At The Zoo – a live recorded album of new music from established Greek jazz collective ‘The Next Step Quartet’ capturing the energy, excitement and connection of live performance, sweeping the listener up in a playground of musical exploration and adventure.
“Perhaps the most important band emerging from the Greek jazz scene.’’
At The Zoo is the third release from bandmates Thodoris Kotsifas (guitar), Yiannis Papadopoulos (piano), Ntinos Manos (double bass) and Vassilis Podaras – aka Billy Pod (drums). The quartet began creating music together as students over a decade ago. Since then, they have forged a unique, familial connection that is abundantly clear on this album recorded across a 5-night, sold-out residency at The Zoo in their musical home of Athens.
At a time when live music is inaccessible, this recording offers a welcome window into the magic of ‘in the moment’ performance. Capturing the energy of the room, the music is filled with excitement and anticipation.
“When we play together, we are trying to recall that feeling of total freedom we had in our approach to music when we were younger. We are a collective, a family, and this foundation of complete trust allows us to leave all boundaries behind and dive deep into the music on a new exploration every time.” Vassilis Podaras
This is a multi-layered sound that reveals itself further upon each listening, but also one that is firmly rooted within Greek qualities of openness, connection and emotion. Although providing a strong, immersive melodic base, the essence of each track springs from the bountiful space allowed for adventure and risk, leading to thoughtful, fun and surprising musical journeys at every turn.
“The most special moments, the ones that we chose for the album, are from when we com-pletely lost ourselves in the music and the audience – forgetting we were being recorded and simply being our fullest, most expressive selves.” Ntinos Manos
Acting as a celebration of the band’s own journey both past and yet to come, and spanning themes of self-reflection, familial love and finding peace in a fast-moving world, the six tracks – written by Kotsifas and Papadopoulos – are as rich and varied as the circling, symbiotic musical ideas that bring them to life.
This is a rare opportunity to hear the special quality of this quartet playing live. With a com-pletely collaborative, trusting approach, this is where these individual musicians come to rediscover themselves and their unadulterated love of music making – a joyous journey each listener is invited to join.