Greece-born saxophonist Nikos Koulouris expands vocabulary of smooth jazz on new EP
Saxophonist Nikos Koulouris is carving a space in the progressive face of jazz.
On the surface, Koulouris' new four-track EP "...Dare to Dream" may be sailing the seas of smooth jazz but artistically he isn't coasting on stylistic clichés here. Koulouris is actually redefining what smooth jazz is or at least expanding its vocabulary. On "Dream-Walking," for example, Koulouris embraces the rambunctious grooves of funk for his velvety soft saxophone to glide upon. Venturing further into dance music, "Golden Sand" percolates with electronic beats, creating an indelible moment when the warm tones of Koulouris' sax rips through the synthetic haze.
Koulouris was born on April 4, 1970 in Athens, Greece. Although he has been playing music since he was a child, interest in the saxophone didn't arrive until a number of years later. "Becoming a saxophonist is an idea that didn't really come easily to me," Koulouris revealed. "After I completed my studies in Greece, I went to England to continue my education. It was there that I discovered the jazz scene, and I fell in love with the saxophone. I realized at the time that music wouldn't be just something that I would like doing, but rather a way of being for me. I admired the way saxophonists would translate their feelings into sound and eventually into music. By the end of 1995, I had completed my studies in England and started my official jazz saxophone studies at a conservatory in Greece. It was the first thing I chose to do when I returned to my homeland."
Although Greece is not generally considered a mecca for jazz these days, according to Koulouris there is widespread support for the genre in the country. "Jazz in Greece is a big issue," Koulouris said. "People love listening to jazz or going to jazz concerts. I would dare say there is a growing number of people that are jazz-sensitive, that want to know about it, study it, attend it wherever possible and even speak about it. Jazz, of course, is not a commercial genre of music globally, so it would be wise to keep this into proportion. I wouldn't even dare compare the numbers to France or America. It is a good thing though that people are aware of the existence of the genre and try to put it into their lives in one way or another. Koulouris added that, "There is a growing admiration for specific kinds of jazz, such as swing and mainstream jazz. Also, funky and Latin jazz are very popular with people of all ages due to their characteristic rhythmic elements. Let us not forget that Greece is a crossroads of Western and Eastern civilizations and people are accustomed to enjoy various rhythms and ways of expression."
More Information: http://nikoskoulouris.com
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