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05 Feb

Dimitris Kalantzis - Interview

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Dimitris Kalantzis has collaborated with prominent musicians of the Greek and international jazz scene. With the same way that American jazzmen "stepped" to the great composers to create their own innovative projects, Dimitris Kalantzis creates new jazz music that relies and is inspired by great Greek composers. We have met him for a little chat...

In 2011, he  released with his Quintet & Athens Camerata  a  Jazz tribute to Manos Hadjidakis… ...  An album 100% Hadjidakis and 100% jazz - a melding of the jazz band and string orchestra. One of the most prominent recent record productions in Greece . A great success ! Then in 2013, he came back with Modes & Moods:  Music by Mikis Theodorakis - Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet & The Patras Orchestra - an evocative album where melodies jazz meets the most restless, inspired and innovative artist and citizen of the world. Another big success. Mikis Theodorakis wrote a note on the inside cover of the cd, about the marriage to jazz  as "one of the most beautiful and touching moments of his life." And there is this other project «Back Home Blues», the concert where he married American jazzmen with Greek songs fo Spartakou, Mouzakis and Giannidi  and probably more to come ...

1 - What lead you to jazz ?
With the first album that I bought in the mid-80s, I realized that I wanted to be a jazz musician. I do not know how many thousands of times I've heard a collection of Charlie Parker who fell in my hands then.And also some great friends such as Yannis  Loukatos , and self-taught musicians,  introduced me to jazz.

2- Which jazz musicians had or have a great influence on you, and why ?
I could tell everybody, but if i have to set a  limit somehow  I would say Wynton Kelly, Herbie Hanckock, Michel Petrucciani, Dexter Gordon etc.

3- How the project was born - the project of creating new jazz music that relies and is inspired by great Greek composers ?
After so many performance on this repertoire in its original form, it was easier and natural to  me to "translate" in my own language, but always with respect, intuition and vigilant about what the wanted to express.

4- Are you going to make a record with “Back Home Blues” ?
I wish

5-Apart from Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis who are the other composers that inspire you?
All potentially, could inspire everyone. However it is no coincidence that these two are considered leading figure by the real critics (audience & time )

6- What are your working on these days and what are your plan for the next months ?
I am trying to make a music, where classical and jazz performers share roles and requirement.

7- What do you think about the Greek jazz scene as it is today ? I am sure you have been asked many times, but in this time of crisis in Greece, paradoxically we see a lot of jazz gigs,in small places and not particulary jazzy places, every day, with plenty of young promising jazz musicians playing next to the old generation and this amazing and new.
There is no comparison between the Jazz scene of today with the jazz scene 20 years ago. There is a continuous integration of new generations of jazz musician today, and this is new. It was nothing like that 20 years ago.

8- You have been teaching at the Ionian University in Corfou and other school. You keep in touch with young musicians. Could we have your comment on the new generation of Greek jazz musician?
Educated,Trained, inspired, concentrated, EXCELLENT.

9 -What advice would you give to a young jazz musician ?
I could tell them to always stay focused and enjoy every minute of playing, giving importance to their sound before anything else, looking subsequently the roots of the music they fell in love with.

Interview Patricia Graire – February 2014

More about Dimitris Kalantzis http://www.jazzonline.gr/en/musicians/item/253-kalantzis-dimitris.html

Jazz tribute to Manos Hadjidakis  - Manos 2011 - Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet & Athens Camerata http://jazzonline.gr/en/cd-releases/item/421-mano%E2%80%99s-jazz-tribute-to-manos-hadjidakis.html

Modes & Moods- 2013 -  Music by Mikis Theodorakis - Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet & The Patras Orchestra under the direction of Miltos Logiadis   http://jazzonline.gr/en/cd-releases/item/1643-modes-moods.html

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 12:51