Michalis Katachanas Quartet
Was formed in Athens on April 2012 by Michalis Katachanas (viola), Thodoris Kotsifas (guitar), Ntinos Manos (bass) and Vassilis Podaras (drums).
The members of the group are bound together by their friendship, by their common educational background, as they all are graduates of the Jazz Department of the Ionian University, by their common musical aesthetics, and their strong will to make original and authentic music.
Their repertoire of original compositions and inspired recompositions, covers a long range of diverge musical styles such as Greek and Balkan traditional music, Rebetiko and Classical, which all unite together forming a unic genre that results from their collective dedication to the sound of Modern Jazz.
MICHALIS KATACHANAS (Viola)
September 2008-May 2010: New England Conservatory of Music
Master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation
During his Graduate studied with: Charlie Banakos (bebop language), Ran Blake, Antony Coleman (contemporary improvisation), Tanya Kalmanovich ( Jazz Viola), Martha Katz (classical viola), Hankus Netsky (ear training), Frank Calberg ( Jazz Composition)
October 1998- Ionian University, Music department
His graduation project was a concert with original compositions under the title: “ The viola in Jazz, Composition and Performance”
September 1990- Music High school of Palinni
During his undergraduate studies he was member of various ensembles performing music of many different genres ( Baroque, Chamber music, Contemporary music of the 20th century, Greek Traditional music, Jazz and Free Improvisation). He was member of the Symphonic Orchestra of the Ionian University (conductor: Miltos Logiadis), the Ionian Jazz ensemble 2 under the supervision of professor Dimos Dimitriadis, and the Free Improvisation Ensemble. During his graduate studies he performed in many concerts either participating in projects of his schoolmates or collaborating with Ran Blake, Jerry Bergonzi, Allan Chase, AntonyColeman, Joe Morris, David Harris, Christian Wolf and others. After his graduate studies and since his return to Athens he has founded 2 Jazz quartets under his name playing original compositions, one quartet under the name “Freecandella”, experimenting throughout the boundaries of Greek Music, a String Quartet performing Jazz and Balkan music and 2 duets, one with the piano player Costis Christodoulou, improvising over American and European Classical Music, and a duet with the singer Lucia Palaiologou, trying to establish this rear combination (Viola and Voice) to the world of Jazz and modern improvisation.
Michail Katachanas is working as a professional musician since he was 17 years old,playing Greek Traditional Music, Modern Greek Music, Jazz and Improvised music.
He has collaborated with: Eleutheria Arvanitaki, Martha Fritzila, Nikos Xidakis, Vasilis Rakopoulos, Dimos Dimitriadis, Nikos Platirarhos, Jackie Leven, Joe Morris, Antony Coleman, Maurice El Medioni, and others.
The summer of 2004 he was part of the artistic Olympiads that took place in Athens playing as a sideman in the Group “Five Winds” by Dimos Dimitriadis.
He has performed in various concerts in Corfu, Syros, Volos, Thessaloniki, Athens, and abroad: England, Czech Republic, Turkey, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, U.S.A (Boston and New York)
On December 2010 until May 2011 he worked as leading musician in the National Theater of Greece in the play “Triseygeni” under the directions of Lydia Koniordou and Takis Farazis (composer)
He is also performing as a sideman with the upcoming singer-composer Katerina Foteinaki, having already played in Paris and with upcoming concerts in Paris and Amsterdam on March and April 2015.
He has recorded with Jackie Leven (Elegy for Johnny Cash), with Joe Morris , Thanassis Papakonstantinou and many other independent projects as a session musician based in Athens.
His first personal record with original compositions/recompositions of old Greek Rebetiko music transformed in modern Jazz music, was released on October 2014 under the independent record label REDEFINE PRODUCTIONS. The second personal record with new original compositions will be released during 2015.
Since 2012 he has also been working as a music educator in public primary schools of Pireaus and Athens, introducing a modern method of teaching music through group improvisation, establishing a “modern” children’s chorus that improvise under his directions using sounds of the everyday life.
Thodoris Kotsifas (Electric Guitar)
Was born in 1985. He started playing music at the age of 6-7 years old, and was into greek traditional and folk music. From 1998 to 2003 he studies classical and modern theory/harmony and enters the music department of Ionian University at Corfu, Greece. He Graduates in 2009 with a degree in performance, Jazz Guitar. During his studies he attented masterclasses and lessons with musicians from around the world, such as: Jonathan Kreisberg, Richard Smith, Fransesco Buzurο, Tommas Klausen , Karlheiz Miklin and more, and in 2008 he participated in the IASJ (International association of schools of jazz) meeting in Riga,Latvia. In 2011 he moved to Athens and since then he has performed with musicians such as: George Kontrafouris, Takis Paterelis, J.D Walter, Tivon Pennicott, Olivier Temime, Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis, Giorgos Georgiadis, Dimitris Tsakas, Dimos Dimitriadis, Leonidas Sarantopoulos, Michalis Katachanas and more.
He is a member of «The Next Step Quintet», a modern jazz group wich recently recorded their second album. He also performs with his Sextet-playing original compositions- and his standards Trio and participates in many projects and recording sessions around greece.
Since 2010 he teaches guitar, harmony and ensemble in music schools around Athens.
Vassilis Podaras (Drums)
Was born in Athens in 1988.He started playing drums at the age of 11.His musical studies include 6 years of classical piano and violin lessons.At the age of 18 he was accepted at the jazz department of the Ionian university of Corfu and 5 years later he got his bachelor degree in jazz drumming performance.From 2009 he is one of the most active musicians in Greek jazz scene touring and performing in the most prestigious festivals and venues of the country.He has also worked with plenty of international jazz musicians including :Tivon Pennicott,Dean Bowman,J.D. Walter,Manfred Schoof,Olivier Temime,Olivier Gatto,Laurant Maur,Jean loup Longnon,Mikko Innanen,Shachar Elnatan etc.
In 2010 he performed at the International Pori jazz festival with George kontrafouris baby trio.He also toured in Spain and Finland with the same group at this year.
In 2012 he participated in the (International Assosiation of schools of jazz meeting) Iasj in gratz,Austria.
He is also member of a modern jazz group called the next step quintet.
-Baby trio-urban jazz (2012 puzzlemusik records)
The next step Quintet (2013 puzzlemusik records)
Jazz now-music from Ionian university (released with jazz n τζαζ Greek magazine)
Manos Konstantinos (Bass)
Was born in Serres in 1990. He started playing the cello at the age of 9. He later took up the electric bass under the instruction of Kostas Domenikiotis and Giotis Kioyrtsoglou. He studied in the music high school of Serres, where he attended classes in classical piano and the cello. In 2007 he was accepted in the Department of Music of the Ionian University, where he studied jazz and graduated with a specialization in bass jazz. He has been living and working in Athens since 2012 as a professional musician, having collaborated with the most prestigious Greek, jazz musicians. He has also collaborated with internationally recognized musicians, such as Tivon Penicott (Monk competition finalist), Manfred Schoof (at the Tinos Jazz Festival 2013), J.D. Walter,Kevin Mahogany, Laurent Maur and Shachar Elnatan. In 2010 he participated in the International Congress of Jazz Schools (IASJ 2010) at The Hague in The Netherlands. He has participated in various festivals in Greece, such as the Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, Tinos Jazz Festival, Syros Jazz Festival and the Zante Jazz Festival. He has also made appearances at the Concert Halls of both Athens and Salonika, as well as studied in seminars given by recognised bass players such as John Patitucci, Ron McLure, Olivier Gatto and others. He has been attending Anastasios Kazaglis’ class on classical contrabass since 2012 and is on his way in getting his diploma.