Petros Klampanis (b)  (GR)
Shai Maestro (p) (ISR)
Gregor Fuhrmann (clo.) (D)
Sophia Baltatzi (vl.) (D)
Olga Holdorff (vl.) (D)
Christiane Buchenau (vl.) (D)

Petros Klampanis Blends the Colors of Emotion and Experience

into a Rich Portrait of Humanity on his first Large Ensemble Album, Chroma

Bassist/composer Petros Klampanis has absorbed a vibrant palette of colors over the course of a varied musical life journey, including Mediterranean and Balkan folk music of his native Greece, classical colorings of studies in Athens, Amsterdam and New York City, and vibrant splashes of musical pigment developed on the diverse NYC jazz scene through collaborations with such innovators as Greg Osby, Jean-Michel Pilc, Shai Maestro, Oded Tzur, Antonio Sanchez and Ari Hoenig.

On Chroma, his third album as a leader and Motéma Music debut, Klampanis explores the colors of human character, inspired by world events and personal experience. Chroma, the Greek word for “color,” masterfully employs a full spectrum of sonic colors to paint an introspective and emotionally daring artistic statement. His first large ensemble project melds the animated expressions of the composer’s jazz quintet (piano, bass, drums, guitar and percussion) complemented by lush, classically-arranged strings to create a near symphonic work of modern jazz.

“This project arose from a question,” Klampanis explains. “What are the elements that compose each one of us, our personal characters, our individuality? The first answer that came to my mind is that character is composed of all the emotions, the thoughts and ideas, the fantasies and experiences that we have in our lifetimes. If we were to assign each of these elements a single color, then every one of us could be seen as a unique composition of colors, the mix of which results in our own, very personal shade.”

Klampanis’ personal shade is a rich blend of colors whose expressive highlights have shined especially brightly during the making of this album. He explains that Chroma was born of a period of personal turmoil and self-examination. The end of a romantic relationship coincided with a number of other changes in the bassist’s life and in the world at large, leading, he says, to “an introspective period where I was spending time and energy thinking of the reasons that lead me, and other people, to take certain decisions, to think of what we think and to be who we are.”

Given his origins, Klampanis was also influenced by the turbulent events roiling the world, from economic stresses that hit particularly close to home in his native Greece, to his immigrant’s natural empathy for the refugee crises in Syria and across the Middle East. Processing these global events, Klampanis’ views on the human experience came into extreme clarity and were translated into Chroma as a riveting, synesthetic experience for listeners.

“We need to look inside and see what is really important for us and for the world around us,” Klampanis urges. “We happen to live during a strange time for humanity. Musicians and artists in general have historically been the ‘outsiders’ in most societies, and our time makes no exception. But art carries qualities that are essential for our development, individually and socially. We need more ‘color’ in our life: more love, more compassion, respect, and imagination.”


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