Zela Margossian Quintet – Transmission (2018)

Margossian draws influence from an elaborate range of middle-eastern music, resulting in melodies that juggle speed, calculation and experimentation alongside a sometimes soft, windswept mood. Armenian jazz from the likes of Vahagn Hayrapetyan and the Cats, The Armenian Navy Band, traditional Armenian music, the works of Tunisian composer, singer and oud player Dhafer Youssef and Tigran Hamasyan are all listed under Margossian’s main inspirations, taking form in music with a complex sound, shape and technique.

From start to finish, the songs on Transition bear many hidden traits that make it all the more enjoyable. Margossian’s stop-start style of fast, accurate piano, coupled with the quintet’s wild percussion and drumming, soothing clarinet and double bass are all perfectly complemented by a clean, authentic production style – allowing each instrument to breathe and be appreciated to their fullest. With plenty of toe-tapping beats and polyrhythmic interjections, Transition’s successes come from perfectly balancing technical prowess next to a foreign, almost mystic mood.

Zela Margossian: piano, Stuart Vandegraaff: soprano saxophone, clarinet, Adem YIlmaz: percussion, Elsen Price: double bass, bass guitar, Alexander Inman-Hislop: drum kit, Metin Yilmaz: kaval (on tracks 9 and 10)