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27 Sep

Tassos Spiliotopoulos’ Quartet at the Vortex Jazz Club, London

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Jazz guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos returned to his erstwhile base London, for a one-night performance with his quartet at the Vortex Jazz Club, on 26 September. The Vortex gig marked the start of a month-long tour of venues around England.

Spiliotopoulos’ tunes comprise an innovative osmosis of different genres, bringing together blues, fusion, and Greek folk music, that are brought together seamlessly with his exquisite guitar style.

The group performed a set of 13 tunes, mostly from their new album “In The North”, as well as from Spilitopoulos’ earlier albums. The appropriately-titled «Waterfall», a piece throughout which the notes seemed indeed to be cascading, set the pace for the quartet’s genre-straddling music. «Emerald Blues» comprised a mixture of fusion and a lighter shade of blues with its lament-like sound.

The group’s inventiveness came shining through with “Ποιμενικόν” (“Pastoral”, the title being in Greek), a “shepherd’s minor” scale rendition of the well-known Greek folk song “I loved a shepherdess”, with the soprano saxophone and guitar filling in for the vocals and mimicking the shepherd’s flute. “Stepping Stones”, a very jazzy tune reminiscent of the classic era of hard bop, brought the best out of the saxophonist, Örjan Hultén, with his remarkable speed and mastery of his instrument.

While “Downfall Monologue”, an exceptional piece, prompted a melodic intervention by the drummer, Asaf Sirkis, and an impeccable solo from the bassist, Palle Sollinger. Sirkis is most inventive in his rhythmic changes, as expected from an accomplished drummer and composer, long-established in the London jazz circuit (and here taking the place of Fredrik Rundqvist, who played drums for the album recording).

All in all, Spiliotopoulos’ return to the London jazz scene provided a most refreshing experience.  Stockholm’s (Spiliotopoulos’ new base since 2013) gain is surely London’s loss.

Mihalis Yianneskis

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 12:17

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