Michel Hatzigeorgiou

Bass player who has hit the stage with big international jazz icons but has also proven highly innovative with his band Aka Moon.

16.09, 20.00: La Basse d’Orphée (solo) + Inner Peace Band (Marni Jazz Festival)

17.09, 20.00: Sinister Sister (Marni Jazz Festival)

18.09, 20.00: Hatzi-Galland Duo (Marni Jazz Festival)

www.theatremarni.com

06.10, 20.00: Aka Moon: AlefBa (KVS)

28.11, 20.00: Aka Balkan Moon (Bozar)

 

Who is… Michel Hatzigeorgiou (°1961)?

Like many musicians of his generation, Michel Hatzigeorgiou lived in Liege in the early eighties, which back then was the place to be of the Belgian jazz scene. There, he rubbed shoulders with a wide range of artists. Ten years later, he is again at the right time, in the right place, i.e. Brussels where jazz club De Kaai gives rise to a whole new trend. This is the place where Aka Moon takes its first steps, the group that has since then become a true reference worldwide.
In addition, he crosses the path of many prominent figures from the world of jazz: his leading example Jaco Pastorius of course but also Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Philip Catherine and Toots Thielemans.
The link with his Greek roots remains present via his rebetiko (Greek urban folk music) concerts. On his solo album, he has even included a rebetiko piece. He also plays the bouzouki.
He records a number of albums with Erwin Vann. For the Marni Jazz Festival, the two fellow musicians team up again and form the Inner Peace Band alongside Dré Pallemaerts.
Currently, he also takes part in the group Sinister Sister, including in its repertoire extremely personal versions of Zappa’s work.

 

What is…

... your favourite spot in Brussels?

For me, after almost thirty years, the Sounds still remains an important venue on the Brussels jazz scene. I performed there very often and even gave a rebetiko concert in the premises. This just goes to show that club owner Sergio is very open-minded. He also makes room for young artists and the jam sessions on Monday evening have been and still are a worthwhile exchange of experience and practice for quite a number of musicians.

 

… the last CD or album you bought for yourself?

A double LP by The Shadows, and what is more on vinyl. This music takes me back to my youth. But the main reason why I purchased the album is because I love the sound of the Stratocaster. Needless to say, I am an unvarnished fan of Leo Fender. Everyone talks about musicians but instrument makers are all too often ignored whilst their role is very important. Mister Fender has revolutionised music history on his own. As I see it, there is a period before Leo Fender and a period after Leo Fender. Without him, we would never have witnessed a Jimi Hendrix, at least not as we know him. He would probably have done something amazing but with a completely different sound. Buddy Holly was for me the first who truly left his mark with a particular sound. Then came The Shadows, hence my purchase.

 

… your fondest memory of a recent concert?

That was in Athens where I attended a concert by Yiorgos Poulos. He is an absolutely remarkable musician and for me one of the best bouzouki players in the world. Four years ago, he got the forefinger of his left hand amputated. It is a similar story to that of Django Reinhardt who lost the use of two fingers. In the meantime, I have seen Poulos on stage several times and every time, he manages to move me to tears. The amputation he suffered prevents him from using specific playing techniques. However, because of it, his style has gained in depth and emotion.

 

… your favourite quote of the moment?

Jaco Pastorius once said: “If you want to get things done right, you gotta do it yourself.” It says exactly what it says. If you want something done perfectly by your standards, do not expect anything from others but do it yourself. That is also one of the reasons why I recorded and produced my solo CD which comes out now entirely by myself, keeping everything in-house and bearing in mind Jaco’s words (laughs).