The Promise

Vassilis Tsabropoulos

CD18,90 out of print

The versatile Greek pianist has already outlined a broad arc of musical possibility in his recordings for ECM – from post-Bill Evans jazz with Arild Andersen to explorations of Gurdjieff’s nomadic sound-world with Anja Lechner. “The Promise” picks up the implications of his earlier solo recital “Akroasis” (“Hypnotic and mysterious, shimmering like ancient mosaics” – The Independent), but is more rigorously composed, carefully casting arpeggios into deep pools of silence. All pieces are Tsabropoulos originals, with the exception of “Djivaeri”, a Greek traditional tune. The album was recorded in 2008 in the resonant space of Athens’ Megaron Concert Hall, with Manfred Eicher producing.

Featured Artists Recorded

January 2008, Dmitri Mitropoulos Hall, Megaron , Athens

Original Release Date


  • 1The Other
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 2Tale Of A Man
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 3Smoke And Mirrors
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 4Pearl
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 5The Promise
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 6The Other, var. I
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 7Djivaeri
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 8The Insider
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 9Confession
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 10Promenade
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
  • 11The Other, var. II
    (Vassilis Tsabropoulos)
Tsabropoulos has made some fine albums for ECM, which might be seen to divide into overtly jazz-oriented work and more classically oriented and rhythmically suspended meditations. However … the pianist is capable of dissolving any such putative dualisms in a refreshing transmutation of perspectives which sets matters of motion and rest, rhythm and reflection in fresh light. Such is the case throughout the 55 minutes of this beautifully recorded – and thoroughly recommended – set of limpid solo meditations.
Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal
Tsabropoulos ist ein exzellenter, ja phänomenaler Pianist irgendwo zwischen klassischer Komposition und Improvisation. Er liebt die ostinate Versenkung, die Pracht der Arpeggios, das Meditative, die Melodik einfacher, weit ausgereizter, drängend repetitiv nuancierter Themen, das hymnisch-elegisch Intensive, die konsequente Kontemplation, klingende Pausen inklusive, die durch exorbitante Anschlagskultur aufgehobene Schlichtheit des Materials.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Jazzthing
Seine schlichte Tonsprache atmet durch die konstruktive Prägnanz von Arpeggi und das Wiederholen von melodischen, rhythmischen und harmonischen Modulen. Dabei spielen die Resonanz und die Stille eine sehr wichtige Rolle. Das Resultat ist eine scheinbar spontane Klangwelt, die sich hypnotisch und mysteriös auf den Hörer entfaltet.
Juri Giannini, Concerto
Unwillkürlich hält man inne, um fast andächtig dem eleganten Fluss der Melodien in herrlich natürlichem Klang zu lauschen. … Vassilis Tsabropoulos… pendelt in elf Miniaturen zwischen klassischer Formstrenge und offener Improvisation. The Promise ist ein eingelöstes Versprechen.
Matthias Inhoffen, Audio (Klangtipp)
Quiet and highly atmospheric music conveying the magic of sparse textures and subtle harmonic progressions: “The Promise”, Tsabropoulos’ sixth album for ECM – and, in his own words, his “most personal” to date – offers eleven gentle miniatures, most of them originals, with the opening theme “The Other” as a recurring, though constantly varied, leitmotiv. Throughout, sophisticated phrasing and meticulous sound control are imbued with poetic sensitivity. The pianist’s first solo album “Akroasis” (ECM 1737; released in 2003) was based on ancient Byzantine Greek music, whereas his new pieces, following his intense collaboration with German cellist Anja Lechner and Italian percussionist U.T. Gandhi on “Melos”(ECM 2048; released in 2008), evoke similar oriental flavours while being informed by wider, more international musical contexts.

Although 90% of the music is written – the material was composed within a comparatively short period of some weeks before being recorded – it maintains the dreamy elasticity of spontaneously improvised ballads. “It is most important to me to work with a wide array of sonic colours in an almost orchestral mode. In some passages I imagine to have a string ensemble at hand, sometimes it’s a wind soloist I’m trying to evoke. Every single note has to be shaded and weighed most carefully, they all have to be treated as being part of a larger melodic line.” In his most recent music, Tsabropoulos who still today performs some of the great piano concertos on the concert platform quite deliberately relinquishes all virtuosity and outward effect. “It can be very easy to play many fast notes, however, for me, it’s a principle of life that less is more: simplicity is the most difficult thing to achieve. Both as performer and as a listener I’m trying to find beauty inside the things, in details and nuances and in parts which are not so obvious.” The listener is thus asked to take his time with the music, to concentrate and to discover his own path – therein lies the “promise” of this record.