08 Oct

The Next Step Quintet Interview

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The Next Step Quintet was created in the fall of 2011 by five young and talented musicians with an average age of 25 years. In Spring 2013 they signed their first album and got great  reviews. Jazzonline has met them for an exclusive interview.

Orfeas Tsoukalas, Thodoris KotsIfas, Giannis Papadopoulos, Dinos Manos and Vassilis Podaras met as students at the Music Department of the Ionian University where they participated in a variety of projects. In Athens they met by chance with Orpheus Tsoukalas  and realized that the five had a common vision of music. The quintet attempts to express its own take on contemporary jazz music through original compositions. -The whole album stands at a very high level. This just proves what we hope is now obvious: the level of jazz in Greece is at the level of international standards. We saw that at Tinos Jazz Festival this summer where Giannis Papadopoulos, Vassilis Podaras and Dinos Manos next to Manfred Schoof gave an amazing performance .
1- What led you to jazz?
Each and every one of us was led to jazz from a different path, but finally for the same reasons. And that's because we all think and feel that this music is more than just and idiom; it's a universal language, and a very insipring way of expressing yourself.

 2- Which jazz musicians had or have a great influence on you, and why?
There's so many of them! But if we have to choose, we'd have to say the greats of course, Miles, Coltrane , Bill Evans etc. Although as a group, we are mainly influenced by the modern jazz giants, such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, we find inspiration on every single musician that has something unique and innovative in is playing-or writing-.

3- Tell us how this band was born and what is your inspiration ? 
This band existed as a quartet some years ago, while the four of us (Thodoris, Yiannis, Vasilis and Ntinos) were studying together in the Jazz Departement of the Ionian University. In the fall of 2011 we encountered Orfeas, our saxopohonist , and immidiately started to rehearse some older stuff,compose new music and perform live as much as we could.
Our inspiration comes from various incidents, thoughts or feelings that each of us have, in terms of composing. But. when playing, our insipiration comes from each other!

4- What would you like to do next ?  What is your next  project ?
We are currently working on new music, hoping to get back into the studio and record our second album. In the same time we're working on a different project, covering the music of a great alternative rock band, Radiohead.But mainly, we're trying to play our music. There's nothing like playing live! 

5- How do you see yourself in 10 years from now ?
Hopefully, doing the exact same thing that we're doing now, only better ! We're trying to really find our own voice in this music, so , finding it and being able to play and record regurarly would be just fine !

6- Give us a comment on Greek jazz musicians you know
Well, that's a tough one ! There are so many Greek jazz musicians we really admire, and fortunately,we all play with them in different projects.  For example, two of us play in Alex Drakos' trio, three of us in Leonidas Sarantopoulos' Black Mamba , again two of us in Yiorgos Georgiadis' group and so on.
But , we really have to pay our respect to two of the most influential Greek jazz musicians, George  Kontrafouris and Takis Paterelis.  George ( among others like Dimos Dimitriadis, Dimitris Kalantzis, Alexandros Ktistakis, Vasilis Rakopoulos and Stefanos Andreadis) was our teacher and mentor in the Ionian University , and with his spirit and his belief in us, he really got us into the creative part of this music. We really owe him a lot !  Takis, this superb musician that we have the privilege to play with, has really helped and inspired us every time we played together.

More about The Next Step Quintet http://www.jazzonline.gr/en/cd-releases/item/1629-the-next-step-quintet.html

Interview by Patricia Graire - October 2013

Last modified on Friday, 11 December 2015 14:25
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