New York, NY – The New York-based piano-vibraphone duo comprised of Christos Rafalides on vibes and Sergio Salvatore on piano recently released their duo recording album Dark Sand (Travelers Road Music, 2009) and announce their upcoming concert performance at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York City on Friday, October 30 at 8:00 p.m. This morning they are scheduled to appear on NBC’s Weekend Today show (at about 9:30 a.m.) to talk about their duo collaboration and perform “Dark Sand” (composed by Rafalides) from the recording of the same name.
About Christos Rafalides
Born in Kozani, Greece, Christos Rafalides can’t remember a time when he wasn’t surrounded by music. The influence of his older brother led him to the piano at the age of seven. He began his studies in classical percussion at the age of fourteen, and by the time he was twenty he was working in some of the best Orchestras in Greece. He believed he would continue his career as a classical percussionist, until one evening when he heard pianist George Cables with the group of Billy Cobham ‘here was this guy, playing with his shoes off, conveying so much feeling through his instrument… I knew I wanted to be able to express myself like that.” From that moment, Christos knew he would be a jazz musician.
Upon receiving a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, he moved to Boston, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree, studying with Ed Saindon. His desire to continue growing brought him to New York City to study with acclaimed jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke at the Manhattan School of Music. Finishing his Masters Degree, Christos began to immerse himself in the vital NYC jazz scene. In a short while he was playing with such notable musicians as Ravi Coltrane, Antonio Sanchez, Donny McCaslin, Mark Ledford and Ron Affif, among others. Christos found his personal voice as a player and composer when he established ‘Manhattan Vibes’, a jazz group with a modern sound, which revealed his developing affinity for Latin and other world musics. The group’s eponymously titled CD featured the talents of John Benitez on bass and Steve Hass on drums, two of the most respected young players on the contemporary music scene. The legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker also appears as a special guest. In Jazz Times’ magazine’s 2002 Year In Review issue, the recording was held as, “…one of the top-ten jazz recordings of 2002”.
Christos’ latest project is a vibes/marimba collaboration with his erstwhile mentor, Joe Locke. The duo performed original music from their recent release “Van Gogh by Numbers” to an enthusiastic overflowing audience at the 2005 PASIC convention in Columbus, Ohio – an event which sparked considerable interest in the percussion world. In the spring of 2007, Christos performed a series of concerts with the Charles Mingus “Epitaph” Band featuring bassist Christian McBride and conductor Gunther Schuller. In the fall of that same year, he also performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center in New York City. Whether in the studio or in concert situations, Christos continues to maintain a busy schedule. Recent highlights include a performance as featured soloist with the Orchestra of Colours, performing Thanos Mikroutsikos’ “Music Stories” at the Athens Concert Hall; appearing, along with Mike Stern and Dave Weckl, on George Fakanas’ critically acclaimed “Domino” CD; featured soloist with Maria Farantouri (Athens Festival) at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus; adding his vibraphone and marimba textures to the recent recordings of vocalists Chaka Khan, Christy Baron, Italian pop artist Jovanotti, Greek singer-sonwriter Alkinoos Ioannidis. Recently he played on the soundtrack of Michaels Moore’s latest film “Capitalism, a Love Story”. His latest collaboration with Greece’s legendary composer Mimis Plessas led to the release of two projects, both based on Plessas’ music from the 60s: the album “Echo: the music of Mimis Plessas” (Emarel Music) featuring Evi Siamanda on vocals and the soon-to-be released duo recording “We Two” (Emarel Music) featuring Mimis Plessas on piano and Christos on vibraphone. He also collaborated with pianist Sergio Salvatore in a duo recording entitled “Dark Sand.” Christos has led groups at many of NYC’s cutting edge venues including the Blue Note, the 55 Bar, the Jazz Standard and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. He is also a member of CUNY’s Queens College private lesson faculty.
About Sergio Salvatore
Since he began recording at the remarkable age of 11, Sergio Salvatore’s superb musicianship has led to recordings that have featured such notable players as Chick Corea, Michael & Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Jay Anderson, Danny Gottlieb and William Kennedy, and shows with – among others – Gary Burton, Dave Grusin, Delfeayo Marsalis, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, and Grover Washington, Jr. Sergio began playing at a very early age and was performing in public by the time he was four. His father, Luciano Salvatore, is a music teacher who majored in classical piano at Boston University and the Berklee College of Music. After teaching at Berklee for five years, Luciano created his own music school North Jersey Music Labs, which specializes in teaching improvisation. It wasn’t long before Sergio became his father’s star pupil. Early in 1992, a home video of one of Sergio’s performances came to the attention of the Director of A&R at GRP Records. A live audition at the Salvatore household followed soon after resulting in the recording of Sergio’s self-titled debut album for the label, cutting seven original tunes and receiving critically-favorable response to the record.
The 1994 follow-up on GRP, Tune Up, included compositions by Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, and Chick Corea and led to appearances with the American Jazz Philharmonic and to performances in Japan, Italy, Canada and at selected venues in the U.S. including Carnegie Hall and the Ravinia Jazz Festival. In 1996, Sergio recorded Always A Beginning, an all-acoustic album for Concord Jazz Records that featured his keyboard artistry in a trio setting, alongside bassist John Patitucci and drummer Peter Erskine. Subsequently, Always A Beginning was selected as one of JazzTimes magazine’s favorite albums of the year. Following his relationship with Concord Records, Sergio joined the roster of N2K Encoded Music, a New York based media/technology company focusing on music and the Internet. There he recorded his first decidedly contemporary jazz recording produced by Chuck Loeb and including veterans Steve Gadd (drums), Will Lee (bass), John Patitucci (bass), Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone), Bob Mintzer (soprano saxophone), and David Charles (percussion). Recently, Sergio has been writing music for a variety of settings including solo piano, trio, and quintet. His new trio been focusing on new material and performing throughout the world. Mr. Salvatore also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. Sergio Salvatore is a Steinway Artist.