|Born||April 6, 1978|
|Instruments||piano, Fender Rhodes piano|
|Years active||1996 - present|
|Labels||Blacksmith Brother Music, Noise Boutique,|
|Associated acts||The Armen Nalbandian Trio, Han Bennink, Nasheet Waits, Eric Revis, Nino Moschella|
|piano, Fender Rhodes, "prepared" Fender Rhodes|
- 1 Music
- 2 Recent Work
- 3 Portrait of an Artist as a Young Improviser
- 4 Activism
- 5 References to Basquiat
- 6 Discography
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In addition to the piano, he has been known to perform on the prepared Fender Rhodes mechanical piano, and contributes to produce jazz, improvised and experimental music in California. Nalbandian is the composer of over 1100 works in addition to having led more than 22 different ensembles over the past decade. Nalbandian's compositions have included music for his trio, string quartets, orchestral music, music for theater, Armenian folk music, and "game pieces". His primary ensemble is the Armen Nalbandian Trio. From 2004-2008, Nalbandian served as the Music Director/Artist-in-Residence of the Fresno Art Museum, Artistic Director of Jazz @ the F.A.M. and curator of the Rhythms of Art. Nalbandian is also the Artistic Director of the F.O.R.M. (Festival of Resurrected Music). Nalbandian is a protegee of pianist John Hicks and has performed with Billy Higgins and Han Bennink. Nalbandian is the founder of Blacksmith Brother Music. In 2008, Nalbandian was named as a finalist in the 2008 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Talent Search. Armen Nalbandian returned to performance on January 20, 2009, as Music Director for the Day One Event, celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama  and a few weeks later in a tribute to Hip Hop producer J Dilla in a benefit for Jay Dee's mother, Ma Dukes, at which Nalbandian was joined by rapper Fashawn for the performance of Common's "The Light". Nalbandian and Fashawn collaborated again in March 2010 for a tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. In September 2009, Nalbandian appeared in the play 'Semblance: Notes from the Promised Land' written by Devoya Mayo. The final act of the play featured a soliloquy written and performed by Nalbandian.
Released in March 2006, "Armen" was Nalbandian's debut album as a leader and the first recording featuring the Armen Nalbandian Trio. The recording features Nalbandian on piano, and contains five original compositions by Nalbandian, and five by other composers including the rarely performed Thelonious Monk composition "Oska T", the George Gershwin ballad "He Loves & She Loves", and the traditional spiritual "This Train".
"Manchester Born" was released in November 2007 and features The Armen Nalbandian Trio. This was Armen Nalbandian's debut recording on the Fender Rhodes Mechanical Piano. The recording consists of 10 original compositions by Nalbandian and is dedicated to John Hicks.
"Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off"
Armen Nalbandian's first solo recording was named after a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat and features Nalbandian on the "prepared" Fender Rhodes. The recording was made by Nalbandian performing primarily on the inside of the Fender Rhodes, treating it like a percussion instrument, manipulating the hammers with drum cymbals, snare drum heads, wrenches, mallets, and keys. Nalbandian also employed an analog delay pedal and a wah-wah pedal. The recording is completely improsived with the exception of the composition "Blues for Steve Lacy", which was composed by trumpeter Dave Douglas.
"To Repel Ghosts"
"To Repel Ghosts" is an experimental electronic production and live instrumentation album comprising 11 compositions by Nalbandian. The album is Nalbandian’s second recording inspired by the works of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
"Coup de Grace" and "Quiet, as it's Kept"
On August 23, 2011, Nalbandian released two distinctly different albums. The first, "Coup de Grace", is a live recording featuring Nalbandian on piano and drummer Han Bennink in an improvised duet setting. The companion album, "Quiet, as it’s Kept", is a studio recording featuring Nalbandian in a trio setting playing the Fender Rhodes with Eric Revis on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. The trio recording contains solely original compositions by Nalbandian.
"Surrounded by Snakes"
On March 15, 2013, he released his 8th album, Surrounded by Snakes; a 13 song album consisting of original compositions that feature him in an electronic setting with improvised solos. Nalbandian is the sole producer and instrumentalist on the album. The album’s theme of betrayal is highlighted by the release date coinciding with the “Ides of March,” from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Since 2011, Nalbandian has taken a hiatus from live performance with the exception of a pair of impromptu duet performances with comedian Dave Chappelle at Yoshi's Jazz Club. Nalbandian's recent activity has expanded beyond music to encompass writing articles on fashion, the design of a sneaker, and the repurposing of his online culture and lifestyle magazine, The Blacksmith Brotherhood to a non-proft charitable organization. Nalbandian released his 8th album, Surrounded by Snakes, on March 15, 2013.
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Improviser
Nalbandian's first book, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Improviser: Writings 2006-2007, was published in April 2013 chronicling his compositions and live performances circa 2006-2007. The book contains essays and entries written by Nalbandian from 2006-2007. Included are listening guideposts and footnotes looking back on the process of composing for his concert series and the creation of his album, Manchester Born.
Nalbandian has frequently used his position as a musician to perform many humanitarian services. He has raised thousands of dollars in aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina by way of many benefit concerts. Nalbandian has also raised money for organizations as diverse as The United Way, The Red Cross, the ONE Campaign, Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Research and The Relay for Life Foundation, among others. Nalbandian launched his not-for-profit charitable organization, The Blacksmith Brotherhood, in 2012.
References to Basquiat
Nalbandian frequently references the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat in his work and song titles. Numerous compositions throughout his discography reference specific Basquiat paintings and graffiti. Two of Nalbandian's albums, "Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off" and "To Repel Ghosts", reference Basquiat in their titles; both albums featuring cover art that evokes his art. Nalbandian also presented a concert inspired by Basquiat's work in March 2008 during his tenure as Artist-in-Residence at the Fresno Art Museum.
- Armen (2006)
- Manchester Born (2007)
- Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off (2007)
- Tirez Sur Le Pianiste (2009) (EP)
- To Repel Ghosts (2010)
- Quiet, As It's Kept (2011)
- Coup de Grace (2011)
- Surrounded by Snakes (2013)
- Portrait of an Artist as a Young Improviser: Writings 2006-2007 by Armen Nalbandian (2013 Blacksmith Brother) ISBN 9781301432417. Essays and entries focusing on Nalbandian's compositions from 2006-2007.
- All About Jazz. "Armen Nalbandian New Ensemble at 'Day One' Inauguration Celebration". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
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- Posted by sksk (2010-07-20). "beatimprintsince 1995: To Repel Ghosts: from Beats and Bass to Basquiat". Beatimprint.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- All About Jazz. "Armen Nalbandian To Release 8th Album: Surrounded By Snakes". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "Armen Nalbandian". Armen Nalbandian. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- http://www.fresnofamous.com/09/05/07/armen-nalbandian-more-musician Armen Nalbandian: More than a Musician | Fresno Famous
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- Official website
- [http://www.myspace.com/armennalbandian Armen Nalbandian on Myspace
- Armen Nalbandian raises fund for New Orleans
- ARMEN NALBANDIAN - Defying Genres and Confronting the Situation in New Orleans!
- Armen Nalbandian performs John Zorn's Masada
- Armen Nalbandian Music Director for Day One Inauguration Event