The Greek pianist Markos Chaidemenos has released a wonderfully uplifting tribute to the late McCoy Tyner with this track, in anticipation of a full-length album.
The song was recorded live in Athens at The Zoo. It has a feel of focused spontaneity that dances through the ear and bears repeated listening very well, capturing Tyner's essence without sinking into unworthy derivatives. Tidbits seemingly inspired by familiar compositions like "The Greeting" spark up as Chaidemenos sticks to an amalgamated theme and lets it roll with a refined roadhouse sensibility that fits the performance mode well.
A solid opening sees Chaidemenos develop some extremely effective sequences. Those continue for most of the song until the pianist defers to rollicking drummer Panagiotis Kostopoulos, who makes the most of a big finishing flurry. Chaidemenos sticks to some fine percussive harmonics of his own, employing a confident, light touch that eliminates heavy-handed repetition during an extended three-note fadeout which circles back smoothly to the introduction.
"McCoy Tyner was one of my main influences and after he passed away I wanted to honor him by writing a song with some of the chords he loved," Chaidemenos told All About Jazz. A relative newcomer to the international scene, Chaidemenos has already amassed quite a respectable volume of work. He studied classical piano at Athena Conservatory and jazz at Praksis Conservatory.
"We recorded the song in March two days before everything closed down (from the pandemic), so we were understandably not as comfortable as possible. The crowd was small and our hearts crashed." There should be nothing sad about that set. The audience may have been small, but the sound that Chaidemenos created was big. Hopefully it won't be much longer before everything returns to a more normal state, so this emerging artist can further share his expertise.
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