Vassilis Tsabropoulos

The Promise

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Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos certainly fits into the ECM style of Euro-classical jazz. While his solo technique generally wafts on ethereal white clouds in blue skies, there's a spiritual and even haunting side of this music that portends long, late nights after a slow sunset. Acting as a full-blown concerto, The Promise moves in mysterious ways, in and out of insight and deliverance, and eventually asks more questions than it answers. Though everything here is fairly even-keeled emotionally, there's not a dynamic, cathartic epiphany, though "Smoke & Mirrors," at over seven minutes, and "The Insider" come close. Based on a Greek folk song, "Djivaeri" might suggest the influence of fellow countryman and composer Iannis Xenakis, while self-contained pieces such as "Tale of a Man" and "Confession" are composed with no small sense of autobiographical irony. Perhaps the music is restrained in that it has less of an inventive propulsion or edge, but that in general is the ECM way. It does contrast to the previous solo effort by Tsabropoulos, Akroasis, which sported more of a side-bar attitude within its prayerful framework. This album lives up to its under-the-surface, ruminative nature, but should be slotted in for the appropriate mood or time of evening, when lights are either very low, or turned off.

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