Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet - Wait For Dusk
The Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet's debut album, Wait For Dusk, was released on the Konnex label in 2006. Formed in 2005 and consisting of already superb guitarist Spiliotopoulos himself plus excellent tenor saxophonist Robin Fincker, world class drum titan Asaf Sirkis and master bassist Yaron Stavi, the quartet in many respects already foreshadows Spiliotopoulos' more recent trio with Sirkis and Stavi, although the album is, by its very nature, quite a different beast to the recent trio album Archipelagos.
Wait For Dusk is strongly serving notice that here's a new guitarist and fusion exponent, as well as a new band, that are intend on making a strong and lasting impression on the British jazz scene and beyond. And that they certainly have done. Spiliotopoulos already exhibits the kind of prodigious chops that have propelled him into the top league of young guitarists, along with his developing distinctly personal style and voice.
Nine confident, excellent originals make up the material of Wait For Dusk. Spiliotopoulos is always adventurous, and the mood ranges from joyous to slightly dark, often delightfully playful. The approach is fusion-based, melding classical, rock and folk elements into a contemporary jazz idiom, often strongly modal. Influences such as John McLaughlin - particularly from the early Mahavishnu (first incarnation) period - and Allan Holdsworth and other earlier as well as more recent fusionists are discernible but never intrusive.
There is a good balance between compositional elements and soloing, with some fine inventive improvs all round. Spiliotopoulos is generous to a fault in giving his fellow players ample opportunity to shine. Overall, there also is an element of West Coast Cool, especially in Fincker's tenor, which is not unpleasant and works well.
However, as well as Wait For Dusk works generally, indeed, as superb an album it is, one sometimes can't help feeling that there are two trios playing here rather than a single quartet as there tends to be little strong interplay or dialogue between Spiliotopoulos' guitar and Fincker's tenor. Often this is merely a matter of impression, of course, not necessarily of reality. However, it does already seem to hint at Spiliotopoulos' more recent move to a trio.
Nonetheless, Wait For Dusk is not only consistent throughout but also a very attractive album that's more than delightful. There is a tremendous charm here, and this is an album that even four years after its release stands up extremely well and will withstand the test of time. And for a debut album, Wait For Dusk is more than a little remarkable.
No good jazz, especially contemporary jazz or fusion, collection should be without the Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet's Wait For Dusk, and it would also appeal to any collector of guitar or drums, with such virtuosi as Spiliotopoulos and Sirkis.
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