Artyom Manukyan — Citizen (September 4, 2015)•» The debut album of cellist Artyom Manukyan illustrates his width of musical views, the virtual boundlessness of his fantasy, and his new approach to performing music in various styles and mixtures.
•» Manukyan was a sensational cellist in his native Armenia, joining the acclaimed Armenian Navy Band and helping them win a BBC World Music Award. After years of being the best (and perhaps only) jazz cellist in his country, Manukyan set out for America to live the American Dream, which for him means eventually getting a gig with Snoop Dog. He’s played with Daryl McDaniels of Run–D.M.C., so he’s well on his way! He’s also worked his way into collaborations with some of the best jazz musicians in Los Angeles, many of whom are on his debut record, Citizen. It’s hyper–virtuosic and deeply funky, a perfect fit for the Spud. With bassist Tim Lefevbre, keyboardist Vardan Ovsepian, drummer Gavin Salmon, and sound–effector Troy Ziegler.Location: Yerevan, Armenia ~~ Los Angeles, CA
Album release: September 4, 2015
Record Label: Ghost Note Records
01. Sailors Song 5:19
02. CityZen 4:03
03. Waltz for Maya 2:50
04. Dark Matters 5:49
05. 3rd Mas Dub 6:42
06. Old New Home 5:48
07. Turgot to Be True 5:46
08. Duet N.1 7:08
09. All Yours 2:58
10. Words 4:21
•» Artyom Manukyan — cello
•» Vardan Ovsepian — p, keyb
•» Tim Lefebvre — bass
•» Jamire Williams — drums
•» Troy Zeigler — electronics
•» Gavin Salmon — ac and electronic drums (tks 4, 7, 10)
•» Tigran Hamasyan — piano, keyboards (tks 5, 8)
•» Arto Tuncboyaciyan — percussion, vocals (tks 1, 5, 7)
•» Ross Garren — harmonica, keyboards (tk 3)
•» Mark De Clive–Lowe — Rhodes, keyboards (tk 9)
•» A. Chilla — rap (tk 9), samples (tks 2, 5, 7)
•» Vahagni — flamenco guitar, palmas (tk 7)
•» Miguel Atwood–Ferguson — violin, viola (tk 9)
•» Jessica Vautor — voc (tk 3)
•» Shahan Nercessian — Rhodes (tk 1)
•» 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 Concervatory graduate, Berkley College of Music trainee, cello and bass player, Artyom Manukyan tried to surprise fans of the modern jazz with his debut album 'CITIZEN.'
•» As a student of the concervatory he became a member of 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. Toured nearly all over the world with these bands, Artyom Manukyan settled down in Los Angeles, 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 of ten compositions presented on the album are originals by Manukyan. Though being different in their form, they 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, starts them thinking and enjoying simultaneously. The lyrical numbers — Old new Home & Waltz For Maya, dedicated to his little daughter, follow the energetic and expressive Sailors Song & 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, the worthy of special attention is the composition Duet #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), 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, virtually boundlessness of his fantasy and absolutely new approach of performance music in various styles and mixtures of them — Jazz, classics, rap and electronics.Review
By Kristin Cavoukian, Published Jun 12, 2015; Score: 9
•» After cutting his teeth as a sideman with two of the best Armenian jazz/world music hybrid projects, Arto Tuncboyaciyan's Armenian Navy Band and Vahagn Hayrapetyan's Katuner, this is cellist Artyom Manukyan's first foray into the limelight, and it falls squarely on the jazz side of the ledger. Citizen is an impressive first album, covering vast musical territory and emotional terrain.
•» Manukyan, who hails from Armenia but now calls Los Angeles home, seamlessly weaves together punchy, Jaco Pastorius–style licks and elegant bowed lines, combining a broad array of influences and an affinity for cross–genre exploration. "Waltz for Maya," dedicated to his daughter and overlaid with a track of her laughter, shows Manukyan's knack for melody and timing, while other tracks, like "Sailor's Song," "CityZen" and "Turgut to be True" are rich, textured jazz fusion numbers recalling the Weather Report era. But while some fusion can sound overly busy and cerebral, Manukyan's cello steers this music in an emotional and evocative direction from start to finish.
•» Hints of his homeland are interspersed throughout the album, subtly in percussion and melody lines, and literally in "3 Mas Dub," which samples the sounds of a Yerevan neighbourhood, while an instrumental arrangement of "Words," a piece by Armenian songwriter Ruben Hakhverdyan (also a mentor of Manukyan's), rounds out the album.
•» But this is also a distinctly Los Angeles endeavour, and includes a lineup of that city's greats, like Tim Lefebvre (bass), Jamire Williams (drums) and Troy Ziegler (electronics). A marriage of tradition and exploration, and a meeting of two worlds, Manukyan's album is a luscious endeavour, and hopefully, the first of many.