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he Next Step Quintet is pianist Yiannis Papadopoulos, guitarist Thodoris Kotsifas, bassist Ntinos Manos and drummer Vassilis Podaras.
The band has no leader as they all equally participate in developing their own musical language. Despite being called a quintet, the fifth band member has been each time a different saxophone player among the regular collaborators of the band (T. Paterelis, T. Pennicott).
The quintet met in their late teens while at Music Studies Department of the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. They immediately bonded and started collaborating on a variety of projects
Vassilis Podaras (aka Billy Pod) was born in Athens,Greece in 1988. He started playing drums at the age of 11. His musical studies include 6 years of classical piano and violin lessons. At the age of 18 he was accepted at the jazz department of the Ionian university of Corfu and 5 years later he got his Bachelor degree and later his Masters degree in jazz performance. From 2009 he is one of the most active musicians in the Greek jazz scene collaborating and performing internationally at festivals and venues in Europe,USA and Asia. Tivon Pennicott, Jd Walter , Emmet Cohen ,Rufus Reid ,Bobby Sanabria ,Manfred Schoof ,Olivier Temime ,Timo Lassy ,Dean Bowman ,George Kontrafouris ,Takis Paterelis ,Vasilis Rakopoulos ,Dimos Dimitriadis ,Dimitri Vasilakis ,Vasilis Xenopoulos ,Nikolas Anadolis among others are some of his latest collaborations. He is member of the band the Next Step Quintet (latest release feat.Tivon Pennicott)