REVIEWS of VARIATIONS:___________________________________________________________________________________
The jazz guitar trio is risky with the end result usually feast or famine with very little middle ground. The George Cotsirilos Trio seemingly owns this format with a warmth and intimacy seldom captured since the Blue Note days of Kenny Burrell. Swing, what is it? How do you know when you are in love? You feel swing, it comes from that sweet spot just past your soul. Bop oriented style guitarists of this ability are a rare breed. Bassist Robb Fischer and drummer Ron Marabuto add that nuanced lyrical cohesion that allows three voices to come together with simply magical results. ( see the entire article..)
www.criticaljazz.com, Oct 18, 2013
Guitarist George Costirilos has two big things going for him: a warm, inviting tone, and the ability to lead a trio of unbelievable tightness in such a way that it sounds loose and cheerful rather than constricted. Well, maybe one other big thing as well: phenomenal melodic inventiveness. On this album he switches between electric and acoustic guitar and between originals and standards (with an emphasis on the former), gliding effortlessly between soulful blues-oriented passages and kaleidoscopic bebop lines and doing an admirable job of filling the open space provided by the trio format with lots and lots of very tasty music. Recommended to all jazz collections.
CD Hotlist, Nov. 4, 2013
REVIEWS of PAST PRESENT:_______________________________________________________________________________________
The intent behind George Cotsirilos' new record was simple - capture the chemistry of a seasoned jazz band and mix it with the right bunch of original tunes and a few standards.( see the entire article..)
Vintage Guitar Magazine, Dec. 2010
Excellent. Chicago-born guitarist George Cotsirilos has been a mainstay of the Bay Area music scene for years, performing with Pharoah Sanders, Etta James and Eddie Marshall. The former co-leader of the San Francisco Nighthawks (which included Marshall and Bobby McFerrin pianist Paul Nagel), he puts his sublimely fluid jazz guitar skills on infectious display on "Past Present," the latest CD from the George Cotsirilos Trio, rounded out by bassist Robb Fisher (Cal Tjader, the San Francisco Nighthawks) and drummer Ron Marabuto. Whether on his own compositions ("Good Wood," "Franny's Jump" and "Cafe 4 Cats"), or on lilting arrangements of classics ("Without a Song," "What Kind of Fool Am I?" "The Way You Look Tonight"), this is about as tight a jazz trio as you'll ever be lucky enough to hear, with eloquent bass lines and delicately nuanced percussion.
San Francisco Chronicle
George Cotsirilos' meticulous and tasteful guitar work is marked by remarkably subtle shifts in accents, and minute changes in expression and dynamics. On Past Present, he also displays an impeccable sense of timing especially in revealing the hidden rhythms of complex melodies. His approach to harmony is whimsical, but patently beautiful at all times. He is fleet-fingered across the fret board and equally expressive as he plucks the strings of his guitar, or simply rolls over them with fingertips, like brushstrokes on a canvas. He must have been a marksman in a past life, because he is so uncannily "bang-on" the pulse a song. And when songs rush and dally from verse to verse, Cotsirilos is damping and setting the strings free to catch each new pulse as it manifests itself.
Cotsirilos plays as he breathes-sometimes in short, excited gasps and at other times in longer, deeper gulps of air. As breathing is seamless, so is his guitar playing, and the only indication that his playing appears synchronized with his breath is the way he sometimes adds resonant spaces between notes or phrases. On "Franny's Jump," played at a brisk pace, Cotsirilos allows the melody to breathe in such a relaxed manner that the silences, though echoing with the last notes heard, enrich the melody with their slurred space. The title track is another example of a song burning with the cold fire of deep meditation. The lilting, Latin-American downbeat, played on diminished notes by bass and guitar, is spectacular, as the music mines a kind of mosaic, reminiscent of a filigreed time when days melted rather ceremoniously into night.
The music here is sophisticated; Cotsirilos is an accomplished writer. On this album, and with a trio, there is no real room to display contrapuntal skills, but that does not stop the guitarist from creating mosaics of a musical nature. Sometimes his linear melodies develop such towering harmonies that the simple becomes ornate with breathtaking twists and turns. Cotsirilos does this by creating harmonic whorls that swathe the melody with diaphanous beauty. The transformation of songs such as "The Way You Look Tonight," "Without a Song" and his own "Rosie's Tune" have that utterly disarming effect.
Cotsirilos has picked colleagues who support him with extraordinary sympathy. Bassist, Robb Fisher has star turns with wonderful solos too. His imaginative turns on "Franny's Jump" and on "Cafe 4 Cats" throw a special spotlight on both songs. His dramatic solo picks up the intense passion of "Past Present," and forces the song to maintain its abstractions, while remaining blithely romantic. Drummer Ron Marabuto is the other reason why this album burns with an earthy flame. He plays with taste and great subtlety, like few drummers today. Marabuto's adroit manipulations of his brassware, and the way he sinks accents into the skins, make him ideally suited for a wonderful record such as this.
-Raul D'Gama Rose
All About Jazz
Past Present is the third release from guitarist George Cotsirilos, and the second for the trio. It is a strong follow-up to the trio's first release together, On the Rebop. This latest production offers up a good mix of original compositions and standards and remains fresh and swinging throughout.
Of special note is the lead-off tune, "Good Wood," which has such a catchy groove, it beautifully illustrates what is so attractive in the modern day guitar jazz scene, as well as what has always been infectious about guitar jazz. This bandleader can really play and he can also make room for his band mates, bassist Robb Fisher, and drummer Ron Marabuto to shine in their own solos. The standard, "The Way You Look Tonight," is also done with enough of a unique approach that the overall integrity of the tune is kept intact, while it does not become stale as many covers tend to do.
"Franny's Jump" and the title track are also solid offerings. The band's dynamism is in full force and Cotsirilos's dexterity is clearly evident.
Trio jazz, when played well, gives the listener the impression of intimacy between performers, but also a sense of playful improvisation interlaced with impeccable timing and precision. This production has it all. The compositions and arrangements are well-constructed and the technical relationship between the musicians is tight and seamless.
The George Cotsirilos Trio offers up an excellent example of modern trio guitar jazz in this project. This is an impressive collection of compositions that has the potential to stand as one of their best for years to come. It is clean, not overly stylized or forced, and results in showcasing the unadulterated talents of the musicians, giving each of them enough space to open up and express individually while maintaining cohesion and closeness as a group.
Guitarist George Cotsirilos has nearly thirty years experience as a musician, working with acts as diverse as Etta James and Pharoah Sanders. He was also, with bassist Robb Fisher, a founding member of the San Francisco Nighthawks. Past Present is the second album from the Cotsirilos Trio, following On The Rebop (OA2 Records, 2005), and it's a graceful and sophisticated mix of standards and Cotsirilos originals.
Cotsirilos' playing is characterized above all by its warmth. Coupled with the equally warm and inviting playing of Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto, it ensures that this album is both welcoming and engaging. Fisher and Marabuto are crucial to the album's feel--both musicians play with a rich sound that acts as the perfect foundation for Cotsirilos' own rounded tones. The guitarist is especially adept at moving between single note runs and full chordal rhythms, especially notable on Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight." The runs themselves can at times be extensive--there's more than one good example on Cotsirilos' own "Franny's Jump"--but even on these lengthy and technically difficult cascades the guitarist's fingering is precise and light. This is a highly impressive player, no doubt about it.
The slower numbers showcase the trio's subtler skills. "Past Present," for example, is a beautifully lyrical tune which works so effectively because all three players ease back and listen to each other. Cotsirilos plays Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse's "What Kind of Fool Am I?" solo, on classical guitar. It's a relatively brief version, but once again it displays Cotsirilos' ability to deliver a gentle and restrained melody. Another Cotsirilos original, "Cafe 4 Cats," was inspired by a Barcelona bar--presumably Els Quatre Gats, frequented by Pablo Picasso, among others. There's a Latin feel to the guitar and drums but Fisher's bass, with its slinky, elastic slides, is worth listening to on its own.
Past Present is an object lesson in tight and empathic trio performance as well as displaying the talents of three exceptional musicians. There can be few guitarists with Cotsirilos' purity of playing and warmth of tone around today and his trio deserves wider recognition.
All About Jazz
I'm always a bit wary of guitar albums. Will a jazz guitarist really show up? Certainly one did in George Cotsirilos. He plays gimmick-free guitar, and his trio, with Robb Fisher on bass and Ron Marabuto on drums, cooks up several nicely conceived originals, moving with ease between swinging post bop to shimmering ballads. And always using space effectively, surely the sign of a veteran player. Three standards played wonderfully well included "The Way You Look Tonight," "Without a Song" and a beautiful acoustic solo on "What Kind of Fool Am I." It's straight down the middle of the jazz highway, a nice place to be.
Jazz Society of Oregon
One of the cool things about the deconstruction of the record business is that ace players that are stars in little provinces and parishes have just as much chance to get their stuff heard far and wide as any body. With distribution decentralized, the playing field is leveled. What a boon for Bay area guitarist Cotsirilos and us as this vet of over 20 years of Bay area plucking gets the chance to get the word out to the rest of us. A killer jazz guitar trio date, everyone gets the chance to show off the chops they've been honing locally to appreciative audiences for far too long. Full blooded, up market hipster, sitting down jazz that makes it all right to have egghead tendencies is what's on display here. Tasty listening stuff that just might make all the irritating small talk whirling on around you come to a stop. Check it out.
Mainstream guitar trio jazz possesses a soundtrack quality that makes it perfect for sleek and sophisticated noir movies boasting sardonic shamuses and dangerous dames. George Cotsirilos typifies this type of jazz guitar playing. If jazz guitar had an aroma, Cotsirilos' brand would smell of Yardley Soap, single-malt scotch, and unfiltered cigarettes in close quarters: dark and slightly decadent, full-bodied, and warm.
On his third OA2 release, Past Present Cotsirilos and his working trio mix up the standards and original compositions in a 10-song recital that cruises down the center of the jazz parkway. With chops to burn, Cotsirilos nevertheless avoids showing off thereby leaving his music and playing unencumbered by the technical ejaculations that often clouded performances by Joe Pass (and by extension, Art Tatum).
With his perfectly round solo and chordal tone, Cotsirilos weaves with bassist Rob Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto a tight, swinging fabric that is fully integrated and readily digestible. "The Way You Look Tonight" illustrates this perfectly. Cotsirilos introduces the songs with single notes peppered with rich chording. He then establishes the groove with a descending figure that is picked up and propelled by Fisher. Marabuto provides percussion set way back and sounding like Philly Joe Jones on a really good day.
Cotsirilos squares all of the corners and solos robustly. His performance of the Kerns/Fields piece is spot-on elegant and resourceful. Likewise is his treatment of the originals. "Good Wood" is a swinging introduction with an angular chord progression allowing for some snappy drumming from Marabuto. The title tune is a contemporary samba that holds up well under its coastal, humid confines.
Past Present continues the thread of fine performances established with his preceding On The Rebop (OA2, 2006) and Silenciosa (OA2, 2003). This is unusually refined music deserving of more exposure.
-C. Michael Bailey
All About Jazz
George Cotsirilos is another Chicago-born musician who has found himself on the West Coast - in this case the Bay Area - where he is a busy jazz guitarist. Bassist Robb Fisher was a fellow member of the San Francisco Nighthawks. Both Cotsirlios and Fisher, as well as the third member of the trio - drummer Ron Marabuto have worked with people like Cal Tjader, Art Pepper, Roland Hanna and many more. On their third OA2 recording, the band visits the past - by revisiting standards, including "Without a Song," and "The Way You Look Tonight," while also celebrating the present by performing a number of the guitarist's originals. Cotsirilos' guitar sound is warm and clean and the arrangements are straight-ahead, but very hip. Can hear a bit of Grant Green and Jim Hall in his style, but he has an individual voice. Some nice fast runs that are much more difficult than he makes them sound. Fisher and Marabuto are obvious pros who compliment their leader well, and the songs and performances are endearing in a laid back, cool California way. Mostly bop, but the title track opens up to new and welcome Spanish-flavored directions and Cotsirilos also shows his classical side in a solo nylon-string guitar version of Anthony Newley's "What Kind of Fool Am I." Solid and savory outing from this San Francisco treat.
There's a lot of accessible, high quality jazz recording going down on the West Coast this year - music from trumpeter Ian Carey and vocalist Gail Pettis are just two shining examples and both released A+ recordings in 2010. For the sheer enjoyment I've had listening to him, I'll add Bay Area guitarist George Cotsirilos whose sophomore recording, "Past Present," stands out for several reasons - the trio is beautifully rendered in the studio, it has neither fluff nor fussiness, and all the tunes, including standards and six originals, are musically and emotionally expressive. Cotsirilos has played and performed for over twenty years and a member of the popular quartet, The San Francisco Nighthawks. Accompanied by bassist Robb Fisher (Cal Tjader) and drummer Ron Marabuto (Tommy Flanagan), Cotsirilos embarks on a set of upbeat, swinging tunes that spotlight both his nimble chops and compositional strengths. The easy-going gait on the title track exemplifies the remarkable proficiency of this great trio and overall, the set is elevated by Cotsirilos' unfettered lyricism.
Frisco Bay area mainstreamer George Cotsirilos has the ability to sustain an hour-long set of the improvisatory arts with elan and imagination. His second trio date Past Present (OA2 22062) gives you a full earful of the Cotsirilos style, which is old-school jazz mainstream without sounding derivative.
His line building imagination, chording sophistication and phrasing subtleties come at you full force on this fine disk. Three standards and seven originals put an excellent spin on his wide-ranging talent. The backing duo of Robb Fisher on bass (with a full bodied tone and nice note choices) and drummer Ron Marabuto (with a good touch and very sympathetic accompanying abilities) gives him the best sort of support.
It's old-school guitar jazz dressed in its best finery. It's music that sustains a tradition by building upon it rather than reproducing it verbatim.
Very much recommended.
-Grego Applegate Edwards
Bay Area guitarist George Cotsirilos has the kind of soft touch and effortlessly artful phrasing that other guitarists would kill for, and he also has a near-magical ability to improvise melodies that are simultaneously surprising and inevitable. This is unapologetically old-fashioned, straight-ahead jazz that nevertheless feels fresh and new, whether he's playing one of his fine originals or interpreting a standard like "The Way You Look Tonight." Bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto are no less impressive. Highly recommended to all jazz collections. (RA)
This recording delivers vintage jazz guitar but nothing that sounds trite or old. The George Cotsirilos Trio delivers that with a mix of original tunes and standards on Past Present.
Born in Chicago, Cotsirilos has been a fixture in the San Francisco area since the early 1990s. Trained with the violin, he switched to guitar after becoming frustrated that the violin could not produce pop and jazz sounds he had come to love. After studying at the University of California at Berkeley, he toured with The Whispers and performed with a variety of jazz and blues artists. For Past Present, he is accompanied by bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto.
"Good Wood" pulls no punches. Cotsirilos delivers some old-school lead guitar, worthy of Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour and other notables. Fisher and Marabuto are solid companions, with the former contributing a brief solo. The song is written for jazz pianist Cedar Walton.
The trio presents a delightful, yet bluesy take on the classic, "The Way You Look Tonight." In 3/4 time, it has a sweeping, waltz-like feel. Marabuto's subtle tones on the snare and cymbals provide an effective touch. Cotsirilos, as he does through much of this session, slips chords into single-note phrases, and vice versa. He makes it seem effortless.
"Franny's Jump," which Cotsirilos wrote for an old college friend, is another delightful romp. Although one of the shorter pieces in this set, it's no less engaging. To go so seamlessly from chord to note and back, with several rapid-fire sequences, with no squeaks, takes a high degree of skill and accuracy.
Cotsirilos penned six of the 10 songs on Past Present. The title is fitting, as it brings some old-school stylings together with new compositions and new arrangements of standards.
All About Jazz
George Cotsirilos is a hidden treasure of jazz - one of those wonderful players that you know are out there somewhere working away without the wider recognition they deserve. This guitarist has paid his dues for almost thirty years now, and with this - his second CD - he shows that he has earned full membership to the club.
Past Present is a finely crafted presentation of original songs and standards, all of a consistently high quality. Cotsirilos' tone is warm and rich, and his playing is smoothly melodic. You will not find pointless pyrotechnics here, but when the tune calls for a cascade of notes he can unleash a Niagara Falls with the best of them.
Good Wood is a stylish up-tempo original that showcases Mr. Cotsirilos' wonderful tone, as well as a fine command of both single-line and chordal playing. Robb Fisher adds an equally fine bass solo, while Ron Marabuto lays down a great groove on the drums.
Without a Song flows effortlessly from Good Wood, an indication of the quality of George Cotsirilos' compositional prowess. In treating this standard we hear hints of Latin rhythms, the occasional flamenco flourish, octave sections giving way to chord melody, and always a steady flow of melodic invention that makes repeated listening a rewarding experience. Once again the bass is treated as a second solo instrument, and Robb Fisher displays a similar combination of inventive soloing with a strongly melody underpinning. The whole has a kind of understated virtuosity that slowly emerges as each part seems a perfect addition to a most interesting whole.
The Way You Look Tonight begins with a beautiful solo guitar intro that drops chords into finely woven lines until the drums signal the full trio to start in. This song features some extremely fine soloing by Mr. Cotsirilos as well as superb ensemble playing between guitar and bass, at times sounding like a single big instrument. The trio opens things up a bit here, and we start to get more varied moods that lift the album to a new level of excitement - certainly not what we might have expected from the exquisite opening, and yet oh so right! This one is packed full of interesting twists and turns that you have to hear to understand.
Franny's Jump is another original, this time a stylish mid-tempo tune with warmth and character that beg to be explored, and the trio does just that. Once again the ensemble playing is terrific, with almost telepathic swings in mood and timbre. This one really swings and gets the joint jumpin' but good!
The title song Past Present brings a very different sound to the trio with George Cotsirilos playing acoustic guitar on his own composition. The interplay between all three musicians is outstanding here, melodically, harmonically, texturally, and timbrally. The contrast of the subdued bass with the brightness of the guitar, and the corresponding high-end emphasis in the drums are just a couple of the magnificent touches in this great performance. The intelligence of George Cotsirilos as a player is evident in his handling of the acoustic guitar as the different instrument it is from the electric - yet another subtle touch that contributes to the excellence of the performance.
Rosie's Tune is another original that shows the range of Mr. Cotsirilos' songwriting. This happy tune motors along, carrying the trio - and the listener - on a merry trip through a rich landscape. A perfect example of how his different song ideas call forth very different though equally original improvisational flights.
Cafe 4 Cats, like its presumed namesake in Barcelona, has a distinctly Latin accent, but more as an added spice to an already tasty mixture. In case we were wondering if the trio could handle an original take on Latin styles, this one sets our minds at ease.
Bittersweet starts off with some fine playing in octaves between the guitar and bass while the drums keep things swinging. The tight coupling of bass and guitar continues on for a full minute before they break out into their own grooves, coming back to touch base from time to time. Yet another nice change of pace. And after Robb Fisher having bass solos in each song, Ron Marabuto finally gets a chance to step out and solo a bit himself.
What Kind of Fool Am I? is a fascinating departure, played by George Cotsirilos on solo nylon-string guitar. The effect is at once introspective and yet full of motion, or perhaps a bit of turbulence. At just over three minutes, this one seems to end too soon, emphasized by its hanging ending.
The trio ends things off with another original, Cual Problema? They are back at their best with a mid-tempo, swinging tune. The harmony propels this one along, helped by a strong groove in both bass and drums, and the same great ensemble playing that comes from players who listen and react to one another. All three take full advantage of their solo spots in this one, and as wonderful as those solos are it is their ensemble playing that is the highlight of this entire CD.
If you like expressive guitar playing with great solos and strong swing, this is a CD for you. George Cotsirilos can certainly hold the stage with the best of the jazz world, and he has assembled a trio that is top-notch. This CD will delight any jazz guitar enthusiast, as well as anyone who appreciates a fine ensemble fully on top of their game. After Past Present, we have a lot to look forward to from George Cotsirilos in the future.
Unassuming and without airs, George Cotsirilos' guitar snakes through Past Present with velvety simplicity. The new record from his trio, comprised also of bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto, is a fulfilling ten-song set that rises and falls like the smoke from a good cigar.
Out now on OA2/Origin Records, Past Present is a delight. Filled with standards and a host of original compositions by Cotsirilos, the album is a quiet, gentle entry in the artist's discography.
The Chicago-born Cotsirilos studied violin in grade school and moved on to piano by high school. By the mid-'60s, he developed an admiration for B.B. King and the Paul Butterfield Blues band and picked up the guitar. Cotsirilos moved out West and studied with jazz guitar instructor Warren Nunes for years before touring with The Whispers. After performing with a wide collection of jazz and blues artists, including Etta James, he founded the San Francisco Nighthawks along with Fisher and pianist Paul Nagel.
With Past Present, Cotsirilos pays homage to the gifts of the past while remaining fixated firmly in the now.
The tracks make excellent use of the understated nature of the jazz trio, flowing easily through solos and a range of unified playing with the gauzy professionalism only managed by the most in-tune musicians.
Evidence of this unity is found on the standards, like "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Bittersweet." The group folds around the melodies as though they were original compositions. Cotsirilos expertly bends the notes on the Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern original, adding slight flair to the familiar tones.
Cotsirilos' original compositions are no less mesmerizing. His "Good Wood" opens the record with what seems like an homage to his guitar. He wrote the song under the influence of Cedar Wilson and the melody takes some getting used to before it sinks in to the pores of the listener.
"Franny's Jump," a tune written for an old college pal, exemplifies the band's unison playing with soft but insistent drumming and some snappy fretwork. Cotsirilos switches from chords to lines of notes precisely.
Past Present is one of those records that takes some time to evolve fully. Like a fine wine, the flavours and aromas dance before settling in to a complete sense of things. The playing of Cotsirilos and the backing of Fisher and Marabuto is elegant, smooth and charming, making Past Present a truly satisfying trio recording.
Veteran jazz guitarist Cotsirilos' latest record is a swinging set driven by his considerable chops and skill at composing and interpreting music. His band mates, Robb Fisher (bass) and Ron Marabuto (drums), are the perfect match with their ability to follow their leader's moves.
On "Good Wood", Cotsirilos mixes chords and single notes to state the jumping melody. Like many of the songs here, it's a swingfest. The style also dominate on "Franny's Jump" and "Rosie's Tune". The latter finds Fisher stating the melody with the guitarist until Cotsirilos breaks into a clean, swinging solo pushed along by the rhythm section. Cover tunes supply some of the quieter moments; the pathos of "What Kind of Fool am I?" is captured wonderfully by Cotsirilos' unaccompanied acoustic guitar. Same goes for "Without a Song", where the melody is stated with octaves and the improvisation is goosed perfectly by the rhythm section. The title cut is played on acoustic, giving a perfect mix of chords, single lines, and a memorable melody.
Past Present may not be groundbreaking, but Cotsirilos and his band proffer fine musicianship, memorable songs, and a soulful delivery that is missing from many traditional jazz guitarists of his generation.
Vintage Guitar Magazine
On The Rebop
East Bay Express
By Kelly Vance
There's something relentlessly cosmopolitan about the guitar stylings of George Cotsirilos. Maybe it's his pearlescent Kenny Burrell tone. Maybe it's his choice of loungey material - on his latest OA2/Origin release, On the Rebop, he skips smoothly through the Jerome Kern/Charlie Parker/Hoagy Carmichael songbook, sprinkled amongst his own compositions. But most of all, Bay Area musician Cotsirilos and his trio (bassist Robb Fisher, drummer Ron Marabuto) burn brightly and swing furiously under their sophisticated sheen. Hotel lobbies and sedate saloons like Berkeley's Albatross Pub could catch on fire from their muted smolderings. Cotsirilos (he has played with Chuck Israels, former bassist of the immortal Bill Evans) and trio stretch out in the Albatross Saturday night (9:30 p.m.) Be there.
More regarding "On The Rebop"
Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle
"Intelligent and bright"
All About Jazz
"On the Rebop" by Cotsirilos, is a charged swinger. Cotsirilos' guitar playing is infused with eager verve. The cover, "I'm Old Fashioned" is more laid back with Robb Fisher's bass holding the pulse and Ron Marabuto, on drums, adding zip and pizzazz. "Gale"exhibits some of Cotsirilos' fluttery guitar work and "Side Pocket" is snappy and bright and "Never Say Never" follows with a few pensive, moody moments that open up into some interesting changes and turns in an "anything can happen" fashion which wonderfully displays Cotsirilos' talent as composer and guitarist. With bass and drums falling effortlessly into the dialogue, this one takes the l istener on a complex, but delightful journey. "Anthropology" is a light and airy swinger with full, boiling bass and whipslapping drums.
"Kokomo," another Cotsirilos tune, is a smiling, carefree and feel-good romp. Cotsirilos' guitar work is vivaciously chattery. A nice interpretation of "The Nearness of You" follows. This one is slower-moving, but deeply reflective, creating a tonal "sigh." Closing out this collection is "Neo Finkoid." Cotsirilos gives it his all, accented by hearty bass and slamming drums, a superb, head-bouncing, toe-tapper. All said, this disc proves to be a fine piece of work.
George Cotsirilos is relatively unknown outside the San Francisco jazz community. He plays guitar beautifully, with great phrasing and a genuine jazz feel.
"On the Rebop" features Cotsirilos' trio, which includes Robb Fisher (acoustic bass) and Ron Marabuto (drums). These two musicians also work primarily around the Bay Area, and actually are better known than Cotsirilos.
Fisher toured with Cal Tjader's group for more than six years, and also has played with Chet Baker, Art Pepper and a number of Latin-based performers. Marabuto has worked with a number of jazz luminaries, including Pepper Adams and Tommy Flanagan.
This CD clearly demonstrates the years of varied experience shared by these three musicians. Their playing melds beautifully, and you can tell they're enjoying themselves.
Two of the tunes ("I'm Old Fashioned" and "The Nearness of You") are played as straight ballads; a third ("Gale") is done in a quiet Latin meter; the rest are up-tempo. Five, including the title track, were written by Cotsirilos.
Finally, just to prove that these guys can play in any style, the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie bop anthem, "Anthropology," is given a new wax job. The by-play between guitar and bass is masterful, while Marabuto gives a perfect demonstration of the "drums should be felt, rather than heard" rule.
This instrumentation -- guitar, bass and drums -- is relatively uncommon for a jazz trio. Joe Pass recorded with a similar group, and Cotsirilos' trio belongs in that company. This is a rich and moving jazz experience.
-Ric Bang, Jazz Critic
Davis California Enterprise
Recently while digging into a Danish and having a coffee at a Panera, I caught a hard grooving Wes Montgomery tune over the sound system. That is the same vibe I get from George Cotsirilos. "On the Rebop," which is straight ahead and the real thing. When somebody asks me whatever happened to Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel, I'll be telling them to pick up on George's sounds. His recordings are always welcome on "Jazz Till Midnight".
-Doug Collar "Jazz Till Midnight"
The kind of stuff I'd hear on the Jim Rockwell show, from a top of the Sheraton Cadillac in downtown Detroit, circa 1961. Cotsirilos creates the nostalgia that Johnny Smith and Tal Farlow delivered on the jazz scene in the fifties and sixties. smooth, open and unencumbered... and delivers on record."
-Dick Crockett "Still Another Jazz Show,"
A Word About "Silenciosa" ...
Silenciosa is a superb solo guitar recital by Joe Pass-Charlie Byrd devotee and Bay-Area veteran George Cotsirilos. Despite the title, this is not a Latin-oriented jazz recording. Mr. Cotsirilos basically very ably performs the Great American Songbook and a classical nylon string guitar. His performance is intelligent and bright with virtuosic flashes as would be thrown off by the aforementioned Pass. The ballads, "My Romance," "Just Friends," My Foolish Heart," and "Here's that Rainy Day" are all beautifully rendered through the soft round tone of the nylon strings. There is a residual Latin quality to these works, more than likely a function of the instrument, that works very well. This is a recording that tells all listeners that we are all in it together.
-C. Michael Baily,
All About Jazz,
Bay area music veteran George Cotsirilos, known for his work as a sideman and his recordings with the all star "San Francisco Nighthawks," steps out alone on this, his debut solo album. Taking a cue from, and continuing in the tradition of, guitar greats Charlie Byrd, Gene Bertoncini, Lenny Breau and several others, Cotsirilos performs on the nylon string classical guitar, adding new depth to jazz classics in this sophisticated and elegant exploration. This is a warm and intimate look at 14 great standards.