Tassos Spiliotopoulos

'ARCHIPELAGOS' Album Reviews 


All About Jazz review

Since moving to London in 2000 to study music, Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos has built a solid reputation as a technically gifted musician, building an impressive résumé of collaborations in a relatively short time, working with drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband, saxophonist Tim Garland, singer/multi-instrumentalist Eileen Hunter and guitarists John Parricelli, Mike Outram and John Etheridge. His debut as leader, Wait for Dusk (Konnex Records, 2006), featuring bassist Yaron Stavi, drummer Asaf Sirkis, and tenor saxophonist Robin Fincker, garnered positive reviews for its free-flowing lyricism and improvisation. In the intervening years Spiliotopoulos has gained further attention in Skirkis' trio, lending a distinctive sound to its two excellent CDs, The Monk (SAM Productions 2008) and Letting Go (Stonebird Productions, 2010), both also featuring Stavi. The obvious chemistry that exists between these three musicians is again apparent on Archipelagos.

The sound of the sea and gulls opens the title track, with Spiliotopoulos' little slide figures gliding sympathetically in what is, perhaps, a nostalgic nod to his homeland and its islands. Impressionistic, this is one of the shortest tracks and sets the mood for Spiliotopoulos' more elaborate compositions. On "The Quest," the trio is augmented by guitarist: Parricelli; Spiliotopolous tracing out the pretty melody, shadowed by Parricelli, before taking center stage with a fuzz-toned solo. Parricelli's cleaner, sharper tone follows, providing a pleasing contrast; both propelled by Stavi 's industry, and the ever-busy, ever-inventive Sirkis.

Spiliotopoulos' improvisations are like little bridges between the composed sections, though at times it is difficult to discern the line between the composed and the always melodic improvisations. Spilitopoulos' patient, delicate explorations on "Secret View" could almost be notated in their precision, or just as easily be created on the spur of the moment, as he tip-toes in the background with Sirkis when Stavi's melodic, unhurried voice comes to the surface, basking in the space, before the trio reunites to close out this impressive tune.

Trumpet veteran Kenny Wheeler guests on "Cosmic Motion," either side of Spiliotopoulos' extended solo, as Sirkis again provides the fire to stoke the band's engine. Wheeler brings a welcome new color to the musical palette, but his relaxed intervention is teasingly short and doesn't really shake up the dynamics.

The pace slows considerably on "The Prayer," a lovely, subtle blues where the trio seems to be playing in slow motion. It's a little like listening to a funereal version "In a Silent Way," sharing some of the meditative, melancholy of keyboardist Joe Zawinul's composition. Spiliotopoulos stretches out in freer style on the final two tracks see, first on the rockier "Out and About," and then on the more jazz-inflected "Stepping Stones," in both cases displaying impressive chops as the collective trio bristles with energy.

On Archipelagos, the highly respected Spiliotopoulos demonstrates that he is growing as a composer too, with well-crafted compositions that balance brittle lyricism with fiery improvisation. Hopefully it won't be another four years before his next offering.

Ian Patterson, All About Jazz 




El Intruso Website

The life of every man is a path to self (Hermann Hesse)

Life is often presented as a trip with multiple branching paths that are on our way. Often, when faced with this winding transit, we are only provided will, desires and a precarious map, generally designed by others, it offers more questions than certainties. The strategy of every traveler should consider that each journey is unique and unrepeatable, that only time can determine if you have chosen the right path or not and that their survival depend on the decisions to be taken at every crossroads, incidental or fork. 

The concept of travel as an interpretation of fate and life itself, has interested man from earlier times. This is confirmed by the investigations and historical references found in the field of philosophy, mythology, psychology and literature. Perhaps the ideal model in relation to travel destination, is represented by the figure of Ulysses in Homer's Odyssey. Paradigm that authentic human existence is an archetype of the dangers involved in having to face the "foster care" that await every traveler and how, throughout the trip, man can become without losing its identity. For Homer the final destination of the trip is going home, the very essence. Ergo, all travel is intended to test what we are and, therefore, Homer imagined the shipwreck of Odysseus when he forgets his mission and his own identity after the spell of Circe, who forces him to eat " flower of forgetfulness. "

Sometimes forking paths are just traps that test us, as mythology states through the Nexus Spell Walker. In that story, a blind traveler should seek their destiny through a path without references. The myth says that if a traveler chooses the correct fork may continue their march, but in case of error will dilute the total vacuum of nothingness. However, despite the string of traps and the inability to reverse or correct errors, the success of Nexus Walker always depends on their willingness to continue traveling and the decisions that it adopts. 

These considerations are beside the new album of guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos Greek and Israeli drummer Asaf Sirkis. It would be unreasonable to deduce that both, in their travels, must pass the multiple branches of the destination not only to end up meeting at the London jazz scene but also to cross with his musical interests in mutual collaborations. 

In fact, both the album and Archipelagos of Tassos Spiliotopoulos Letting Go of Asaf Sirkis Trio (both recently published), calling at the trio format and repeated integrations without losing their original identities.

The remarkable guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos, since his arrival in England in 2000 from his native Greece, has managed to become one of the most promising of the new European jazz scene. That is evident in his collaborations, tours and recordings with Kenny Wheeler, Gary Husband, Tim Garland, John Etheridge, Elle Hunter, Dimitri Vassilakis, John Parricelli and Asaf Sirkis and his acclaimed debut album produced in 2006 with the album Wait for Dusk. The Spiliotopoulos solid academic background includes studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Trinity College of Music and participating in seminars in Improvisational Music in New York, where he studied and performed with musicians the likes of Ralph Alessi, Brad Shepik, Jim Black, Ravi Coltrane, Drew Gress.

In contrast, the outstanding drummer Asaf Sirkis and composer, born in Israel, and had developed a solid musical career in his native country when he established residence in the city of London in 1999. In his early career as a professional musician, participated in numerous group projects covering a wide range of genres and styles ranging from jazz-rock free-jazz and klezmer music and world music. At that time he learned to accompany Israeli music luminaries such as Alber Beger, Harold Rubin, Eyal and Yair Sela Dlal and founded the jazz quartet Gothic Inner Noise, with which it has continued to date. Once integrated into the London jazz scene, the career of Sirkis give a quantitative and qualitative leap in participating simultaneously in several ensembles and leading their own projects. He was a member of Gilad Atzmon 's Orient House Ensemble, participated in the Tim Garland's Lifehouse Project and Larry Coryell's Power Trio, joined the Nicolas Meier Group and Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet, went ahead with Inner Noise, was the Asaf Sirkis & Eyal Maoz Duo and the Asaf Sirkis Trio formed.

Letting Go album and Archipelagos, besides representing the different compositional sensibilities of their authors, not only embody the musical partnership between Asaf Sirkis and Tassos Spiliotopoulos but also, in both cases, use the services of experienced bassist Yaron Stavi.

Tassos Spiliotopoulos Archipelagos shown enough musical maturity to form a sound universe that integrates a wide variety of influences (from Allan Holdsworth to Jim Hall, Pat Metheny to John Scofield, etc.), All the while creating a distinctive voice own musical language. This work represents an eclectic tour of different moods and different climates where they live naturally modern jazz, folk ballads, improvisation and rock fusion, and other stylistic features identified. At all times, manifested by a calm expression that eludes the pompous gestures and favors the melodic content of the score and richer colors. The opening, with Archipelagos, juxtaposes disparate principles but guided by a simple narrative, neat and attractive light that lies in the distinguished sobriety Tassos Spiliotopoulos guitar and subtle nuances that give the low battery Yaron Stavi and Asaf Sirkis . The Quest In the solid domain are highlighted in the process of relaxation and tension and restrained lyricism of his harmonic construction. Red Veil initially orbiting the contours of jazz-fusion to emerge then let an elegant melody, solos topped by excellent workmanship of Spiliotopoulos and Sirkis. Holdsworth References to become apparent in the climate and spacious orchestral approach and the Secret View legato on guitar powerful governing Cosmic Motion, Part, where it participates as a guest trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. Prayer is a quasi-pastoral ballad full of nuances and subtleties, enhanced by impeccable and Stavi Spiliotopoulos interventions. While the tension contained Out and About evolves to reach its climax with a vigorous solo on drums Sirkis. The closure, Stepping Stones, was nourished in the dynamics of swing for apartments, convincingly, on the margins of traditional jazz. 

In short: Tassos Spiliotopoulos in Archipelagos, offers a product of balance axiomatic that even in the hybrid style covering, does set a personal message, clear and fully enjoyable.

Letting Go For its part, the new work of Asaf Sirkis Trio, draw a consolidated musical universe that even if reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth IOU Band and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and making more or less explicit evocations of progressive rock and jazz-rock the seventies, it seems integrated into a language of great stylistic cohesion and meritorious sobriety. Letting Go, in addition to preserving the central tenets of the musical identity that characterizes this project clearly shows the degree of maturity reached by the trio in connection Prior to his discography: One Step Closer 1998 and The Monk, 2008. 

Dream Chennai is known for drawing the ethereal melody, their textures achieved and the explicit variety of resources that reveal the members of the trio. The low precision stressing Yaron Stavi and even taking on the responsibility melodic passages, Tassos Spiliotopoulos guitar featuring a single content and deliberately ascetic and Asaf Sirkis generating a percussive drive and impeccable finishing assembly resolution. 

The initial contours of the steamy climate Letting Go evolve dramatically to reach a segment dominated by the intensities of rock fusion. Other influences Stars and Planets ratified but made through a subtle melodic design marked by enclosures built guitar atmospheres and demure harmonic only contributes here invited Patrick Bettison. 

Lady Lake lies on the calm waters of the jazz ballad, while the powerful argument of Full Moon seems to pay homage to Allan Holdsworth with commendable overall narrative authority and outstanding Tassos Spiliotopoulos intervention on guitar. 

An elaborate drum solo by Asaf Sirkis gives way to the spacious warmth of Ima, a piece that also includes harmonic timbre in their lineup. The album culminates in the air of candid Waltz Waltz for Rehovot with an almost exclusive role of the electric bass Yaron Stavi. 

Letting Go is an album that, despite transit musical genres that are prone to different kinds of excesses and repetitions, able to make a formal allegation undeniable richness, expressiveness judicious, well-known strength in its harmonic content and enviable aesthetic honesty.

As mentioned earlier in this commentary, the journey of life is full of crossroads and forks that require us to make decisions that will end the journey by filling out our map of successes and errors, warnings and signals. 

This indicates that the ways of Asaf Sirkis and Tassos Spiliotopoulos, even starting from different places have been crosslinked into a secure equilibrium. In a correct reading of the map and the future decisions of each will depend on transit to their destinations.

You can go anywhere as long to walk enough (Lewis Carroll)

Sergio Piccirilli 2010




Jazz Mann Review

Tassos Spiliotopoulos


Greek born guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos is probably best known to British jazz audiences as a member of drummer and composer Asaf Sirkis’ trio. However the London based musician has a parallel solo career and “Archipelagos” represents the long awaited follow up to “Wait For Dusk” (Konnex Records, 2006) , an album reviewed elsewhere on this site.

“Archipelagos” sees Spiliotopoulos moving labels and appears under the umbrella of the F-ire Collective. Once more the album features Spiliotopoulos’ two colleagues from the Sirkis trio with Asaf appearing alongside bassist Yaron Stavi. Tenor saxophonist Robin Fincker, who expanded the group to a quartet on “Wait For Dusk” is gone but “Archipelagos” benefits from the presence of two distinguished guests. Fellow guitarist John Parricelli offers an alternative voice on “The Quest” and the peerless trumpeter Kenny Wheeler graces the track “Cosmic Motion”. 

The eight pieces featured on the album are all Spiliotopoulos originals and things commence with the impressionistic title track. The sound of seagulls quickly gives way to keening electric guitar. There’s an agreeably serene air about the piece, a homage I suspect to Spiliotopoulos’ homeland, and the delicate interplay between guitar, bass and drums is exquisite. Sirkis’ succinct drum punctuation is particularly impressive.

“The Quest” sees Spiliotopoulos doubling up on electric and acoustic guitars and there’s also a guest appearance from fellow guitarist John Parricelli, former Loose Tube, prolific jazz sideman and pop session veteran. It’s guitar heaven as the two guitar heroes vie for excellence on Spiliotopoulos’ breezy tune. The composer goes first, using his effects pedals judiciously, and is followed by Parricelli who produces his characteristically clean, singing lines.

Spiliotopoulos’ main influence is Allan Holdsworth but his writing and playing has a more pastoral, cinematic quality than that of the celebrated fusion veteran. On “Red Veil” he adopts a more obvious jazz guitar sound in yet another piece that exhibits great interaction between the trio members with something of a feature for the excellent Sirkis in the tune’s closing stages. His drumming is highly colourful with his cymbal choices particularly impressive.

Other musicians to influence Spiliotopoulos include Bill Frisell, Wolfgang Muthspiel and John Abercrombie. Elements from all three can be discerned in Spiliotopoulos’ playing but his style remains distinctive and highly individualistic. “Secret View” contains more of Spiliotopoulos’ elegant guitar ruminations plus a dexterous, resonant solo from Stavi at the bass.

“Cosmic Motion” introduces the timeless Kenny Wheeler-eighty this year. Spilitopoulos responds to the trumpeter’s still flawless playing with one of his most memorable solos of the set. Elsewhere the pair double up effectively on the melody line of one of Spilotopoulos’ strongest compositions. With customarily excellent support from Stavi and Sirkis this is arguably the album’s stand out cut.

“Prayer” has the kind of meditative aura its title suggests with more sublime group interaction. “Out And About” is altogether livelier, a piece built on slippery little riffs and grooves and with a splendidly soaring rock influenced guitar solo mid track as Spiliotopoulos explores Holdsworth-esque territory.

The closing “Stepping Stones” is similarly breezy with Spilitopoulos soloing nimbly above Stavi’s fast walking bass groove. There’s also another agile solo from the bassist and the whole thing is powered by Sirkis’ crisp, colourful but sensitive drumming.

“Archipelagos” unveils another excellent set of Spiliotopoulos compositions and the playing is of the high standard we have come to expect from these three regular colleagues. It would have been nice to have heard rather more from Wheeler but this is a relatively minor quibble about an album that proves to be worthy successor to the very good “Wait For Dusk”.

The Jazz Mann
 website review

Der griechische Wahl-Londoner Tassos Spiliotopoulos mit seinem zweitem Album

Der Befreier

Aus Griechenland direkt kommt herzlich wenige Kunde in Sachen Jazzgitarre herüber, was vermutlich an der kleinen oder kaum existierenden dortigen "Szene" und dem sonstigen Drumherum liegt, die ein Jazzgitarrist nun mal braucht. Hier haben wir nun endlich mal einen Griechen, der freilich - seit 2000 - in der europäischen Musikmetropole London lebt. Dort hat er studiert, an der Guildhall School of Music & Drama und dann auch am Trinity College of Music, und während seines Studiums hat er gleich noch in New York an der School for Improvisational Music in Seminaren Unterricht bei so unterschiedlichen Inspiratoren wie Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane, Jim Black, Drew Gress und vor allem Brad Shepik gehabt.

Hierzulande kennen ihn bislang wohl nur Klubgänger mit Gitarristen-Faible und ähnlich interessierte Leser des Jazz Podiums, in dem vor drei Jahren Jörg Konrad lobende Worte über das CD-Debüt "Wait for Dusk" dieses Mannes gewählt hat. Anders gesagt: Falls er bisher noch nicht wenigstens als Geheimtipp gehandelt worden ist, dann sollte man jetzt schleunigst und mit ganz un-heimlicher Breitenwirkung Loblieder auf Tassos Spiliotopoulos anstimmen, auf einen Jazzgitarristen mit eindrücklich markantem Profil, der nun, in seinem zweiten Album "Archipelagos" [F-IRE CD 32], so viele Rollen einnehmen kann und so viele Masken aufsetzen mag, wie er will – er bleibt doch auf Anhieb und vor allem nachhaltig identifizierbar, und zwar vor allem durch meist etwas höher als traditionell "normal" geregelten und trotzdem fast klassischen Jazz- und Archtop-Ton, behende springende, mäandernde und gleichsam singende Themenakkorde, die betörende Logik seiner chord progressions, die Anmut und der frische Charme, die aus seinen Kompositionen sprechen, die allesamt gekennzeichnet sind durch das innige Miteinander von kantabler Einfachheit und den Hörer absorbierender Komplexität. Dies ist hochintelligente Musik von großer eigener Kraft.

Sein 2005 gegründetes Quartett mit Yaron Stavi am Kontrabass und Asaf Sirkis, Drums hat sich zum Trio verschlankt. Stavi glänzt im meditativ ruhigen "Prayer" und noch mal im Rausschmeißer, dem Neobop-Brenner "Stepping Stones", in exzellenten Soli; Sirgis hat sein Coming-Out in "Red Veil" mit prächtiger Wühlarbeit. In etlichen der acht Titel ist John Parricelli an der Co-Gitarre, mal slide, mal akustisch, mal nur als Zulieferer eindrucksvoller zweiter Stimmen ("Secret View"). Kenny Wheeler als Gast bläst allerdings gerade mal in "Cosmic Motion" seine Trompete.

Macht aber nichts: Das Trio täte es nämlich auch allein. Tassos' Spiel, das bedeutet oft imposant akkordische Themen, Soli in fast klassischem Sound oder/und, wie in "Out and About", verzerrt, wo es dann doch auch mal um Powerplay geht, das allerdings gar nicht so sehr Tassos' Sache scheint. Der ist nämlich eigentlich in seiner tiefsten Seele ein ganz moderner Lyriker mit sehr klarer und expressiver Sprache, sehr sortiert in Kopf und Herz und Hand, ein brillanter, phantasievoller musikalischer Rhetor, der freilich der Form die Inhalte nie opfert. Diese Themen sind eine einzige Freude, hell, licht, von eigentümlich öffnender und befreiender Wirkung. Dass er als Improvisator fast immer linear bleibt, ist schade, passt aber zu dem Eindruck, dass er sich durch Analogien zu oder Anlehnungen an "alte Meister" kaum fassen ließe.

Tassos Spiliotopoulos ist autark. So einfach und doch so selten ist das.

 2010 Alex Schmitz




 LIRA Magazine Review


GITARRTRIO. Grekiske gitarristen Tassos Spiliotopoulos flyttade till London år 2000 för att studera musik, för att senare även studera improvisation i New York. Sedan dess har han spelat med en massa olika musiker, bland andra Ravi Coltrane och Kenny Wheeler – den sistnämnde medverkar på ett spår här. Genom alla dessa erfarenheter har han format ett eget gitarrspel som förvisso är tekniskt brilliant,men framförallt melodiskt ständigt intresseväckande. Strömmar av infall kommer ur hans gitarr och placerar honom bredvid betydligt namnkunnigare kollegor. Övriga musiker i trion bidrar givetvis till det gedigna musicerandet: basisten Yaron Stavi och trumslagaren Asaf Sirkis. Gästmusiker på enstaka spår är också gitarristen John Parricelli. I en jazz som inte tar några direkta nya steg utan befinner sig i en slags modern mittfåra har trion ändå gjort en riktigt hörvärd skiva. Ymnigt umgänge 

med skivan ger helt enkelt mycket tillbaka. 



 Ranilore's World of Music Website

Guitar wizard Tassos Spiliotopoulos' Archipelagos was released on 24th May on F-IRE Records. This is a trio recording with ace bassist Yaron Stavi and drum phenomenon Asaf Sirkis, omitting saxophonist Robin Fincker from Spiliotopoulos' previous quartet.

The resulting album is much more intimate than the previous quartet release, Wait For Dusk. Although Spiliotopoulos' fusion-based approach of blending classical, rock and folk elements into a contemporary jazz idiom remains essentially the same, there is a greater emphasis here on prog rock influences. In particular, the influences of earlier fusion exponents such as Allan Holdsworth (an influence Spiliotopoulos shares with Sirkis) and John McLaughlin come more strongly to the fore, while at the same time being beautifully suffused into Spiliotopoulos' own distinct style and voice, both of which have matured considerably since the first album. The trio is now a very close-knit one, indeed one of the tightest of its kind, and has grown to be extremely comfortable and at ease together over the last few years, also aided by their also performing as the Asaf Sirkis Trio.

Spiliotopoulos is unquestionably one of the finest young jazz guitarists anywhere and confident enough to afford his collaborators ample freedom and scope to shine as well. They are joined by two very special guest artists, veteran trumpet master Kenny Wheeler on Cosmic Motion, who at a sprightly eighty is still in fine voice and on top form, and guitar phenomenon John Parricelli on The Quest, contributing the gorgeous second guitar solo.

With the perfect balance between composition and soloing, Archipelagos presents moods ranging from the outright joyous to the meditative. Hauntingly beautiful at times, delicate and intricate, at others Archipelagos turns high energy. The rich palettes of all the players paint a sound picture that sparkles brilliantly. While the virtuosity of this trio is beyond questioning, they never indulge in it for its own sake. The soloing all round is as outstanding as you would expect from this calibre of musicians.

Undoubtedly, Tassos Spiliotopoulos' Archipelagos is one of the most exciting guitar-led trio albums of recent times. The music remains delightfully accessible and is possessed of a great intimacy, as well as charm and wit.

With not a single weak track, Archipelagos is a completely consistent album and highly compelling, even mesmerising, to boot. It's an album you'll want to listen to again and again.

For any good jazz collection, let alone fusion or guitar, then, Tassos Spiliotopoulos' Archipelagos is an absolute "must have" album, more than essential. 

2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore



Adam Baruch/The soundtrack of my life Review

Tassos Spiliotopoulos – “Archipelagos”

This is the second album by Greek (resident in London at the time) guitarist / composer Tassos Spiliotopoulos, recorded in a trio format with his customary cohorts at the time: Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer Asaf Sirkis, both also resident in London. Two guest musicians appear, each on one track only: guitarist John Parricelli and legendary (sadly no longer with us) trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, who plays a brilliant solo like only he could. The album presents eight original tracks, all composed and arranged by Spiliotopoulos.

Spiliotopoulos is certainly one of the most original voices among contemporary guitarists, playing and composing in a completely unique style which is incomparable with any other guitar player that I have heard and immediately recognizable. Considering the fact that there are countless guitar players out there, his individuality is already a great asset. Combined with his virtuosic abilities, it makes Spiliotopoulos a phenomenon worth following.

The music is a sort of Jazz-Rock Fusion, mostly sonically, as the actual melodies are way more delicate and complex than the average Fusion production, full of beautiful melancholy and intrinsic Mediterranean peace of mind. Spiliotopoulos, Stavi and Sirkis fir together ideally, as documented also on other recordings they are all featured on, and it shows. The interplay and camaraderie present here are simply marvelous.

Overall this is a beautiful album recorded by three Master musicians, which proves that Jazz-Rock Fusion has still something to offer when taken seriously. Wholeheartedly recommended, and if you can find a copy grab it ASAP.



WAIT FOR DUSK’ Album Reviews


 Rainlore's World of Music Website

The Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet's debut album, Wait For Dusk, was released on the Konnex label in 2006. Formed in 2005 and consisting of already superb guitarist Spiliotopoulos himself plus excellent tenor saxophonist Robin Fincker, world class drum titan Asaf Sirkis and master bassist Yaron Stavi, the quartet in many respects already foreshadows Spiliotopoulos' more recent trio with Sirkis and Stavi, although the album is, by its very nature, quite a different beast to the recent trio album Archipelagos.

Wait For Dusk is strongly serving notice that here's a new guitarist and fusion exponent, as well as a new band, that are intend on making a strong and lasting impression on the British jazz scene and beyond. And that they certainly have done. Spiliotopoulos already exhibits the kind of prodigious chops that have propelled him into the top league of young guitarists, along with his developing distinctly personal style and voice.

Nine confident, excellent originals make up the material of Wait For Dusk. Spiliotopoulos is always adventurous, and the mood ranges from joyous to slightly dark, often delightfully playful. The approach is fusion-based, melding classical, rock and folk elements into a contemporary jazz idiom, often strongly modal. Influences such as John McLaughlin - particularly from the early Mahavishnu (first incarnation) period - and Allan Holdsworth and other earlier as well as more recent fusionists are discernible but never intrusive.

There is a good balance between compositional elements and soloing, with some fine inventive improvs all round. Spiliotopoulos is generous to a fault in giving his fellow players ample opportunity to shine. Overall, there also is an element of West Coast Cool, especially in Fincker's tenor, which is not unpleasant and works well.

However, as well as Wait For Dusk works generally, indeed, as superb an album it is, one sometimes can't help feeling that there are two trios playing here rather than a single quartet as there tends to be little strong interplay or dialogue between Spiliotopoulos' guitar and Fincker's tenor. Often this is merely a matter of impression, of course, not necessarily of reality. However, it does already seem to hint at Spiliotopoulos' more recent move to a trio.

Nonetheless, Wait For Dusk is not only consistent throughout but also a very attractive album that's more than delightful. There is a tremendous charm here, and this is an album that even four years after its release stands up extremely well and will withstand the test of time. And for a debut album, Wait For Dusk is more than a little remarkable.

No good jazz, especially contemporary jazz or fusion, collection should be without the Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet's Wait For Dusk, and it would also appeal to any collector of guitar or drums, with such virtuosi as Spiliotopoulos and Sirkis. 

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore.



Jazz Mann Review

Greek born but London based, guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos is probably best known as a member of drummer Asaf Sirkis’ trio. Tassos kindly gave me a copy of this album for review purposes when the Sirkis Trio played in Abergavenny late last year and it’s been lurking in my “to do” pile ever since. With a new Spiliotopoulos album “Archipelagos” now out on the F-ire label it’s high time I took a look at this offering which first appeared in 2006 on the German Konnex label. Apologies to Tassos for taking so long to get around to it.

Comprising of nine Spiliotopoulos originals the album features the three members of the Asaf Sirkis Trio ( Sirkis, Spiliotopoulos and bassist Yaron Stavi) plus tenor saxophonist Robin Fincker from the Loop Collective bands Blink, Fringe Magnetic and Outhouse. Fincker adds an extra dimension to the group sound giving Spiliotopoulos a foil to bounce off, a welcome change to the sometimes claustrophobic atmosphere of the Sirkis trio.

An imaginative and versatile saxophonist the French born Fincker quickly makes his presence felt on the lively opener “Ask Harry”, linking up well with Spiliotopoulos’s guitar and providing a typically idiosyncratic solo full of long upper register lines.

The episodic “Lights In The East” is both lovely and dramatic and features Spiliotopoulos at his best. The guitarist states that his main influence is Allan Holdsworth but his approach is a good deal less bombastic than that of his chief inspiration. Spiliotopoulos has also been compared to Bill Frisell, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Abercrombie. There’s something of all of these in Spiliotopoulos’ playing but in the main his style is impossible to classify. He has developed a personal sound that is very contemporary yet inextricably rooted in the jazz guitar tradition. Fincker’s solo here both whispers and cries as he conveys considerable emotion. This is a piece with a real cinematic quality, something which occurs in much of Spiliotopoulos’ best work.

“Gemini” is more conventionally structured with Spiliotopoulos’ guitar sound becoming more obviously “jazzy”. There’s another distinctive solo from Fincker who has been compared with some justification to Warne Marsh and Fly’s Mark Turner, and something of a drum feature for the excellent Sirkis who drums with great sensitivity throughout the album.

“Back Again” is a leisurely ramble featuring Spiliotopoulos intelligent chording and soloing, lyrical double bass from Stavi and a beautifully measured solo from Fincker, again largely in his instrument’s upper registers.

“Next Village” exudes a kind of jaunty pastoralism and “Ivis” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad. The latter features Fincker at his most tender and lyrical and Spiliotopoulos is superb throughout , his playing cool and unhurried. Sirkis gives wonderfully sympathetic support, mainly with the brushes.

“Over The Summer” exhibits some of the effortless breeziness suggested by the title with Fincker digging in during the tune’s later stages. “Other Ways” is also airy and spacious giving Spilitopoulos room to spread out with an intelligently constructed solo. In a highly democratic unit Spiliotopoulos gives similar room to the excellent Fincker.  Although it’s the guitarist’s group and he’s the sole composer there’s no sense of ego from Siliotopoulos and as a result there’s a unified group sound throughout. The contribution of Stavi and Sirkis shouldn’t be overlooked, both give intelligent, flexible support with the drummer ceaselessly colourful but never overwhelming.

The album ends with the title track, ironically the shortest on the album. However the quartet manage to distil its essence into four atmospheric minutes, a cinematic mini masterpiece.

“Wait Until Dusk” is an impressive solo début from Spiliotopoulos that highlight his abilities as both a guitarist and a composer. At the same time it’s a fine group record with everybody playing with and for each other. Fincker’s tenor adds an appealing extra voice to the band and overall this is a well crafted and enjoyable album. It perhaps lacks a little in terms of dynamics, the mood of leisurely exploration remains pretty much the same throughout, but this is a relatively minor complaint about an enjoyable and well executed record. 

The Jazz Mann



Adam Baruch/The soundtrack of my life Review

Tassos Spiliotopoulos – “Wait For Dusk”

This is the debut album by Greek (resident in London at the time) guitarist / composer Tassos Spiliotopoulos, recorded in a quartet format with French saxophonist Robin Fincker and Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer Asaf Sirkis, all three also resident in London. The album presents nine tracks, all composed and arranged by Spiliotopoulos.

The music belongs to the Jazz-Rock Fusion idiom, although it is much more complex and sophisticated than most Fusion recordings, with excellent melodic themes and extended improvisations. The flow and grace of these tunes is delightful and the album is one continuous fun to listen to from start to finish.


Spiliotopoulos has a unique approach to guitar playing and although the guitar is the most common instrument in music today, his tone, fingering and phrasing are truly extraordinary, which is true only in very few cases. It is hard to say if this is a result of his Greek roots and the omnipresent bouzouki dominance in Greek music, but there is something that makes him immediately to stand out after hearing just a few notes.


The leader gets excellent support from his cohorts, all highly professional players of great talent. Fincker plays some admirable solos and supports Spiliotopoulos by playing unisono passages on the melody intros and of course the rhythm section is a dream team, which turns any album they are on into a joyous occasion.

This is a most impressive debut recording, introducing a superb guitarist, which is definitely worth to be followed as he should get far with his music and his virtuosic abilities as a player. The album is now out of print but if anyone can get hold of a copy, it is certainly highly recommended.



Jazzpodium Review

Tassos Spiliotopoulos, now 28 years old, was born in Greece, however he left his native archipelago early in order to study Jazz, first in London and later in New York. He was closely connected with the first wave of young Avant-gardes in order to create his Quartet in 2005, with Robin Fincker on tenor, Yaron Stavi on bass and Asaf Sirkis on drums, still existing today. The four play excellently on 'Wait for Dusk' following their favorites to which, Ralph Alessi, Brad Shepik and Drew Gress belong. Without being overly concerned with musical experiments the debut is one very modern and massively sounding recording.

The music flows in constant change between noted persistence and improvisational skillfulness. The clear structure of the nine original compositions and the brittle aesthetics with which the band develops the available material are most remarkable, rhythmically and harmonically completely unpretentious. Everything works easily undercooled and creates therefore an intimate and otherworldly feeling. Nevertheless the musicians reach a maximum of intensity, even in the ballads, without having to add in speed. Light influences from the native folklore of Spiliotopoulos bring yet another tonal color in play. Furthermore, the collective thinking in this quartet impresses. All four play along with and for each other and no one tries to out-play the others, or break out of the band's instrumental valley. And despite this harmony 'Wait For Dusk' is anything but foreseeable, therefore unbelievably exciting from the first to the last note.

Jörg Konrad



Jazz-Quad Review

It is rather difficult to imagine a more cosmopolitan music project than this one. There is Greek guitar player Spiliotopoulos, French saxophonist Fincker and Israeli rhythm-section Stavi-Sirkis, cooperating with the famous Gilad Atzmon in this quartet. They all live and work in England, in London, where they created their album, although the album ‘Wait for Dusk’ was labeled in german. It was the perfect illustration of the thesis concerning globalization of contemporary jazz, and also the fact of the secrets of jazz the musicians were taught in conservatoires of USA, France, UK England and Germany, as an addition to it.

The quartet was formed by Tassos Spiliotopoulos in 2005, five years after his arrival to London, from Greece. ‘Wait for Dusk’ first album of his quartet, all compositions for this project were written by himself. For jazz stereotypes, Tassos is a young musician, he is less than thirty years old, however, he is a mature master with experience in cooperation with many leading jazz musicians in USA, England and continental Europe, along with its special taste.

As it is apprehensile in his first album, Tassos prefers an acoustic style in jazz that is mainly focused on schemes of contemporary mainstream. In the music of this quartet, you practically cannot feel those, so fashionable today, ethnic motives, you could assume the opposite, considering the multinational nature of the group. Spiliotopoulos’ quality- compositions in slow and mid tempo, with no tense sound in the air, with long, successive guitar and tenor-saxophone solos. This music gives the break to enjoy and appreciate every note played by the musicians, for who the rhythm-section creates a beautiful background. In the bottom and basis of his work, in the slow, thoughtful manner of his playing, Tassos reminds of the patriarch of jazz guitar, Jim Hall, and, at the same time, the contemplative guitar improvisations of John McLaughlin. Apart from the titling part which is easy to remember, I would like to mention the beautiful balland ‘Ivis’, as well as the especially demonstrative- of the quartet’s performing style and of Tassos’ composition temperament- song, ‘Next Village’. On the whole, the debut album of the quartet was very confirmable.

Leonid Auskern




Cadence Magazine Review

Leader Tassos Spiliotopoulos has a full tone and nimble manner of stepping around melodies with a touch reminiscent of Pat Martino. He flies on the slinky groove of ‘Ask Harry’ and gets introspective and thoughtful on tunes like ‘Back Again’ At times he plays heavier, achieving a bruising Bill Frisell-out-of-Robert Fripp sound on ‘Lights In The East’ and doing Methenyish road music on ‘Gemini’. The entire CD is well balanced and arranged so that it really sounds like a group effort instead of just soloist and rhythm section. Robin Fincker works in some lovely mellow spots and Stavi and Sirkis really enhance the texture of the compositions. This album’s sound is strikingly lovely.


Cadence Magazine

New York City



Chris Parker - BBC Music

'Cinematic' is one descriptive tag applied to the guitarist's compositions, and there is an almost brooding, evocative quality to a number of them, especially when bassist Yaron Stavi operates acoustically and drummer Asaf Sirkis immerses himself in his trademark rapturous rolls and fills, but the band also has a punchy, fusion-tinged side, and the resulting mix  proved beguiling and powerful; Spiliotopoulos is a talent to watch out for.



GIG Reviews


Tassos Spiliotopoulos: The Spin

Having rehearsed his quartet the day before, Tassos Spiliotopoulos was put under some pressure with the news that saxophonist Mark Lockheart was trapped in miles of tailback on the M25 and the quartet would be a trio. There is considerable difference between a quartet where the two frontline players can share the soloing and give extra depth to the presentation of melodies and a trio where one player, with the support of bass and drums, is largely responsible for the colour and formulation of the music and for the bulk of the solos. Nevertheless, with a formidable rhythm section of Oli Hayhurst on bass and Asaf Sirkis on drums, Spiliotopoulos was far from alone and unsupported on stage. 

From the outset, he seemed entirely calm and in control of the situation and only remarked on a couple of occasions that a certain number would be very good with the addition of sax – "but never mind". The way Spiliotopoulos handles the guitar, teasing melody from within the body of voiced chords that shift back and forth from open to dense, brought to mind Wolfgang Muthspiel – one of the masters of a style of guitar playing that creates simultaneous focus and space. Surprisingly, Spiliotopoulos claims to have only a passing acquaintance with classical guitar, whereas Muthspiel admits to borrowing heavily from his classical background. 

Spiliotopoulos's technique and confidence put him so clearly in control of the situation that the absence of Lockheart was only felt because it had been referred to. Whether playing his own compositions, many of which had a long-phrased lyrical feel, or straight jazz numbers like Parker's Segment, the guitar playing was a wonderful mix of chordal passages and beautifully articulated and immaculate fast runs. Behind this, the effervescent drumming of Sirkis worked like magic curtains of rhythm, constantly altering the background colouring while Hayhurst pinned the whole down with his precise bass lines. Hayhurst also put in a number of extended bass solos that were rightly applauded for their imaginative drive. Hopefully, next time Spiliotopoulos comes to the Spin he will have a full band and the result will, if possible, be even more enjoyable. 

Paul Medley, Oxford Times





Gig Review, Vortex Jazz Club

Long, mellifluous, melodic lines; slow builds to satisfying climaxes; sweetly contemplative musings interspersed with sudden bursts of percussive energy: the music played by the Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet might perhaps be most easily (and lazily) located by comparing it with that of fellow guitarist John Abercrombie, but it has a gentler, more pastoral sound than the celebrated American's, and in French saxophonist Robin Fincker, Spiliotopoulos has found the perfect foil, mellow and elegant, yet gutsy where required.

'Cinematic' is one descriptive tag applied to the guitarist's compositions, and there is an almost brooding, evocative quality to a number of them, especially when bassist Yaron Stavi operates acoustically and drummer Asaf Sirkis immerses himself in his trademark rapturous rolls and fills, but the band also has a punchy, fusion-tinged side, and the resulting mix proved beguiling and powerful; Spiliotopoulos is a talent to watch out for.

Chris Parker




Evening Standard Review

Vortex Jazz Club

Greek fire from a guitar

Europe has a teeming underworld of ambitious young players bursting to break into the A-list. The Vortex, which catches many of then early, last night welcomed a Greek guitarist, a French tenorist and a drum-and-bass from both sides of the Middle-East divide. Their intelligent interplay put their politicians to shame.

The leader was a tall, slim plectrist from Athens with the brooding features of actor Jeff Goldnlum and the expressive elongated fingers of an Egon Schiele drawing. Using a standard semi-acoustic Ibanez, an unmodified Mesa Boogie amp and (extra bonus points) no footpedals at all, Tassos Spiliotopoulos developed his melodic originals into a lucid flow of elegant ideas.

He recently worked in the US and heard their new breed of guitarists including Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder, at first hand. Like them he plays with no obvious stylistic debt, but traces of the three famous Johns did occasionally appear. Certain oblique, wide-interval chords suggested John Mc Laughlin, at other times the rougher-edged tone of John Scofield and orderly phrasing of John Ambercrombie.

Robin Fincker, another artist difficult to categorise, played tenor sax with an airy freedom somewhere between Warne Marsh and Wayne Shorter, plus the precise high-register control of a Mark Turner. Grooving behind him were Israeli Yaron Stavi and Palestinian drummer Asaf Sirkis, saxman-satirist Gilad Atzmon's favourite rhythm section. Reportedly Gilad is now traveling as Artie Fishel and the Promised Band. They play A Night in Tunisia, but renamed  A Knight into Nietzsche. Naturally.

Jack Massarik

Evening Standard



 Time Out London - Critics Choice

Compelling guitarist Spiliotopoulos creates dark, modal jazz in a similar manner to NYC kingpin Kurt Rosenwinkel, as shown on entrancing and aptly titled new album 'Wait For Dusk'. In the same band that recorded the album, there's a definite kinetic energy between tenorist Robin Fincker, bassist Yaron Stavi and drum monster Asaf Sirkis, that makes this both a band and a guitarist to watch out for.