Dimitri Vassilakis and Makoto Kuriya

Dimitri Vassilakis
Jazz Saxophonist, Composer and Singer

Greek saxophone virtuoso Dimitri Vassilakis began his musical life singing and playing bass in a popular new-wave group called Art of Parties. Segueing into studying saxophone, piano and composition at the London College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, he won UK-wide competitions and the LCM Society prize. Dimitri has made five award-winning albums for respected jazz label Candid Records, including Daedalus Project—Labyrinth, named the number two jazz album of 2002 in a BBC internet poll. BBC Music Magazine calls him “a rhapsodic stylist of immense power and authority.” On Across the Universe (2011), recorded in New York with a cosmopolitan lineup of top jazzmen from every continent, he sings and plays songs from the repertoires of the Beatles, Doors, Nina Simone and Chet Baker to celebrate Candid Records’ fiftieth anniversary.

When he isn’t playing at major venues like Ronnie Scott’s, Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center and Birdland New York, Dimitri teaches and authors prizewinning educational books on saxophone and jazz.

Makoto Kuriya
Jazz Pianist

Struggling people probably need music more than others. What makes Makoto Kuriya such a distinctive pianist are the soulful groove he developed while living among the Appalachian black community and clarity. After graduating from high school, Makoto moved to the US and started playing live shows while studying linguistics at West Virginia University. He worked as a jazz teacher after graduation, and later shared stages with jazz giants such as Chuck Mangione.

Upon returning to Japan, Makoto formed his own group and played with Herbie Hancock at Tokyo Jazz, Japan’s largest jazz festival, and in Paris for “International Music Day” with such greats as Billy Cobham, John Faddis, and Jonny Griffin. Makoto has over a dozen music releases, did the soundtrack for the platinum-winning Neo Genesis Evangelion, and produces not only jazz but pop music and classical orchestral compositions.

Jazz Democracy