In Stories Listen, a Universal Narrative Unfolds
by Paley Martin, Contributor at Billboard
With their new EP Stories Listen, bassist Tyler Luppi and his jazz quintet encapsulate universal themes of love, longing, conflict and questions left unanswered. Working through poetic melodies and lyrical candor, Stories Listen is a unique portrayal of themes innate to the human experience.
With Samvel Sarkisyan on drums, Pawel Klin on guitar, and Sergej Avanesov on saxophone, the aforementioned Tyler Luppi on bass, and Alina Engibaryan as the lead vocalist, the five-piece group guides listeners through this dynamic narrative. Engibaryan, also the 2015 Mountreux Jazz Vocal Competition winner, implements her soothing and yet all the more powerful voice as she weaves in and out of the group’s improvisations. Setting you adrift at times and waking you up at others, the quintet leaves no peak or valley left behind as Engibaryan articulates each compelling chapter of this five-track composition.
As each of its songs yields its own personality, Stories Listen has a timeless quality that spans the emotional spectrum. Staying true to its all-encompassing nature, it fuses genres from folk to bluegrass into its jazz-centric sound. Songs like “Manic” bring moments light and contemplative to halting climaxes, pointing back to the title at hand. “Hues for Kahd,” the EP’s second track, follows “Manic” with a certain softness that mirrors its content. Making peace with moments while parting from them, Engibaryan reflects on the essence, the hues, of what they left behind as memories. “Why Don’t You Answer Me Never” arrives with an energy as upfront as the question asked, leaving little room or care for what lies on the receiving end. “Conversation” creates a dissonance not unlike that of its message. “Your gestures don’t comfort me at all,” Engibaryan sings as Luppi plucks his bass. “Thank you for composing space with me,” she carries on.
Whether composing space as minimalistic as that in “Conversation” or as playful as the upbeat “Compliant Comfort,” Stories Listen captures its listeners’ attention with an underlying vulnerability. In every story, there is something to connect with no matter the content. In every note, a new atmosphere unfolds.
Released January 24, 2016
Composer- Tyler Luppi
Recorded at Singelzaal PCC Radesingel 6 by Klaas Pot
Mixing and Mastering- Jeremy Loucas