Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Nikos Chatzitsakos: Tiny Big Band!


Nikos Chatzitsakos: Tiny Big Band!


Sign in to view read count
Nikos Chatzitsakos: Tiny Big Band!
Bassist Nikos Chatzitsakos' Tiny Big Band, formed in 2018, is basically a nonet with vocalist Lian Zac added on three of the album's eleven tracks, trumpeter Robert Mac Vega-Dowda sitting in on five, vibraphonist Vid Jamnik on four, guitarist Gianmarco Ferri on two. The accent is on straight-ahead contemporary jazz, exemplified by seven standards from the Great American Songbook and a quartet of handsome themes whose jazz credentials are exemplary.

The ensemble plays with assurance and enthusiasm, investing Chatzitsakos' charts (he arranged every number) with an ample supply of intensity. Soloists are similarly engaged, even though one could never pick any of them out of a lineup. Much of the album's charm rests on Chatziksakos' choice of material, which is, by and large, splendid. It is hard to fumble the ball when running with such evergreens as "Taking a Chance on Love," "Tangerine," "You Stepped Out of a Dream," "Willow Weep for Me" or "Tenderly." Zac sings on another gem, Lerner and Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed to [His] Face," as well as on the opening and closing numbers, Mary Lou Williams' tongue-twisting "In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee" and Gigi Gryce's alluring "Social Call," on which guitarist Ferri and pianist Marco Birro sparkle.

Chatzitsakos solos only twice, on "Tangerine" and Ray Brown's "Lined with a Groove," being content, for the most part, to anchor the ensemble's dependable rhythm section (Birro and drummer Karol Zabka). Chatzitsakos' heated arrangement of "You Stepped Out of a Dream" is a highlight (crisp solos by Zabka, trumpeter Will Mallard and tenor saxophonist Art Baden), as are "Willow," "Good Morning Heartache" (featuring trombonist Brandon Lin) and "Tenderly," played without pause as a three-part mini-suite. Those who prefer their big bands on the lighter side, with an abundance of colorful give-and-take among the sections, should find much to admire in Chatzitsakos' well constructed ensemble.

Track Listing

In The Land Of Oo-Bla-Dee; Taking A Chance On Love; Somewhere; Tangerine; I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face; You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Willow Weep For Me; Good Morning Heartache; Brandon Lin; Lined With A Groove; Social Call.


Nikos Chatzitsakos
bass, acoustic
Lian Zac
Will Mallard
Eric Nakanishi
saxophone, alto
Art Baden
saxophone, tenor
Brandon Lin
Gabe Nekrutman
saxophone, baritone
Vid Jamnik
Gabriel Nekrutman
saxophone, baritone

Album information

Title: Tiny Big Band! | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Being Human
Lynne Arriale
Big Band Stories
Fredrik Nordström
Ruth Goller


Vijay Iyer
Jazz Hands
Bob James
London Afrobeat Collective

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.