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Achilles Liarmakopoulos

By ZOE ZENIODI

An outstanding album by Achilles Liarmakopoulos, after Astor Piazzolla: Tango Distinto in 2011, Discoveries in 2014 and Trombone Atrevido in 2015. As its title, Ethereal, suggests, this album has an ethereal and utterly sensual atmosphere. An unusual project, including 11 beautiful tracks showcasing the sound of the trombone, but not in the way we are used to listening to it.

This new CD contains original works written for Achilles Liarmakopoulos, and some very beautiful covers. Liarmakopoulos has collaborated with some exceptional artists for this recording. Gabriel Senanes, Spyros Exaras and Carolina Calvache have written tracks for the album but also participated accompanying the soloist on their instruments. In the album also participate Coline-Marie Orliac, Ben Capps and the tango quartet of Fernando Suarez Paz, Nicolas Ledesma, Lisandro Adrover and Daniel Falasca.

The tracks featured in this album are:

“Paco Odeon” written for a 1990 film, with a melancholy mood and a warm Latin-American colour, and ”Οscuro Silencio”, a splendid milango by Argentinian composer Gabriel Senanes, a genre created by the composer himself, exuding the local atmosphere of Buenos Aires. ”Aguae Vinho” by Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, a nostalgic tune, with alluring voices. “Τrombonsillο” by Colombian pianist Carolina Calvache. The piece was written for the performer and is based on the Pasillo, a traditional Colombian rhythm. Carolina Calvache has also contributed with "Ethereal", the CD’s title piece. “Nostos” by Spyros Exaras, as well as his arrangement of a lovely old song by Saint-Preux, “Concerto pour une voix”, an intensely erotic melody. “Sleepwalker”, a rather minimalistic piece, by Andrew Cadima from San Francisco, a study on the struggle between sleep and consciousness. And finally, a fairly classical entry, presented however in a quite unconventional way; three songs from the Tonadillas al estilo antiguo collection of Enrique Granados, which we are accustomed to listening to with voice and guitar, whereas Liarmakopoulos approaches them in an entirely different, but utterly successful manner.

This album showcases the virtuoso skills and immense musicality of Achilles Liarmakopoulos. He clearly highlights elements of the melody and rhythm of Latin-American and jazz influences, as well as the nostalgic and sensual melody voices.

The warm and rich timbre of his performance, the way he grasps the dynamics and the details, his sensitivity, as well as his beautiful, long phrases, with an amazing legato, are elements unique to this artist. Achilleas Liarmakopoulos is an exceptional trombonist, with deep emotion running through his performance, and a knowledge of his own and his instrument’s capabilities. This is an album that deserves our full attention, but it can also be played in the background endlessly without losing any bit of the initial enjoyment of the first time.

(Zoe Zeniodi is a conductor and a pianist).