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Alekos Vretos | Mergin'

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World: Middle East Contemporary Jazz: World Fusion Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Mergin'

by Alekos Vretos

An interesting mix of Arabic and jazz music played by traditional middle eastern instrument vs a jazz rhythm section joined by Latin and Arabic percussion. A mix of musical spices. Enjoy!!
Genre: World: Middle East Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Foud
5:18 $0.99
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2. Mergin'
6:43 $0.99
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3. Will see
11:59 $0.99
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4. Panos
7:08 $0.99
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5. Spain
8:38 $0.99
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6. Photi-graph
7:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
After a long period of 4 years composing, studying and planning, I went into the studio with fresh material and old friends to try and record my new album. In October 2007 we started recording in a great vibe of friends and a great “live” disposition. The idea was to record live and that’s what we did. It took us 5 days and everything was to our liking. Fotis Papatheodorou, our sound designer and sound engineer, did the best anyone could do to record this elaborate project in a live way. Our discussions with Fotis went back 2 years for this and he did the best for us. As for the musicians, they are the best you can find for this kind of project. Especially, Takis Paterelis , a long time friend and colleague, was the first to embrace this project and to even help me with the selection of some of the musicians. Some were friends like Bassam Saba, a great Arab musician, others were musicians from my previous bands and others I never played with, but the overall feeling of the recordings was a warm and powerful one. The project was based mostly on improvisation. I wanted to give the musicians the time to elaborate their ideas. The pieces are long because of this effect, like a live performance. Through out the whole project the only thing I remember is FUN, FUN and FUN. We had such a good time that people were dancing in the studio when we were recording and we always stayed after the end of each recording day to discuss about what we did and what we were to do the next day. I really had a great time doing this album and I hope that you will understand what I’m talking about when you listen to it.

Enjoy!!!

Alekos Vretos



















Foud

Composed and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

(Dedicated to Mother)

This piece is the first one I wrote, giving it a Latin approach in the solo section. This piece features Konstantina Kyriazi and Takis Paterelis. Their improvisations are great like one would expect. The piece, like most in the album, has two parts - the melodies and the solo section - which are completely different in rhythm and feeling. As for the title it’s just short for “Fucking oud”. I know it might sound radical, but it was only because I was amazed by the “ability” of the sound of the oud to blend in this kind of music.

Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Bassam Saba – Nay, Flute
Takis Paterelis – Sopranp Sax.
Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Riqq, Bendir, Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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Mergin’

Composed and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

This is the title track. A swing feel going to a funky dance solo section through traditional Middle Eastern sounds. This piece is actually what this project is all about, the universal language of music. All the elements that I like came into place with this composition. This piece features Takis Paterelis again and Kiki on the congas ripping it. If you listen closely to Takis’ solo you will understand why it was a fun project for all of us. The oud solo is what I wanted to do in order to show that the oud and the Middle Eastern idiom can fit into any music like other instruments.

Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Bassam Saba – Nay, Flute
Takis Paterelis – Sopranp Sax.
Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Riqq, Bendir, Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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Will See

Composed and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

I composed this piece early in 2005. It has an older approach than I have now. Though this was the beginning of the central idea of what I wanted to do. The composition is filled with strong elements of Jazz, Latin and Arabic music blended in a journey of music through the ages. Featuring Konstantina Kyriazi and Dimitris Sevdalis, the piece is elevated to the extreme boundaries of improvisation through cooperation of all the members of the band. Last, but not least, Bassam Saba is featured in a wonderful Ney taqsim (solo) on a wahda iqa (rhythm) backed by April Centrone on the riq (frame drum), in the second section of the piece. A great result comes out of this composition and I hold it unique in my hart.


Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Bassam Saba – Nay, Flute
Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Riqq, Bendir, Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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Panos

Composed and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

(Dedicated to the late Panos Geramanis)

Panos was a wonderful man with a great hart and a very “Greek” temper. Always for the good and the just he would light up or calm really quick. That is exactly how the piece is written. A big build up from the beginning until the solo section with moments that sounds more Greek than Jazz or Arabic. This composition features an oud solo on a minor blues form followed by a beautiful flute solo by Basam Saba. This piece was composed to show the lyrical aspect of the oud and thus the oud is featured more than any other instrument. The oud constructs the melody and drives the hole composition to wherever it goes after that…..Just like my friend…..Panos.


Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Bassam Saba – Nay, Flute
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Riqq, Bendir, Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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Spain

Composed by Chick Corea

Arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

After a dazzling, improvised introduction by Takis Paterelis and Dimitris Sevdalis, all players join in a powerful and energetic piece by Chick Corea. One of my favorite composers and piano players (I was one too don’t forget), Chick Corea gave us his license to record his piece. The idea with Spain was to use the oud in a complete jazz environment. That’s why I didn’t change the melody or the form and just arranged it for the instruments I had available. The hard part was the key it is written in. The oud being a traditional and fretless instrument was designed to play traditional melodies and maqams (scales) that have little connection with the tempered system of western music. The key of B minor is not a key that is common for an oud player to play in. I pulled through though with endless practice.


Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Konstantinos Vazouras – Nay, Flute
Takis Paterelis – Sopranp Sax.
Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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Photi-graph

Composed and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos


(Dedicated to Fotis Papatheodorou)

This is a different kind of tune, due to the fact that I used part of my early classical education in music. You will identify classical elements in arranging the melodies of this piece and using techniques like counterpoint and voice leading. Of course, the piece didn’t go all the way leaving the jazz element or the Latin or the Arabic out. After the melody section a fast and jazzy solo section appears featuring Dimitris Sevdalis and Bassam Saba on (flute). The solo section here is of a modal approach and our players give a great example from both sides (East and West) on how modal music is a bridge for this kind of mergers to happen. After that Seraphim Mpelos is featured in a non rhythmic drum solo that will sweep you away to other worlds.


Alekos Vretos – Oud
Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin
Bassam Saba – Nay, Flute
Takis Paterelis – Sopranp Sax.
Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano
Giorgos Roulos – Double Bass
April Centrone – Arabic Percussion (Riqq, Bendir, Shakers)
Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion (Congas, Bongos, Shakers)
Seraphim Mpelos – Drums

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The Musicians

Takis Paterelis – Soprano Sax

A great musician and an even more great friend. Takis taught me more about Jazz than anyone. We became friends during my days in the “Philippos Nakas” Conservatory. He is one of the greatest persons and musicians I know. I really thank him for embracing the project.


Bassam Saba – Nay & Flute

A great master of the Nay (Arabic flute), the oud, the buzuk, the violin and the western flute. I met Bassam in Springfield, Massachusetts back in 1998. We became friends quickly. He was one of my teachers when I was attending the Arabic Music Retreat. I was thrilled when he agreed to come to Greece and record with us. He changed his whole schedule to be here and I thank him for it.


Dimitris Sevdalis – Piano

Dimitris is a close friend of mine and a college mate from when we attended Berklee College Of Music. He is a great piano player and a great improviser. He specializes in Latin and Latin Jazz but he can deal with any music with the same sincerity. He was great in giving ideas and everybody enjoyed him playing in the record despite the heavy schedule that he has.


Konstantina Kyriazi – Violin

I met Konstantina in 2004 through a friend when I was trying to form an ensemble for that year. I immediately recognized a true talent and a big and “musical” heart. We have been playing together since then and I wouldn’t play with out her ever. She understands what I’m trying to do and supports it and from my part I do anything to make her bring out her best playing, though that’s all she ever does. I want to thank her not just because she took part in the project but because she truly believes in me. Thanks…..


Luis Enrique Bu Pasqual, “Kikitcha” – Latin Percussion

I had heard about Kiki, as we call him, through the Athens jazz scene. I’ve always heard the best of comments about his playing. Takis and Dimitris vouched for him so I called him to invite him to the recording. As it turned out, Kiki, not only played great but he was a blast. I hadn’t heard this kind of percussion playing in a long time. The guy is a typhoon of percussion. The funny part is that Kiki turned out to be my neighbor as well. We hang out almost everyday now. I thank him for his originality and his professionalism.



Seraphim Mpelos - Drums

I met Seraphim way back in the ‘90s. He was always a drummer that I considered to be one of the greats. I always admired his clear tone and his time was there no matter what. He enjoyed the project very much sharing ideas in the rhythmic aspects of the project and our collaboration turned out wonders. A big thank you is in order to my life long friend.


Giorgos Roulos – Bass

Giorgos came to my previous ensemble by introduction of my friend and bass player Vassilis Karachoutis. I was amazed by the talent and rhythm this young player had. We have been playing together since 2005 and he is an amazing bass player. During the recordings he gave his best to fit in and he did in the best possible way. Great tone and great groove from this young bass player, that has a great future ahead of him. Thanks…


April Centrone – Arabic Percussion

April was recommended to me by Bassam Saba. He told me that if I wanted a good Arabic percussionist, she was the one. He brought her with him from the U.S.A. and she was amazing. The great asset that April was for this project is attributed to the fact that she is an American. She has the feel of Jazz and Latin music and she has studied and performed Arabic music with the truly greats. She could easily understand what I was trying to do and she met my expectations to the fullest. I would like to say a big thank you to her for doing this.

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All tittles composed* and arranged by Alekos K. Vretos

*(Except “Spain” which is composed by Chick Corea)

Produced by Alekos K. Vretos & Fotis Papatheodorou

Sound Design, Sound Engineer & Mixing Engineer: Fotis Papatheodorou

Mastering engineer: Alexis Gikas

(mastered at Under the Tree Studios in November 2008)

Cover design: Nikos Kartalias

Booklet design: Elena Paraskeva

Photos: Nikos Kartalias, Elena Paraskeva

Cover photo: Nikos Kartalias

Recorded in Reaction Studios® on 10,11,12,13,14,15 October 2007


Produced for JustAdjust Records®

A Mergin’ Music® label

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Acknowledgments

To all the musicians that participated, believed in the project and gave their best.

To Great Master Simon Shaheen, my teacher and mentor for his valuable advice.

To Reaction Studios for their help and great disposition towards my project.

To sound engineer Aris Isaris for his help and long hours, I truly made a friend.

To my lifetime friend Giorgos Sotiropoulos for his help with organizing this project.

To Nikos Kartalias for shooting the photos and designing the cover.

To Pantelis Mantzanas and Syllas Tzoumerkas for shooting the video

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Special thanks:

To Fotis Papatheodorou, who with out, I could never do this project. Fotis helped me in preparing, prerecord, designing, demo, produce, mix, master, cut etc. He was the first and the last person to be anywhere the project and me needed him. This was over two years of work with Fotis who was kind enough to do this as a friend and a professional together and you know that those two don’t easily mix. He is the hart and soul of this project apart from the music. We built it from scratch and he was there all the way.

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“This work is dedicated to the love of my life, Elena my wife, who did everything she could to keep me sane and not fall apart during the whole process. I could never do this with out her and I thank her for putting up with me and all my craziness. She is the core of my life and everything she does is music to my ears and mind. Thanks, Love…”

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