As I mentioned before, Greece has wonderful jazz musicians.
Although this is not the right place (again) for jazz music as the majority of people prefer to shake their bodies on tables and wave their hips on bars in the tunes of some opa-opa song, jazz music blossoms in the underground.
The underground jazz audience might be outnumbered by the belly dancing lovers at this side of southern Europe but…jazz diamonds are released every now and then…
Before I start writing about Yiannis Kassetas and his band, I would like to mention that during the last two decades, most of the musicians that work at the Greek music clubs studied at Berklee college of music or at M.I. and most of them are jazz or latin music teachers…
But…for sure they have to make some money for the living too…if you know what I mean…
Yiannis Kassetas is a young sax and piano virtuoso who released his second album titled “FunkAbyss” about a month or so.
Two years after his first album, “The Truth About the Alien Invasion In Egypt” Kassetas and his band, The Funk Wizards strike back.
This time with the participation of sax player Jason Yarde and drummer Clarence Penn.
For those of you who are not familiar with these two musicians, Clarence Penn played the drums for artists of the caliber of Wynton Marsalis, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Brecker to name but a few.
Jason Yarde on the other hand is a member of Jack DeJohnette’s band but he also contributed in recordings for artists such as McCoy Tyner, Roy Ayers and Hugh Masekela Jazz Jamaica All Stars.
The Tracklist :
1. John Carpente’s Road Movie
2. Creatures of the Abyss
3. The Zen theory of Funk
4. Crystal Dream (intro)
5. Crystal Dreams
6. Giant Rainbow
9. X-rcheia Blues
10. G. Rainbow (blue shades)
Some of the finest Greek jazz musicians came alongside Kasseta & the Funk Wizards in the studio: organ player Giorgos Kontafouris and tenor sax player Dimitris Vasilakis, Dimitris Sevdalis (Rhodes), Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis (drums) Basilis Xenopoulos (alto saxophone), Apostolos Sideris (bass) Dimitris Karalis (flute) Adadeji Adetayo (vocals and guitar) and Serafim Bellos (drums).
And since I am done mentioning the guests’ names, let me name the members of the Funk Wizards: Yiannis Kassetas (piano, tenor and soprano sax) Manos Lutas (el. bass and fretless bass) Kostis Christodoulou (Rhodes, synthesizers), Vaggelis Kotzabasis (drums) and Lucia Paleologou (vocals, she also wrote the lyrics for the track “Giant Rainbow”, the only track on this album that has lyrics).
Well worth checking.