Progplanet being predominately a review site for progressive orientated rock music, is normally quite rigid in respect to the genera of music passing through its steadfastly marble halls, no excuses in this respect as the perfectly formed progressive type holes within this establishment are habitually uncomfortable with other dissimilar pegs, and certainly this is from a readership aspect. But every now and then an album outside of the normal criteria presents itself for critique and for which shines brightly demanding attention.
One may argue that the higher echelons of jazz rock fusion, if expressed in chemical terms, is easily dissolvable within the vast sea of progressive rock and of course they both share a similar DNA
Here, up for review is the totally excellent first album ‘Empathy’ from guitar player extraordinaire ‘Dimitris Korontzis’. An album flowing with a wide variety of compositional ideas steeped in musical colours that have textures oozing from the many soundscapes integrated into every one of the eight tracks.
There is, generally, a wonderfully relaxing and comforting air about the proceedings. From the very second you tune in, succulent waves of melodic musical passages float up and around you and subsequently immerse your very soul in swathes of tranquil calm. You, thus, are encouraged to enter into a state of contented oblivion. But this is this is only the surface layer of the music for hidden below are beautifully respondent multitudes of complexity.
The drumming and percussive patterns are truly fascinating and unbelievably innovative, so too are the hypnotic bass lines which drift along in a set format before taking you completely by surprise with a sudden and momentarily twist in direction before returning back to the central theme. And then there is the compositional glue:- the keyboard and piano fills with delicate melodic runs that anchor together the musical canvas. This in turn allows space for the lead instrumentation of guitar and sometimes adorable saxophone to hold sway with their charismatic tenderness adding a warm romantic jazz guise to flavour the proceedings.
Dimitris is certainly an excellent guitarist and although unique in his own way has certain similarities in style with Steve Kahn. He certainly demonstrates his craft on this album as he works his way through a workbook of guitar maneuvers, in fact almost a veritable A-Z of guitar techniques. Particularly some fascinating lead runs, oodles of tasty finger picking dispatches, reams of neat note bending, with rhythmic riffing and various other staccato manipulations. The compositions are truly interesting with some nice ideas, in particular the voice over of William S. Borroughs adding a rather creepy feel to ‘THE LAST WORDS OF HASSAN SABBAH’ is a really great track. Furthermore, the music, entirely instrumental in nature, seems free from any lengthy improvisations all being pieces where the main themes are nicely worked out and structured.
An aspect I particularly liked about the entire album is the fact that whilst ‘Dimitris’ is very much the lead protagonist he has allowed his fellow musicians plenty of space to contribute greatly to the scores by not entirely dominating the instrumental participation or flow of the music.
Sumary : Interesting, warm and very accessable cool jazz.
Artwork: Comprehensive and neat by Cover Design: @grafikastudio
11 FULL MOON 6:1 2
2) JET KUNG SHUFFLE 6:55
3) ELF'S SONG 6:29
4) AFTER THE RAIN 5:09the realms
5) WAVES 4:48
6) THE LAST WORDS OF HASSAN SABBAH 5:27
7) EMPATHY 5:52
8) FLOW 1:58 Total time 40:90
Line Up :
Dimitris Korontzis guitar and compositions.
Mix and Recording on V.A.P. Studio Mastering: Dimitris Bellos.
Vassilis Podaras: mix and drums programina(3,5 & 7) Stephane Tsapis: keyboards (1,3 & 6). Dimitris Kollias: tenor,soprano saxophone. Theodore Stavrianos: electric bass. Xrisostomos Boukalis: double bass (track 4). Leandros Fratnik: drums (1,2,4 & 6).
William S. Borroughs: Speaking voice (6).
Biography: Dimitris Korontzis s a guitar player from Athens-Greece,he has released his first Jazz-Fusion LP at September 2017 by the name Empathy and the second one by the name The 5 Elements an ambient guitar LP related to the Chinese tradition of Wu Xing.He had participated in many jazz-fusion groups like Pyros Ether,Money Jungle, he was a member of the acoustic jazz group Lathe Biosas,he has participated with Stephan Tsapis(the Immigrant,Megaron the Athens Concert Hall-2016),with Athens Big Band(Megaron Thessaloniki Concert Hall-2005) also he has a jazz ambient duet with sax player Tasos Fotiou called E-son and his own personal Dimitris Korontzis group.
The first solo album of composer and guitarist Dimitris Korontzis, is comprised of eight instrumental compositions that range stylistically from Jazz to Rock Fusion and Cinematic Music. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another; indeed the album's aspiration is to express the vision and sentiments of an audience that cannot be limited by stylistic musical categorisation. The arrangements are dense and deliberate as forms as well as instrumentations, the production quality is prime, the tone has weight and depth, the guitar interacts with the saxophone or with the electric piano while rhythm section, the bass and drums offer a base to the rest of the instruments without settling though on this role alone.