|Jazz in Hellas is a new story.
Allthough there were jazz inspired musicians
and fans a long time ago, only during the last twenty
years there's a strong
jazz movement creating a local tradition that is
Jazz in Hellas , nowadays is taking an interesting
path that is both creative and conventional, retaining
an identity of its own.
The real jazz story in Hellas begins in mid-seventies,
after the fall of the
military junta. In a strong cultural,social and
musical background that included
folk songs like rembetika (referred often as the
greek blues), excellent folk
musics from the mountains and islands and contemporary
songs by top Greek songsters and composers like
Mikis Theodorakis or Dionyssis Savopoulos, it was
difficult for a strange
improvised type of music in the jazz tradition to
become a status.
But the very nature of the Hellenic folk music,
that is also
improvisational, opened the door to jazz in an easier
The freedom of expression in jazz gave a way to
musicians to open their horizons. A movement of
mainstream jazz and improvised music started and
developed in Athens,
Salonica and other cities around Hellas. The second
half of the
seventies was a period of exchanging ideas with
a lot of visiting musicians from the United States
It was also a period that a Hellenic jazz discography
production started to develop.
All took shape around the now legendary George Barakos
Jazz Club in
the ancient district of Plaka in Athens -a joint
that now is history. Some
Greek musicians, like pianist Sakis Papadimitriou
and reed player
Floros Floridis, are well known around the European
the former recording albums with Leo or Adda Records
and the latter
playing with prominent modern jazz musicians of
the caliber of Cecil Taylor,
Evan Parker, Peter Kowald a.o.With a quantity of
about 20 jazz
(and jazz related) records per year (made by independent
companies), with a lot of young musicians and groups
playing in a small number
of jazz clubs,with artistic tendencies that cover
a wide spectrum of tastes
(from post-bop to avant garde, from rhythm and blues
to acid jazz),
the Hellenic Jazz Scene is searching for identity.
It's a hard way, but it seems to find a route in
the last years.
The Hellenic jazz magazine Jazz & Tzaz is published
monthly (and continously)
from April 1993, covering a broad range of musics
special jazz way. There is also the specialized
radio station Jazz FM
and from time to time articles are appearing in
local newspapers and periodicals.
The important thing about greek jazz is the opening
to ethnic traditions,
trying to make an interesting summary of Hellenic
folk melodies in a jazzy background.
That tendency is more profound in the case of improvising
musicians than is in the case of straight jazzmen.
This is a problem that will take some time to find
an acceptable solution -but time
is on our side!The presence of steady annual jazz
festivals is a little problematic.
Salonica International Jazz Festival and Patras
Festival are in a way of financial crisis -but everyone
is hoping for the best!
I mean, we are hoping for the best...
Editor Jazz & Tzaz magazine
JAZZ N TZAZ PUBLICATIONS
Martini S. Pan. & Co. OE
46 Tsami Karatassou Str. Athens 117 42 Greece
email adress: firstname.lastname@example.org