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Take Five with Markos Chaidemenos

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Markos Chaidemenos

Markos Chaidemenos is a jazz musician who discovered his love for piano at the age of 16 (2005) and his passion for jazz at the age of 22. Although Markos earned his first bachelor at Informatics & Telecommunications in National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, he never worked in the field. After he mastered classical piano in Athina Conservatory he completed his jazz piano studies at Praxis Conservatory. Later, he received a master degree in Jazz Performance after graduating from Ionian University of Corfu and in the same year (2016) he recorded his first album Remains (live) at the radio show Jazz in the City. His second album, New Era, followed in 2020.

Instrument:

Piano

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Spyros Manesis and George Kontrafouris.

Influences: Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Mulgrew Miller, and Bill Evans.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I first listened to the Bill Evans album Alone.

Your sound and approach to music:

I always try to have fun and interact with the other musicians as much as possible. I try to avoid having expectations. Only then I can truly sound like myself.

Your teaching approach:

I always adjust to the student and give him or her the best method and approach.

Your dream band:

My piano trio with Kimon Karoutzos and Panagiotis Kostopoulos has exactly the sound I wanted to achieve.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My latest album Caravan because it captures the post mainstream sound that I like to hear and play.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Alone by Bill Evans.

Did you know...

Lately I only practice stride piano and it is a real breakthrough!

CDs you are listening to now:

Mulgrew Miller: Live at the Kennedy Shop Vol. 1 (MaxJazz)
Willie "The Lion" Smith: The Lion (Inner City Records)
Miles Davis: In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk (Columbia)
Clifford Jordan: Glass Bead Games (Strata-East)
Ron Carter & Cedar Walton: Heart & Soul (Timeless Records)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

It is getting more and more intellectual in many cases and doesn't have that soulfulness you can find in the older albums. As I grow older I realise the main concern of a musician must be to play exactly what makes him feel good, interact with the other musicians (or his inner self if he plays solo) and live in the moment of the gig or the session. Everything else comes naturally.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Listening and practicing the roots of the music. Moreover, practicing classical music gave me a deeper understanding of jazz.

What is in the near future?

I would like to record my fourth album this summer. I already have the tracks and my trio is ready!

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Marathon runner!

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Mulgrew Miller, because he is my biggest piano influence.

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