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Dimitri Vassilakis

He participated in the 2012 London Jazz Festival with three appearances, one of which in London’s historic jazz club Ronnie Scott’s on November 15th, 2012. Jazz in the New Europe is a major initiative of the London Jazz Festival that brings together seminal figures of music and was held under the auspices of the Cultural Programme of the European Union and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture.

“It is one of my most pivotal live appearances,” says Dimitri Vassilakis and adds “with an additional particularity: when it was time for my last appearance in the Festival, late at night at Ronnie's, all the musicians invited had completed their appearances and had gathered there. So, I was lucky enough to be playing for a very lively audience amongst which were seminal figures of jazz like Herbie Hancock, and to jam with great names from the international scene like Esperanza Spaulding, Jason Marsalis and others, always accompanied by The Greek Gang, a group of young Greek artists!”

The Greek Gang! ensemble consists of Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone), Tasos Spiliotopoulos (guitar), Thodoris Ziarkas (bass), Chris Nickolls (drums), Eirini Tornesaki (vocals) and Asteris Papastamatakis (keys).
Other music appearances that have marked Dimitri Vassilakis’ music pursuits are his appearance in South Africa with the great pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and the gigs and music workshops that he held at the ghettos. Equally outstanding were the concerts he gave last June at the Berlin Sunset club and the Paris Sunside club, as part of the European Music Day celebrations. 

As the musician himself admits “2012 in the US was one of the most thrilling years” as he got to play in all his favourite clubs in New York (Zinc, Smalls, Fat Cat) alongside some music giants and former fellow musicians like Jeff Tain Watts, Essiet Essiet, Ron Affif, David Kikoski, Ralph Peterson, Marc Johnson, Theo Hill, Roy Hargrove, Sylvia Cuenca, Victor Jones, Jack Walrath, Benito Gonzales, Nana Simopoulos and others.

He has also played at the American Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, and at the Chicago Jazz Showcase with the Columbia Big Band. He has presented his album Daedalus Project – Labyrinth at New York’s renowned Birdland club and at Yale University. Equally important but in a different light was his collaboration with the Isidora Duncan International Institute in the context of which he enveloped the eminent artist’s choreographies in new music, and he accompanied a group of 20 dancers on tours in America and Greece, to sites of archaeological importance.

His future plans include appearances in New York in April, at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at the Lincoln Center, with the support of the Onassis Cultural Center NY, and his first tour in Japan in May. Dimitri Vassilakis will continue his appearances with his quartet at the Booze Cooperativa club in Athens, featuring guests from Greece and abroad.

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