Greek oudist, pianist and composer Alekos Vretos has been merging jazz, Arabic, Greek and Latin music in a masterful blend of sounds from traditional instruments, such as the oud or the nay, vs. modern ones. As a band leader, Alekos has developed a unique atmosphere for his music: keeping traditional sound in the front line he expands it through jazz improvisation and exploding rhythmic development.
“Mergin’”, his first personal album released in 2009 – following ‘Yunan’ with The Meliti Ensemble in 2004 – was welcomed by audience and critics. A bold and tasteful blend of Jazz and Arabic improvisation, “Mergin’” raises oud playing to unexpected territories. A heavy jazz taste and a fine traditional Arabic scent emerges from the stimulating matching with musicians such as Bassam Saba and Takis Paterelis on this live – like recorded album.
“Mergin’” was launched by Jadeo Music, an indie record and management company Alekos founded in Athens, featuring world, jazz and classical music and fellow artists.
Some of the venues that Alekos has performed in - with great reviews on his playing and composing - are: The Herodion, The Athens Concert Hall, the Berklee Performance Center, Mount Holyoke College, the Tombs of Kings in Palestine and The Argos Ancient Theatre.
He has collaborated with legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis, as well as Gilad Atzmon, Theodore Antoniou, The Greek Contemporary Ensemble, The Kamerata (The Orchestra of the Friends of Music), the Jazz Upstairs Big Band, Yorgos Fakanas, Dimitris Maragopoulos, The Athens State Orchestra, Lakis Chalkias, Kostas Thomaidis and Takis Paterelis to name a few. He, also, collaborates with the Megaron - the Athens Concert Hall – as a concert producer and has successfully delivered shows such as the Herbie Hancock Sextet, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Overtone Quartet featuring Dave Holland, Gilad Atzmon, Michel Camilo, Ron Carter Quartet, Chucho Valdes and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Bobby Shew, Chico Freeman, Arturo Sandoval, Staatskapelle Dresden, the Munich Philharmonic and the Palestinian Youth Orchestra.