Monday, August 21, 2017

Mode Plagal - Mode Plagal II

Ebullient originality and improvisational skill describe the audibly provocative new CD by Greek jazz band, Mode Plagal. "Mode Plagal II" is the long-awaited follow-up to the group's 1995 album "Mode Plagal", on the alternative Ano Kato Records label. Full of inventive touces, this just-out album gives the listener a taste of jazz as seen through the eyes -and ears- of innovative Greek musicians. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mode Plagal: Thodoris Rellos on alto saxophone, Kleon
Antoniou on electric guitar, Antonis Maratos on electric bass, Takis Kanellos on drums and Angelos Polychroniou on percussion. These skilled musicians dared to "jazzify" Greek traditional music (demotika) and the outcome is indeed impressive. Conventional ingredients of the demotika have been enhanced with thick icings of jazz harmonies and distinctive bass lines. They have resourcefully taken a marginalised music and literally given it a new lease of life. And these audacious improvisers don't hide their influences either, instead, they put them on centre stage transforming these blatant borrowings into a newly emerging musical style that has the melodic appeal of fine jazz and the weightier rhythmic line of the Greek demotika tradition. By skillfully manipulating the musical time of a traditional tune from western Macedonia they come up with "Funky Vergina", an attractive example of jazz improv with sax, bass and drum solos intact. The best thing about this CD is that these guys bring conviction to what they do, and the penetrating clarity of their individual performances bears that out. Those who attended last week's performance at the Megaron know that all too well. With a set of personal modes and a radical approach, Mode Plagal have created a style that absorbs tradition, making it an integral part of their music without delivering pale imitations. Particulary delicious is the wonderfully arranges ethnic-tinged "Kalanta" - Christmas carols from Thrace - bolstered by shouting percussion and feather-light saxophone fillings. But if sustained intensity is what you're after, look no further than the stylistically diverse "Pikrodafni (...a blues)" which draws from the Epirot rhythmic heritage. This potent six-minute-plus track, featuring a dynamic sax lead and a driving drum beat, is exhilarating. There's also the more atmospheric "Salona", from Roumeli (continental Greece) where a sonorous sax solo takes the listener to the plains of the region, and the bluesy guitar riffs to Chicago's moody blues joints. What makes this CD, released on Lyra, well worth exploring? It's fresh, well-crafted and finally downright radical. Demotika ill never sound the same after Mode Plagal II. The band has pushed contemporary Greek music into new territories. As for Mode Plagal, keep your eyes and ears open, these guys are probably somewhere in town doing their gig... by Maria Paravantes, Athens News

Artist: Mode Plagal
Album: Mode Plagal II
Year: 1998
Label: Lyra Records
Runtime: 68:15
Recorded in Athens, Greece

Tracks:
1.  Funky Vergina (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 5:48
2.  Miles' Leventikos (Mimis Doutsoulis/Thodoris Rellos) 7:00
3.  The Letter (Thodoris Rellos) 9:31
4.  Carols (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 6:10
5.  Ulysses (Thodoris Rellos/Kleon Antoniou/Antonis Maratos/Takis Kanellos) 1:26
6.  Kalamatianos (Folk Dance/arr. Mode Plagal) 4:31
7.  Pikrodafni (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 6:36
8.  Helios (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 3:52
9.  Cyclops (Thodoris Rellos/Kleon Antoniou/Antonis Maratos/Takis Kanellos) 0:18
10.  Rock Around Eleven (Thodoris Rellos) 3:44
11.  Ivo (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 5:05
12.  Solo Sax (Thodoris Rellos) 2:27
13.  Salona (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 4:15
14.  Solo Drums (Takis Kanellos) 1:06
15.  On Foreign Lands (Traditional/arr. Mode Plagal) 4:42
16.  Blazing Sun (Thodoris Rellos/Kleon Antoniou/Antonis Maratos/Takis Kanellos) 1:44

Personnel:
Thodoris Rellos (Alto Saxophone and Vocals)
Kleon Antoniou (Electric Guitar and Vocals)
Antonis Maratos (Bass Guitar and Vocals)
Takis Kanellos (Drums and Vocals)
Angelos Polychroniou (Congas and Tambourine) - 1-4,7,10,11,15
Maria Aristopoulou (Vocals) - 7
Sophia Papazoglou (Vocals) - 7
Vassilis Hadjinikolaou (Vocals) - 7

6 comments:

  1. Your 1fichier posts require a pw, and your icerbox posts require paid registration. Only the Turbobit posts are free and pw-free.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The 1fichier don't require pw. BDW: a simple thanks is enough...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know these guys fist hand, being a Greek, and watched them a number of times! They are really incredible, provocative, highly energetic and innovative in what they are doing - mixing jazz with Greek tradition! Although I've bought the album some years ago, I feel that a warm 'thank you' is in order - for those who are reading this post: have a good listen and you won't regret it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Flyra, I totally agree with your opinion. This guys are fantastic, their music is really first class ethno jazz or world jazz. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks. This looks very interesting.

    ReplyDelete

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