Vibraphonist, composer, educator and Fulbright Alumnus Dimitris Angelakis, a Greek native who came of age as a jazz player in Philadelphia and New York, is proud to announce the arrival of his debut recording Long Way Home, releasing on acclaimed bassist Petros Klampanis’ label ΠKmusic. Long Way Home finds Angelakis in virtuosic form, playing original compositions and inventive arrangements in a burning quartet that foregrounds the magical blend of vibraphone and Fender Rhodes electric piano, played with consummate skill by George Kontrafouris. Bassist Kimon Karoutzos and drummer Jason Wastor complete the lineup in the formidable rhythm section.
The title Long Way Home is inspired by Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis, in particular the poem “Ithaca.” We become who we are, Angelakis suggests, through the voyages we take, and this is in fact the voyage’s ultimate goal. Wise words from a musician who has undertaken extensive journeys of his own: professional experience in Europe as a leader and sideman and Europe with Petros Klampanis, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (George Fakanas Group), Milcho Leviev and Paris Strother (Prince); graduate work in Philadelphia with Tony Miceli (2013) and with Christos Rafalides in New York; recording sessions and live appearances on the East Coast, not to mention a yearlong sojourn in China.
All these experiences inform the beautiful Long Way Home. The five original pieces each tell a story, most of them gleaned from inspirations particular to Greece, even as the music reflects Angelakis’ immersion in the sound and culture of American jazz. There are three songs from the jazz canon, including Bill Evans’ harmonically challenging “Very Early” and the enduring ballad “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” (on solo vibraphone). “Coral Keys,” by the late pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., prompts the quartet to stretch on music from the heart of the post-bop tradition that remains a touchstone for all involved. Harking back to the “Ithaca” theme, “Ulysses’ Journey” is inspired by the Homeric epic and the poem Ithaka from the moden Greek Poet Konstantinos Kavafis.