Bio

Yako Trio is a jazz band formed in 2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece, consisting of:
Leandros Pasias – piano
Vangelis Vrachnos – double bass
Giorgos Klountzos-Chrysidis – drums

‘’It is a real jazz of fire that can be found in both North Greece and Africa and reflects on what we consider modern jazz today. I think Yako Trio from Thessaloniki is one of the best jazz groups in our country.’’
G. Charonitis – Athinorama, 2020

Three young musicians who, after their studies mainly in jazz, and their musical wanderings in various cities abroad, returned to their hometown with their bags full of a great variety of sounds, experiences and knowledge and the aim of challenging and conversing with their country’s unique traditional sounds and images derived from its rich multicultural history.
The key element for forming the Trio was the work of the well-known Greek musician and composer Yannis Konstantinidis, in particular his arrangement of familiar melodies and rhythms of Greek traditional music. His intention was to preserve the unregistered Greek traditional musical material through the compositional process. Konstantinidis was heavily influenced by classical composers such as C. Debussy, M. Ravel and B. Bartok. The members of Yako Trio have a deep knowledge of Konstantinidis’ work and also a great admiration for it. They formed this trio in order to experiment with his work and reintroduce it to the audience from their own musical perspective. That’s why they named the band “Yako Trio”, after Yanni’s Konstantinidis’ initials.
In 2018, they released their first album Ode to Yannis. In this album, they approached well-known Greek traditional songs in a new, dynamic, creative way, combining traditional idioms, classical harmonies and elements of modern jazz, while incorporating jazz improvisations.
They are now forming their own musical identity with original compositions in the style of modern jazz. These compositions have been recorded for their second album which is going to be released soon featuring two great saxophonists, Nicolas Masson and James Wylie.
They have performed at major festivals and venues such as Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Jazz in Progress Heraklion, Dimitria Festival, Music Showcase Greece, Institut francais de Thessalonique, Moni Lazariston Festival Thessaloniki, Kyustendil Summer Cultural Holidays & Radio Plovdiv (Bulgaria) , Sumadijski Blues & Jazz Festival (Serbia).
They have shared the stage with great guest musicians such as Nicolas Masson, James Wylie, Harris Lambrakis, Dimitris Angelakis, Makis Stefanidis, Vasilis Lagdas, Elsa Mouratidou and Periklis Vrachnos.

Leandros Pasias
Leandros Pasias was born in Thessaloniki. At the age of 10 he began piano lessons with his teacher Tasos Mantzaris at the conservatory Musicworkshop. Also he took classical harmony and jazz harmony lessons with Jiannis Angelakis at the Modern Conservatory of Thessaloniki. At the age of 18 he continued his studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the department of jazz piano with professors Karel Boehlee, Rob van Bavel, Hans Vroomans and classical piano lessons with Gert-Jan Vermeulen. Among others, he attended the workshop of the internationally renowned professor Arnold Dooyewerd. In Amsterdam took part in seminars with: Avishai Cohen Trio, Mike Clark, Dominique DiPiazza, Robin Eubanks, Panagiotis Andreou, Hilario Duran Trio, Enrico Pieranunzi, Dennis Mackrel, Miles Okazaki and Jeff Levenson. Ηe holds a classical harmony diploma (class of C. Tsougras) at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and now he is finishing his BA at the Department of Music Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has played in big festivals abroad (Odessa Jazz Fest – Ukraine, Jazz au Chellah – Morocco, Tirana Jazz & World Music Festival – Albania, Radio Plovdiv & Kyunstendil Concert Hall – Bulgaria, Šumadijski Jazz Festival – Serbia, Prilep Jazz Weekend – FYROM) but also in Greece he has appeared in major festivals such as Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Thessaloniki Concert Hall, Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, Dimitria and Lasaneia . He has collaborated with great artists such as Nicolas Masson, James Wylie, Ivo Papasov, Haris Lambrakis, Jannis Pavlidis, Kostas Anastasiadis, Dimitris Angelakis, Adrien Losco, Marina Osk, Abhishek Mangla, Socrates Votskos and many others.
Lately, he is taking lessons from the great American jazz pianist, Aaron Parks.
Discography: Sokrates Votskos Quartet – Sketching the Unknown (Jazzman Records,2019) Yako Trio – Ode to Yannis (Yako Trio, 2019)

Vangelis Vrachnos
Born in Thessaloniki in 1989 is active as a musician and composer already 10 years mostly in Greece but also in Rotterdam where he studied jazz doublebass at Codarts Academy.
As a doublebass player he has dealed with a big variety of music styles and traditions as greek folk, balcan, east music, mediteranian, latin, jazz, free jazz and avant-garde being member in many bands of Thessaloniki\’s musical scene. He is also active as trumpet, french horn player, street musician and student of medicine.

Giorgos Klountzos-Chrysidis
Giorgos Klountzos-Chrysidis was born in Thessaloniki in 1991. He began his craft in 2001 at the Modern Conservatory of Thessaloniki under the guidance of Costas Pagonidis. In 2008, he moved to France in order to continue his studies at the Conservatory of Nice. During that time he participated to well-known festivals such as the Nice Jazz Festival, Nuits du Sud and others. In 2011 he entered the prestigious Regional Conservatory of Lyon. He founded his first jazz band, a tribute to saxophonist legend Hank Mobley. Mobley was one of the reasons he started his musical journey and has always been an inspiration to him. In 2013 he took part in the Jazz Vienne Festival with the big band of his Conservatory. He had the chance to meet the American drummer Leon Parker, who encouraged him to move to Paris in order to follow private lessons with him during the next two years. In 2016 he traveled for the first time to New York. It was a defining moment of his career as he participated in saxophonist Diego Rivera’s Quartet for many representations in Detroit, Michigan. He had the opportunity to also work with infamous pianist Xavier Davis, who was playing as a guest. Throughout his stay in the United States, he attended lessons by Rodney Whitaker and Randy Gelispie at Michigan State University. He had the occasion to work with musicians from Greece and elsewhere, like: Diego Rivera, Xavier Davis, Craig Bailey, Baptiste Herbin, Pierre Marcus, David Lynch, Ziad Rajab, to name a few.

James Wylie
Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer James Wylie (b.1986), currently based in Thessaloniki, Greece, grew up in Wellington, New Zealand and was introduced to music through classical repertoire at a young age. After experience with piano and
violin he settled on the saxophone in his teens serving as his introduction to jazz and improvised music. James studied at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington where he received his Bachelor of Music. During this time he was active both locally and internationally, performing in Australia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Austria, Germany, Canada, Sri Lanka and the US and was the recipient of prestigious awards such as grants from both the Aotea Performing Arts Trust and the Woolf Fisher Trust. The latter of these two awards allowed him to continue formal study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. He graduated in 2010 with a Masters of Music (Honours) in Jazz Performance. Whilst in Boston he studied privately with many renowned musicians, both in Boston and abroad, such as Hayden Chisholm, Frank Gratkowski, Anthony Coleman, Jerry Bergonzi, Allan Chase, Dominique Eade, John McNeil, Cecil McBee, Bill McHenry, Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek. In 2011, James reclocated to Berlin involving himself in a wide variety of musical activities and collaborations with dance and theatre. He has also performed or recorded with Anthony Coleman, Gunther Schuller, Hayden Chisholm, Max Andrzjewski, Thimios Atzakas, Antonis Anissegos, Michalis Siganidis, Elias Stemeseder, Sam Rivers, Wayne Shorter, Jonathan Crayford, Matthias Bauer, Jorrit Djikstra, Anna Webber, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, Russ Garcia, Frank Carlberg and has created music for Boston-based, Company1. His musical interests include the investigation of microtonality and its application to the saxophone. James is also involved in study of overtones and non-tempered intonation systems and developing an improvisational language for solo saxophone performance. Other areas of interest are the music of Greece, Armenia, Turkey, and the near east and continuing instrumental studies on the Politiki Lyra (Klasik Kemençe).