Tigran Hamasyan, 26 years old, is one of the most promising new jazz talents of recent memory. This film will explore the pianist’s creative process in its most minute detail.
Blending archival footage from Armenia, scenes of his composing solo, in the studio recording, and backstage at concerts – balancing Tigran’s back and forths between his native Armenia and adopted life in the West, between heavy metal and traditional Armenian songs, between Thelonious Monk and Rachmaninoff, the silence of the Caucus mountains and the noisy Los Angeles streets...
Because Tigran’s music is all these influences at once. And this music speaks to us of the need we have to understand where we come from in this world where all the cultures communicate between one another. And in this way, this music is marked by its universality.
This will be the first documentary film devoted to Tigran Hamasyan. This 52-minute film will be shown in France and abroad, on television (Mezzo and Lyon Capitale TV), at international festivals, and available on DVD.
In parallel to my work with documentary films, music in the form of jazz piano has been a key part of my life since my earliest childhood.
In 2008, at the Sunset Club in Paris, I met this exceptional musician, radically different from any other I had listened to or studied.
Exceptional by the impact that this musical UFO had on the jazz that I’ve always known, but also because of his complex, radical personality.
At the Sunset that night, Tigran Hamasyan offered up music that took elements from pop, rock, even heavy metal, while never straying far from his native Armenia’s folk music. A folk music whose melodies are simple, modal, but also powerful and poetic. It was no longer jazz, it was something far greater.
Where does this music come from? What did Tigran feed on for many years to reach this musical statement?
To better understand him, I traveled with him to Armenia and followed him during his studio work sessions. And I shot my first images...
What struck me most during this scouting, and will underscore my film, is Tigran’s obsession with music -- listening to it, playing it, writing it, dreaming of it… always and everywhere.
Music is always there in his head. So that when he visits the Archaeological Museum of his native Gumri, or a painter’s studio in Erevan, or a 3rd century Armenian church, all of these places are feeding his hunger for his roots, and thus his music, taking part in his work, and nourishing his fruitful obsession.
It’s this Tigran in its entirety that I’d like to share in the film. Through an artful documentary approach, I would like to convey through images and music all that goes on in the head of this most unique pianist.
FOOTAGE FROM SHOOTING WITH TIGRAN
At home in Los Angeles, Tigran playing an extract of his song "The Court Jester" on his piano he detuned for some of his upcoming compositions.
Footage from Tigran's live show in Lyon on 31 January 2014.
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