Hommage to Tsitsanis

 OCORA C 559010  HM 65

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How is it possible to select one single recording by Tsitsanis to best represent his materiel ? Quite simply , it isn't !  Of all the composers mentioned here, he is the one who is clearly the best represented in the catalogs, with a virtual plethora of recordings still available in the current market.  So this really is a tough one. While I am not familiar with every recording Tsitsanis ever made, I do believe that the one presented here is among the best I have heard.  One of the things that does ease the selection process a bit, is the fact that many of the same compositions seem to appear and reappear on many of his recordings.  Sometimes they are different versions or different interpretations of the same composition .  Sometimes the recording will highlight lyrics, other times they might focus on his instrumental virtuosity.  However "Hommage to Tsitsanis" is probably one of the CD's I have heard, that might give the listener a good overall conception of Tsitsanis approach to instrumental technique. This particular recording is from a French compilation, that primarily features the famous composer doing a good deal of extemporaneous improvising with the Bouzouke, as well doing the vocals.  It is one of his best recordings, that really spotlights various examples of the complex " Taksim " introductions, for which he became so well known.  Another interesting thing about the CD, is the almost casual ambience Tsitsanis seemed to have had when he recorded many of these tracks. The whole mood seems very informal and relaxed to the point where you could almost imagine him in your  living room sitting on your sofa, performing just for you. Not a bad way to spent part of an evening.  However having stated all this, I have to admit that  " Hommage to Tsitsanis ",  may not be the best recommendation for the uninitiated.  Primarily because of it's "kick-back" ambience and casual informality, I have always thought of this recording, as one that can only be fully appreciated by either advanced amateur or professional musicians, who's ears have been trained to listen for the subtleties in Tsitsanis approach to Rebetiko and especially the Bouzouke. Therefore this CD is really more of an aficionado's disk then one I might recommend to a Rebetic  Newbie.  However for those who are already " hard-core"  well seasoned VT fans, definitely check this one out .   

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