CULTURE

A Greek jazzman in full swing

When veteran jazzman Keith Jarrett came across Yiorgos Psihoyios a few years ago, he was surprised by the Greek artist?s improvisation gifts, which he described as ?a godsend.?

My first contact with Psihoyios — a piano and accordion soloist as well as a composer and one of the country?s leading jazzmen — took place in October last year, when he organized the first edition of the Jazz Marathon at the Parnassos Literary Society. As he presented rising and established names of the local jazz scene to the audience, it was obvious that standing in front of us was a highly intelligent and sensible artist who adored his craft and wanted to share his passion with the rest of us.

?Without exaggerating, I consider jazz to be the new classical music,? he said at the time.

Psihoyios is set to present his new CD, ?The Art of Melancholy,? at the Ianos bookstore in Athens on January 19 and is scheduled to appear in an improvisation concert at the Onassis Cultural Center on January 24.

?I?m going through a particularly creative period; something like a composition explosion,? Psihoyios told Kathimerini.

While ?The Art of Melancholy? is currently on sale in select stores, Psihoyios is already busy recording his next album, which is billed as the first Greek album to feature jazz accordion.

Besides recording, he is presenting a tribute to poet Nikos Karouzos at Ianos on March 24, organizing an avant-garde jazz festival at Karystos on the island of Evia, preparing for a series of concerts abroad and putting together the second edition of the Jazz Marathon at the Parnassos Literary Society.

?Jazz is blossoming and doing very well in Greece. I keep discovering great talent and listening to leading musicians playing jazz with great love and devotion,? he said. ?The fact that the local jazz scene exists, is living and breathing under the current circumstances, is noteworthy on its own.?

Born in Athens in 1970, Psihoyios starting playing the accordion at the Hellenic Conservatory when he was 14. After graduating he furthered his studies at the capital?s Experimental Conservatory. Alongside his piano skills in classical music, he has also earned distinctions in jazz and improvisation.

Among his compositions are works such as ?The Death of Tango? and ?Deep Blue.?

For more information: Ianos, 24 Stadiou, tel 210.321.7917; Parnassos Literary Society, 8 Karytsi Sq, tel 210.322.1917; Onassis Cultural Center, 107-109 Syngrou, tel 213.017.8000.