Yessaï Karapetian is a composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist with an ambitiously wide approach to contemporary jazz. Living between Paris, New-York and Yerevan, he embraces with sensitivity and virtuosity all the facets that compose his identity : resonances between his Armenian roots and African-American cultures; French impressionist piano crossing avant-garde universes from Thom Yorke or James Blake.
His new quintet, composed by his brother Marc Karapetian on bass (touring member of Tigran Hamasyan) and drummer David Paycha, also welcomes Norayr Gapoyan on duduk and Avag Margaryan on blul, two virtuoso soloists touring and recording amongst others with the famous Gurdjieff Ensemble or Dhafer Youssef. Together, the band escapes from any idea of folklorism and/or fusion and explores the connections of contemporary jazz and the new possibilities offered by the richest Armenian conception of ornamentation.
His journey is impressive. After graduating from the Paris Conservatory in 2019, Yessaï received a full- tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA). Ten months later he earned a Master’s degree of Music in Contemporary Performance (Global Jazz Institute). Under the watchful eye of musical mentors such as Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, John Patitucci and Terri Lyne Carrington, the pianist won two DownBeat Student Music Awards – for Best Jazz Soloist and Best Original Composition – as well as the Letter One Rising Star Jazz Award 2022 awarded by Marcus Miller, out of 750 artists worldwide.
Then returning to France and winning the National Jazz à La Défense Competition in Paris, the Armenian French bandleader created a crew to play “YESSAÏ”, live at CBE Studio in Paris and to cut it straight to tape. Released in 2022, The album received a warm welcome and tours in major prescriptive International jazz festivals such as Love Supreme (London), Nice Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, Jazzopen Stuttgart, Winter Jazz Festival NYC, Kongsberg Jazz Festival…and opened for acts such as Gerald Clayton, Ben Wendel and Herbie Hancock twice.
In 2023, Yessaï received the French Talents Adami Jazz award and is commissioned to create a special trio with Marc Karapetian on bass and his mentor Terri Lyne Carrington on drums (Grammy Award 2023 for the best jazz instrumental album). Together they’ll perform at the three biggest french festivals : Jazz Sous les Pommiers, Jazz à Vienne and Jazz à la Villette, Paris. He also released the same year his first solo piano album entitled Ker U Sus on Paradis improvisé collection.
Yessaï Karapetian - Piano
Norayr Gapoyan - Duduk
Avag Margaryan - Blul
Marc Karapetian - Bass
David Paycha - Drums
Germany, Northern Europe, Austria, Eastern Europe, Switzerland, Turkey