CULTURE

New ACS venue kicks off with a sax bang

Dimitris Vassilakis, one of Greece’s most acclaimed jazz musicians and composers, both at home and abroad, will kick off the season at the fledgling Arts Center of the American Community Schools of Athens this Saturday. The event is sponsored by Cosmote mobile telephony. Presenting his latest album, «Parallel Lines,» along with Constantinos Zouganelis on bass and Yiannis Stavropouls on drums, the 45-year-old artist’s music has been described as postmodern, energy-infused jazz that creates a «kaleidoscope» inspired by the great jazz artists of history. The first Greek ever to be signed on the famed Candid Records label, Vassilakis is slated to take his 2005 album on a world tour this year, with stops including London and New York, cities in which he has already appeared to widespread acclaim. A graduate of the National Technical University of Athens in chemical engineering, Vassilakis had learned to play the piano, guitar and violin at a young age. Following his studies in Greece, an Onassis Foundation scholarship aided him to the London College of Music, where he studied saxophone, piano and composition and later continued advanced studies at the same institution to gain a jazz teaching diploma. While still at school, he began appearing on the live jazz circuit in London, playing venues such as the Bass Clef and the Barbican. Not long after completing his studies, Vassilakis returned to Athens, where he continues to teach, compose and perform live. In the summer of 1999 Candid Records released his debut «Secret Path,» an album that was a homage to Greek art and philosophy which gained rave reviews. A world tour followed that included collaborations with artists such as Abdullah Ibrahim, Ralph Peterson, Andy Shepard and David Liebman. Another project that followed was «Daedalus,» an album inspired by Greek mythology. As one of the key members of the International Association of Schools of Jazz and representative for Greece, Vassilakis has traveled extensively, playing at many festivals, in places including Dublin, Barcelona, Berlin, Stuttgart, Paris, and in South Africa. He has also conducted workshops in the US, England, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and the Balkans. Currently he is completing a PhD and is lecturing at the Macedonia University in Thessaloniki, as well as appearing regularly on the live circuit in Greece. Dimitris Vassilakis will play at the ACS Arts Center (53 Garyttou, Halandri, tel 210.639.3341) on Saturday at 8.30 p.m. Tickets cost 15 euros (10 for students) and can be booked in advance on tel 210.723.4567 or on www.ticketservices.gr.