Petros Klampanis group
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Petros Klampanis group

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Jazz World




"New Yorkers Perform in Worldwide Play-In Weekend"

[...] The rehearsal for Petros Klampanis’s seven-piece band, Contextual, doubled as a play-in on Sunday night at the home of the pianist Jean-Michel Pilc in Brooklyn. The musicians, all foreign-born except for the drummer, from Missouri, fogged up the windows near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. As masters of improvisation, the band members depend on communicating with their audience as much as one another. “That’s kind of out of place now,” said Mr. Klampanis, 32, a bassist and composer. “It’s something almost exotic in the society in which we live.” - The New York Times

"Take Five With Petros Klampanis"

Meet Petros Klampanis: Petros Klampanis—© beatles, gretchen parlato, gary willis, paul bollenback, petros klampanis, david berkman, double bass, coltrane, mingus, string quartet, debut album, inner circle music, contextualBassist, composer, and arranger Petros Klampanis grew up on the Zakynthos Island in Greece, a place with a very rich musical heritage, where Italian and Balkan music traditions melt together.

This music amalgam was Petros' first major influence and seed of inspiration to pick up the piano and guitar, and start singing in local choirs at a very early age.

After finishing high school, he moved to Athens in order to attend the city's Polytechnic school. It wasn't long before he realized that the ship engineering course was not as desirable as it seemed, so he decided to take exams for the Music department of Athens University. His life would take another positive turn when he was accepted in 2001. During Klampanis' time in Athens, he had the chance of playing with some of the finest Greek jazz artists today.

From 2005 to 2007, Kampanis continued to pursue a formal education in music by joining the double bass department of the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he got his BA degree and graduated with distinction.

From there, Petros toured in Europe (Germany, Holland, Luxemburg, Belgium, France, Spain, Monaco, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) and took part in many major European jazz festivals. During this time, he received many awards and honors in major music competitions, most notably the Hoeilaart/Brussels Jazz Competition in 2008, and the YPF International Jazz Concourse and Amersfoort Jazz Competition both in 2007.

In 2008, Klampanis moved to New York City to study, eventually earning a Masters in jazz performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music.

Today, Klampanis performs in various venues in New York, sharing the stage with many top musicians from the New York jazz scene including Greg Osby, Gilad Hekselman, Jean-Michel Pilc, Ari Hoenig, Shai Maestro, Sara Serpa, Paul Bollenback, Gretchen Parlato, Antonio Hart and Michael Mossman, to name a few. Additionally, Klampanis serves as a guest teacher at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Ionian Music University of Corfu, Greece.

His first album as a leader, Contextual—featuring Gretchen Parlato, David Berkman and Paul Bollenback performing original material for string quartet and solo double bass—was released in 2011 by Inner Circle Music label and has received rave reviews.


Double bass.

Teachers and/or influences?

Jean-Michel Pilc, Ari Hoenig, Antonio Hart and Michael Mossman are some of the teachers I had in the past.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

My parents bought a keyboard for my older sister and I spent most of my time figuring out the chords and melodies of songs from the '80s Greek TV programs.

Your sound and approach to music:

I want my music to flow, breathe and sing. I want people to enjoy it and sing it, dance it and get inspired by it.

The bass sound is a combination of percussion and human voice. Sometimes during a performance the bass sound is either percussive or approaches the role of the voice, depending on the musical needs of the moment.

Your teaching approach:

My approach to teaching consists a lot of playing, singing, even dancing and generally learning on the spot. My good friend and wonderful percussionist, Jamey Haddad, calls that approach contextual learning. I think young people, especially nowadays, have an amazing learning capacity and I try to take advantage of it when I am given the role of teacher, either privately or at workshops

Your dream band:

Miles Davis' second great quintet, with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

During the Icelandic volcano eruption I had to travel from Amsterdam to Athens in order to meet my friend Gilad Hekselman and percussionist Bodek Janke for a series of concerts in Greece.

It was impossible to fly, so I had to use ground transportation. The only problem was that the whole of Europe was facing the same problem. It was a time of chaos and I had to deal with it carrying my double bass and a suitcase full of CDs and effect processors. I still remember a poor guy missing his train at the Frankfurt central train station, when he walked out of the track to make a quick question to a person working at the station.

After two days of delayed train departures, a night sleeping on a bench at Zurich's Central train station and traveling with probably the oldest ship in existence from Ancona to Kerkyra, I ended up hitchhiking in Greece for a ride to Athens. Finally, a track driver accepted me, my bass and my stuffed suitcase and he eagerly started sharing his experiences from his road travels from the past 20 years, while I was trying to get some rest. When I finally arrived to Athens it was just a couple of hours before the first concert.

Favorite venue:

Carnegie Hall.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My favorite recording in my discography is my album Contextual. I learned a lot by doing that CD. I worked with wonderful musicians, I composed and arranged extensively and discovered new things on the bass and how to capture them on an album. I am very happy with that album and I am really looking forward to the recording process for the next one.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Dave Brubeck's Time Out

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

A proposition of combining jazz, classical and world music sounds.

Did you know...

I really like visual arts. I make most of the posters for my shows.

CDs you are listening to now:

Fred Hersch, Plays Jobim (Sunnyside Records);

Tomatito, Agua Dulce (Universal);

Tigran Hamasyan, A Fable (Verve);

Brad Mehldau, Highway Rider (Nonesuch);

Dhafer Youssef, Digital Prophecy (Enja).

Desert Island picks:

Keith Jarrett, Live in Tokyo (ECM);

Radiohead, OK Computer (Parlophone);

Elis and Tom, Tom Jobim (Philips);

The Cleveland Orchestra, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un Faune (Deutsche Grammophon);

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I think that there are many creative musicians nowadays, maybe more than any previous time of jazz history. What occurs to me is that one of the hazards that Jazz music is facing is the extreme growth of intellect in comparison to the musical instinct and emotion.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Like Thelonious Monk said, once you groove make sure you groove more. This quote could be interpreted in terms of musical quality. Musicians should always try to keep the music level as high as possible.

Schools should support music and encourage young individuals to be exposed to various musical genres.

What is in the near future?

I am planning to release my second album with music for string quartet and a jazz quartet, consisting of Jean-Michel Pilc on the piano, Gilad Hekselman on guitar and John Hadfield on percussion. I am also working on a tour with my trio, Gilad Hekselman and Bodek Janke, in Europe during May/June, 2013.

I am also currently recording a duo album with vibraphonist Christos Rafalides. This new project is called Point 2.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

My greatest fear is not being able to project the sound that I have in my mind.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Blame it on my Youth."

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

Hard to believe, but: "Ain't Nobody," by Chaka Khan.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

A Cook. I think composition and music delivery is a very similar process as the preparation of a dish. Both processes demand creativity, fantasy, skills, instinctual decision making and always keeping in mind the ones you are feeding. - All About Jazz


A formidable player and composer, bassist Petros Klampanis garnered acclaim in his native Greece and throughout Europe before moving to New York in 2008. Now a member of Greg Osbys stable at Inner Circle, he makes his auspicious Stateside debut with Contextual. Opening with Thalassaki, a traditional Greek melody performed by string quartet and bass, Klampanis smacks the wood of his deep-toned upright for percussive effect while the strings play a moody Balkan refrain. He demonstrates chordal mastery on a stirring solo bass interpretation of Hoagy Carmichaels melancholy Skylark, and strikes an intimate accord with vocalist Gretchen Parlato on a duet of Paul McCartneys Blackbird. His Basscape is an adventurous bit of looped self-accompaniment, while Basscope is an exercise in layered ambient sound recalling Robert Fripps late-70s experiments with Frippertronics. A couple more exemplary duets round out the program: Klampanis and guitarist Paul Bollenback blisteringly navigate the changes of John Coltranes Countdown, while Mingum, inspired by bassist-composer Charles Mingus, is an affecting conversation with pianist David Berkman. - Jazztimes

"Contextual by Petros Klampanis"

We all know that there was a double bass well before the electric bass was an idea lingering in the back of someones mind. This instrument is the precursor and source of our shared voice at this time in history.
I admit that I am always impressed when I hear a musician like Petros Klampanis give us the gift of his creativity performed on such a timeless vessel.
This CD opens with a haunting rendition of a Greek traditional titled, Thalassaki. The sheer beauty of this piece transcends through the ages and reaches into your soul. The balance of percussion and strings is perfect.
As we continue down the set list. Petros moves away from his roots and brings us a combination of original pieces (one of these inspired by Charles Mingus) a standard by Coltrane, and even a contemporary Willis piece.
We are treated to a mixture of jazz and classical music that leaves you wondering what you will experience in the next number. A solid collaboration of Violins, Guitar, Piano, Cello and Udu compliment the double bass. On some of the tracks the double bass is the source of percussion. Its amazing the sounds you can get from a spruce wooden shell!
One standout to my ears is the rendition of one of my favorite Lennon, McCartney tunes, Blackbird. Gretchen Parlatos jazzy vocals are smooth and absolutely perfect for this arrangement. Petros holds down the groove of this piece while harmonizing instrumentally with the melody. You really must hear the voice of the double bass blend with the human voice. Very cool!
So, summing it all up, if you enjoy double bass and jazz, this is a good CD for you!
Check it out! - Bass magazine

"A new CD of Petros Klampanis"

Heritages combine to form on unique interpretation and understanding of the humanistic nature and take on music. Petros Klampanis new release of Contextual on Inner Circle Music is a refreshing departure from the standards of jazz and is one that certainly pushes the envelope of the tradition of bass playing and jazz arranging/composing. Throughout this 10-track compilation of the different contexts in which the bass can be played, Petros offers us 5 originals of his own. Perhaps most stunning is his composition dedicated to the Blue Cave in Zakynthos of which Petros is a native. In this tune it is made undeniable the knowledge Petros holds for the traditions of jazz, composition, and music overall.
A stand out and stunning arrangement featured on this CD is the traditional Greek song Thalassaki. In this song Klampanis beautifully blends Greek and jazz styles in a haunting and romantic arrangement. The string quartet harmony over Klampanis combination of melody tapping and percussive slaps on the double bass evokes an essence of mystery and class.
The premise of which Contextual was recorded truly keeps the listeners ears changing and eagerly engaged through the progression of each track. It was recorded over a several year time span throughout Klampanis contextual life in Amsterdam, Greece, and New York all three of which cities cultures and influences can be heard in reflections of the music posed on this album. This album is a statement of the current jazz era and a reflection of the development of a stellar musician. The musicianship and personality heard on this recording is one that will keep listeners smiling and musicians gawking.
Petros Klampanis can be found performing all over New York City. - NEO Magazine


"Contextual" (2011, Inner Circle Music label)
"Point 2" (2012, Emarel Music)
"Trioism" (2008, ANKh)

As a sideman:
"Not There Yet", Luiza Sobral
"Fast Forward of a Day", CLTrio
"Ar", Sofia Ribeiro
"12 French Songs", Banda Magda
"Horndagen", Musiek Gebouw
"Debut", Jacob Teichroew



Described by JazzTimes as a “formidable bassist and composer,” Petros Klampanis grew up on the Greek island of Zakynthos, surrounded by the confluence of Mediterranean and Balkan folk music. To pursue his musical passions, he dropped out of the Polytechnic School in Athens and in 2005 he began his double bass performance studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 2008, he completed his formal studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York.

Since his relocation to New York City, Klampanis has performed alongside some of the city’s renowned jazz musicians, including saxophonist Greg Osby, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and drummer Ari Hoenig. In addition to his extensive list of appearances locally in New York, including the storied venues of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, he has performed at the internationally acclaimed North Sea Jazz Festival and the Palatia Jazz Festival in Germany.

His relationship with Greg Osby led to the release of his début album, Contextual, on the saxophonist’s Inner Circle Music label. The album was praised by acclaimed bassist Arild Andersen as “one of the most exciting projects I have heard from a bass player in years.” Klampanis has received equal praise for his playing and composing. Fellow bassist Drew Gress notes his “aggressive melodicism, beautiful intonation, and uniquely personal string writing.” In 2012, Klampanis was invited by the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts throughout Latvia. His arrangement of the Greek folk song “Thalassaki” was recently performed by the Greek Public Symphonic Orchestra in Athens.

Petros Klampanis is also an in-demand educator. He has given workshops internationally, and serves as a guest lecturer at Nancy Zeltzman Marimba Festival, Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and the Ionian Academy of Music in Greece.

He is currently working on his second album, called Minor Dispute, to be released soon, with Contextual bandmates Jean-Michel Pilc, guitarist Gilad Hekselman, percussionist John Hadfield, and a string quartet.

Band Members