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25 Apr

Spyros Manesis interview

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Spyros Manesis, known in Greece from his work with various jazz projects, presents now his new project for solo piano inspired by Lena Platonos's music. In this project, Spyros fashions a special interpretation of this important composer/songwriter's music, and creates bridges between her original recordings and his own musical world, in which the classical/romantic tradition exists together with the jazz idiom
1-How this project was born and why Lena’ s Platonos music ?
I was living in the Netherlands when I started experimenting with Lena Platonos's music and I realized how rich this music is in its ingredients, mainly melodic and harmonic. In the beginning I worked on a couple of themes I liked, mostly for fun, with no intention to build a special project. Later on, in the Master Program of Amsterdam Conservatory I decided to study deeper Lena Platonos's music and to particularly study ways to translate her songs to a solo piano format and practice arranging and improvising on them. After a few months I had enough material which now can be called a "project".

 2- What lead you to jazz?
Improvisation was the key element. I was always playing classical music and as teenager i found very interesting to improvise and feel the freedom of finding myself the material of the music I would play. At that time I was also listening a lot to rock, blues and jazz and that was also very important.

3- Which jazz musicians had or have a great influence on you, and why?
Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Charles Lloyd   and many many more, the list is very big. The history of this music is full of great musicians that made and still make great music that in different stages of my life have had and still can have different impact. The good thing with the really great musicians is that you can always go back to them and find new things to enjoy and to learn. Very strong influence also are the people that I play/have played with.

4- Where is the finest country   to play your music ?   Where do you think the audience is the best and why ?   ( France, States, Greece or other country)
I think all countries may have potentially all kinds of audiences, I wouldn't say there is a "finest" country to play music. The only think I can say is that in Greece lately the people, especially the younger ones, are more aware of what kinds of music exist and they go a lot easier to jazz concerts. I think also that one of the side effects of the crisis of the last years is that people tend to trust less what the mass media present as "good" and not only they trust other media like internet to get their information, but they also look for more original, personal and direct ways of communicating art, which is of course good for jazz.

5- What do you think about the Greek jazz scene as it is today ?
I think the scene right now is better than ever. There are so many young, talented and well trained musicians that are around right now and the scene seems to be opening. Many of them have studied abroad, others are trained in Greece - the graduates from Ionion University in Corfu are excellent musicians with great future, for example. More than that, those musicians create projects which keeps them creative and help the scene develop. Of course the financial context does not help much, but I believe that the musicians that are dedicated to music will find their ways at the end.

6- What are your plans for the next months ?
I am planning to release the solo piano album ("Portraits of Lena"), and to present as much as possible my trio album "Undelivered" with bassist Joao Hasselberg and drummer Kaspars Kurdeko.


Spyros Manesis — Portraits of Lena: Arranging Lena Platonos's music for solo piano   Featuring Savina Yiannatou, voice - Athens Premiere on May 13 2012, at 21:00 at   Michael Cacoyannis Foundation - Pireos 206 — Tavros, Athens — 2103418579 — www.mcf.gr

Interview by Patricia Graire - April 2012 -

Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2013 15:17