Europe Jazz Media Chart, March 2021: The Russian Pick

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VAN Quartet «Return» (Jazz Club Esse)

Born in Armenia, pianist Vahagn Hayrapetyan graduated from Yerevan State Consevatory, honed his craft working in jazz clubs across the Middle East, and then matured them in the United States, where he studied with Barry Harris, and recorded with a wide array of jazz musicians in New Orleans. Currently living alternately in his native Yerevan and Moscow, Russia, Vahagn masterminded the VAN Quartet, an ethno jazz fusion outlet where his expertise in jazz connects with the rich Armenian folk legacy, channeled through consummate duduk playing by Emmanuel Hovhannisyan, and firmly supported by a strong jazz rhythm section made of percussionist Vartan Babayan and bassist Makar Novikov.

Their debut album was recorded in early 2020, but its release was postponed due to pandemic; it’s finally out in February, 2021, a much-welcomed sign of music scene’s normal life determined to return. (Anna Filipieva, Jazz.Ru Magazine)

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