309

Dimitri Vassilakis: Parallel Lines

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Greek saxophonist Dimitri Vassilakis' third album for Candid is a one-course, big plate feast of rugged, gruff-toned tenor saxophone and high-torque bass and drums. It swings hard from start to finish, with only the halfway point "Soul Eyes" providing a pause, and does both Vassilakis and his primary influence, Sonny Rollins, proud. It was released in Europe this past fall and will be out in the US shortly.

In his liner notes, Vassilakis cites Rollins' Freedom Suite with Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach as the chief inspiration for Parallel Lines. The new album is built around a 25-minute suite of three original compositions—"Parallel Lines," "Little One," and "Ocean," recorded in July '03—to which Vassilakis returned in the studio a year later, taking bass loops from the originals and overdubbing new saxophone and drum parts, creating shorter versions which he has retitled with the suffix "Groove." The closing track, "The Drum Think," recorded in early '05, is a saxophone/drums duet which revisits both the original and the "Groove" trilogies. Each track at some point refers back to the same four-note chord in the key of C.

If all this sounds a little drawn out, contrived, and monotonous, it is none of those things: the music is fresh, organic, and energised. Ideas tumble out of Vassilakis' tenor (he plays soprano only occasionally)—and there's a depth to his tone which reminds you, happily, of Rollins and, while Vassilakis rarely uses split notes or harmonics, another notable Rollins descendant, David S. Ware. Essiet Okon Essiet and Jeff Tain Watts both contribute passionate solos (on "Ocean" and "Little One" respectively), but most of the album is Vassilakis', and he strides out with vigour and sustained invention.

A very fine album from a player who is only now approaching first maturity.


Track Listing: Parallel Lines; Little One; Ocean; Swinging Second; Soul Eyes; James; Ocean Groove; Little One Groove; Parallel Lines Groove; The Drum Think.

Personnel: Dimitri Vassilakis: tenor and soprano saxophones, drums (7-10), vocals (9); Essiet Okon Essiet: bass (1-9); Jeff Tain Watts: drums (1-7).

Title: Parallel Lines | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Candid Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Jondo" CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Sonic Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Obnoxius" CD/LP/Track Review Obnoxius
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.