Thessaloniki-born composer and jazz pianist, Nikolas Anadolis, one of the top-notch names of the younger generation, made the best out of the lockdown, crafting his latest album, Violetera.

Nikolas Anadolis

The lockdown's jazz soundtrack 

Text: Chryssa Nanou | Photographs: Nikolas Anadolis Archive
nikolas anadolis

“Music regardless of its style or genre has a soothing effect in times of hardship,” points out Nikolas Anadolis, and what better proof of that than what we’ve experienced over the last year? “Jazz, in particular, thanks to its dancing nature, might have gained some ground,” he observes.

Thessaloniki-born composer and jazz pianist, Nikolas Anadolis, one of the top-notch names of the younger generation, made the best out of the lockdown, crafting his latest album, Violetera. “During the lockdown, along with Christina Psycha, we managed to complete an album we had been working on for months. Christina was responsible for the lyrics and the music, while I was in charge of the orchestration,” he goes on to say. Violetera is an up-to-date and fresh proposition of Greek songs, spiced up with a pinch of jazz and Latin culture. “I am really happy to have completed this project that was speeded up by the quarantine, which generated more free time.”

The title’s album draws inspiration from the Spanish song La Violetera. “Violeteras, just like the birds, used to be considered as an omen of spring’s coming,” explains Nikolas Anadolis. “This romantic feature is a perfect match to the album’s aesthetic approach, compositions and orchestrations. It serves as a call to our romantic reflexes, which are bound to become a necessity in these times.” The album is comprised of ten original compositions by Christina Psycha and a cover of a popular traditional Greek song. Anadolis, apart from the orchestrations, is in charge of the album’s production, in collaboration with Christina Psycha. “Having delved into the jazz and Latin tradition, the album’s sound is riddled with elements from both traditions. We placed emphasis on the songs’ structure, which differs from the typical structure found in Greek music. At the same time, I tried to create a cinema-type ambiance, aiming at constructing images in parallel with the unfolding of the story.”

The 29-year-old musician, a creative and restless spirit, displayed a remarkable extent of calmness and versatility following the overturning of his projects over the last months. “Many concerts scheduled to be held abroad had to be postponed due to the pandemic and were rescheduled for a later time, as soon as the circumstances allow it. I have no great expectations, nor do I make grandiose plans for the future. I try to remain creative and productive, adapting to the conditions driven by social entourage.”

Nikolas Anadolis acknowledges that music, as all artistic and professional fields, has taken a rough hit over the last period of time. “The upcoming changes will become more evident in the near future and it would be wonderful to see new projects emerge out a difficult situation. Work-wise, the blow is severe and its repercussions are already noticeable. We all hope to tackle the adversities and find a silver lining to this story.”

Amidst the pandemic, musicians from all over the world experimented with online concerts. Is this the new trend or just a temporary adjustment to the current conditions? “It depends on how the pandemic will develop,” he replies. “Online platforms were a one-way route for artists during the quarantine, so as to ensure that artistic events are kept alive. Needless to say that an online concert cannot trigger the same level of emotions and stimuli as a live concert. Nevertheless, it is still a way for artists to express themselves and reach out to the audience. We have no alternative than to adapt to these unprecedented conditions, taking all necessary and important steps.”

Who is Who

Pianist and composer Nikolas Anadolis was born in Thessaloniki, in 1991. His first spark of piano improvisation came at the age of four, while he started taking classical piano courses at five and a half years old. In 2001, he took on jazz courses, and a year later, he enrolled at the Thessaloniki State Conservatory. He attended numeral masteclasses delivered by acclaimed musicians and graduated from the Music School of Thessaloniki, in 2008.

He obtained the Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, in 2012, after having received two full Presidential Scolarships. In 2014, he concluded his Master of Music (jazz studies – performance) at the New England Conservatory of Boston.

At the age of 19, he was granted the “Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris”, at the international piano competition Piano Jazz – Martial Solal. He is also a First Prize winner at the Greek-Cypriot piano competition “O Philonˮ (2004), a third-prize winner at the international competition “Konzerteumˮ in Athens (2005), and the recipient of the Clare Fischer Compositions Award bestowed by the Berklee College of Music (2012).

His range includes solo piano, jazz piano trio, saxophone duet, brass and string ensemble, big band, septet and choir compositions. As a jazz pianist, he has appeared in numerous festivals in Greece, Morocco, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Romania, Switzerland, the USA, as well in the legendary New York jazz club, Blue Note.

He has collaborated with Sotiris Anadolis, Dimitris Goumberitsis, Kostas Theodorou, Lakis Tzimkas, George Garzone, François Moutin, Louis Moutin, The Four Freshmen, Jerry Bergonzi, Dan Gabel, Magnus Öström, Christoph Huber, Young Hoo Kim, Jonas Burgwinkel, Simon Tailleu.