Armen Chakmakian

Ceremonies

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As keyboardist for Shadowfax, Armen Chakmakian helped bridge the worlds of jazz and ethnic world music. On this solo recording, he takes the music a step further, making it true world jazz. Egyptian, Armenian and other ethnic elements are used in jazzy riffs, improvisational segments and the whole emerges as the sum of its parts. "Ceremonies" also succeeds as a reflection of Chakmakian's personality, with the pieces reflecting various emotional states. It may not swing in the traditional sense, but listeners with an open mind will find much here to cherish. "A Kiss and a Sigh 99," written by Chakmakian for his wife Susan, may be the most engaging, though the title track, written for Chakmakian's late Shadowfax bandmate, Chuck Greenberg, is the most haunting.

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