Monday, April 17, 2006


I said I heard a Sonny Rollins' influence when I caught Greek saxophonist Dimitri Vassilakis at the Vortex Jazz Club in London last month, but I don't hear it so much the first four cuts on "Parallel Lines," Candid. He reminds me more of cross between Jackie McLean and Joshua Redman with some Coltrane and Steve Lacy in the mix.

Parts of "Soul Eyes" recall "Freedom Suite," however, and there's some Mr. Rollins in "James." I don't mean to imply Vassilakis is at all imitative. It's a matter of borrowing techniques and tricks to bend to his own purposes. He's got excellent range and peppers what he does with Mediterranean themes, a little rap-like poetry and other surprises. He's also quite a creative composer and arranger. Nearly everything on "Parallel Lines" is original.

I'm pleased I went to see him in London and even more happy I bought this CD. The guy's a find and he's in New York this week and Chicago the next with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, a Marsalis family favorite, so go see for yourself.

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