in various styles and mixtures of them – jazz, classics, rap and electronics.