Reviews: Archirana (2000)

Posted on jul 5, 2001 in Record Reviews | 0 comments

Athenian pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos is one of those rare musicians who is equally at home in both the classical and jazz worlds. His album Achirana demonstrates that, while noted principally for his prowess as a classical pianist, conductor and composer, he also has much to say in a jazz idiom. Accompanied by Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen and British veteran drummer John Marshall, he has assembled an exquisite record filled with fluid, fluent improvisations, which transport and delight. Sample the fearlessly slow gems «Diamond Cut Diamond» and «Valley» and be amazed. Audio, CD des Monats/BBC Music Magazine, Pick of the Month ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Achirana contains one element completely new to my experience. Tsabropoulos, a protégé of Vladimir Ashkenazy, is the first classical pianist I’ve ever heard who can play jazz with real understanding and great imagination. … This trio of virtuosi never over-plays, and the album is beautifully recorded. It’s an object lesson in artistry. Mike Bradley, The Times ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Vassilis Tsabropoulos ist ein klassischer Pianist, der sich auf Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin und Schumann spezialisiert hat und der auch als Komponist tätig ist. Als Jazzmusiker merkt man ihm nur an seiner Anschlagskultur den klassischen Virtuosen an. Achirana ist von einer bewundernswerten Disziplin: Ganz sparsam beginnt das Trio den Improvisationsprozess, entwickelt Kommunikation ohne über die langen Beine der Technik zu stolpern. Aus dem suchenden, pointillistischen Klang der beiden Triokompositionen, die die CD einleiten, entwickeln sich swingende, leichte Stücke, und so ergibt sich eine Mischung, die Achirana zu einem sehr bemerkenswerten Debüt macht. Ian Carr, BBC Music Magazine ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Mit Achirana gibt Vassilis Tsabropoulos, ein 34-jähriger griechischer Pianist, seinen Einstand auf dem Label ECM. Tsabropoulos, der sich im klassischen Feld als einfühlsamer Interpret von Beethoven bis Prokofieff die Bewunderung von Vladimir Ashkenazy erspielte, trifft hier auf zwei alte Bekannte aus dem ECM-Künstlerstamm: den norwegischen Bass-Melodiker und Jan-Garbarek-Partner Arild Andersen sowie den Ex-Soft-Machine-Drummer John Marshall aus England. In diesem paneuropäischen Trio lässt Tsabropoulos seinen klassischen Hintergrund kaum je erkennen – vielmehr profiliert er sich als fantasiebegabter und kraftvoller Jazz-Improvisator, der seine Themen mit langem Atem aufzubauen weiß und so den Hörer sehr wirksam mit hineinzieht in den Strudel der Intensität, der sich oftmals aus fast beschaulichen Motiven und sparsam gesetzten Tontupfern bildet. Alles in allem ist Achirana ein famoses Beispiel leidenschaftlich »stiller« ECM-Kammerjazzmusik. Stefan Richter, Fono Forum ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Arild Andersen, ohnehin einer der melodiebetontesten Bassisten, und John Marshall, der wie Andersen schon auf Dutzenden von Platten seine Qualitäten als perkussiv agierender Schlagzeuger bewiesen hatte, erweisen sich als ideale Partner für den Griechen Vassilis Tsabropoulos … ein Pianist, der in Klassik und Jazz sehr viel zu sagen hat und die Zwischenräume in der Musik ebenso zu schätzen weiß wie die abgestufte, feine Dynamik und die souveräne Interaktion mit seinen Partnern. Das Debüt gibt zu großen Hoffnungen Anlass. Raum und Weite, Luft und ein grandioses Gespür für Melodien zeichnen seine Musik aus. Hoffen wir, dass sich Vassilis Tsabropoulos diese Offenheit auch in künftigen Projekten erhalten kann. Er hat das Zeug, einer der ganz großen Tonpoeten des neuen Jahrtausends zu werden. Matthias Inhoffen, Scala       Werner Stiefele, Stuttgarter Zeitung...

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Archirana (2000)

Posted on jun 29, 2000 in Discography, Leader | 0 comments

Achirana» marks the debut of a new trio, formed by ECM bassist of the first hour Arild Andersen and featuring, alongside veteran drummer John Marshall, Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos in his first recording for ECM. Likely to be hailed as a veritable ?discovery? in jazz circles, Tsabropoulos has long been recognised as an exceptionally gifted performer in other idioms. To quote Vladimir Ashkenazy, «Vassilis Tsabropoulos possesses rare talent». He has a reputation as a classical pianist, an interpreter of 19th and 20th century music, and as a conductor, and there is growing recognition for both his composing and his improvising. A prodigy, Tsabropoulos was winning music competitions from the age of 10, and after graduating from the Athens National Conservatory, continued his studies ? on an Aristotle Onassis Scholarship ? at the Paris Conservatory, the Salzburg International Academy, and the Juilliard School, with teachers including Rudolf Serkin, and Tatyana Nikolayeva. Tsabropoulos (born in Athens in 1966) has made the works of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Schu-mann central references in his performance repertoire but is also a committed advocate of Russian music, frequently playing the works of Rachmaninov. Prokofiev and Scriabin. His compositions (works for piano, violin, string quartet, and more) include the «six Preludes» which he wrote especially for Vladimir Ashkenazy. Amongst current projects in the classical arena are a tour of the U.S., recitals in Britain, performances of Mozart in Sweden, conducting in Scandinavia, work with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague, recordings of Chopin and Schumann… and then there are the jazz commitments. Arild Andersen first encountered Tsabropoulos in Athens four years ago, while playing in Greece in diverse combinations with Markus Stockhausen. «What struck me straight away was the fact that his exceptional classical technique never got in the way of his jazz feeling. This is very unusual. And I liked very much the fact that his improvising is generally not chordally based. He?s more often playing independent lines in the left hand.» Andersen and Tsabropoulos got to know each other better while touring in Greece in the ensemble of electronic composer Vangelis Katsoulis. «Around this time», Andersen recalls, «I ran into Manfred Eicher in the street in Athens, and we talked about Vassilis and the idea of some kind of ECM project with him was raised there and then, and followed up later.» One of the great contemporary bass players, his magisterial tone instantly recognisable, Arild Andersen was born in Norway in 1945. From 1964 onward he played with the top musicians in his country and was a founder member, in 1967, of the Jan Garbarek Trio, soon to become a quartet with the addition of Terje Rypdal. Andersen spent six years with Garbarek and appears with him on the ECM albums «Afric Pepperbird», «Sart» and «Triptykon». In this period he also played extensively with George Russell and Karin Krog, and was heard in concerts with Don Cherry, Phil Woods, Hampton Hawes, Johnny Griffin, Art Farmer and more. In 1973-74, Andersen was based in New York, where he worked extensively with Sam Rivers (in a particularly explosive trio with Barry Altschul on drums) and Sheila Jordan, and also gigged with Paul Bley, Stan Getz, Steve Kuhn, Roswell Rudd and others. On returning to Norway he began to lead his own groups, many of them documented on ECM recordings including «Clouds In My Head», «Shimri», «Green Shading Into Blue», «Lifelines» (with Kenny Wheeler and Paul Motian), «A Molde Concert» (with Bill Frisell, Alphonse Mouzon and John Taylor), «If You Look Far Enough» (with Ralph Towner and Nana Vasconcelos), and the trilogy «Bande A Part», «Aero», and «Re-Enter»,...

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