George Koufogiannakis

Edmonton, Alberta Canada

George Koufogiannakis - Greek Oud Jazz
Bio: George Koufogiannakis

"JazzWorld Quest" featured artist and recent co-winner of the "Dig Your Roots - Creative Jazz" cross-Canada project, Canadian Jazz Guitarist/Oudist George Koufogiannakis has been performing, producing, and touring for more than 20 years and has appeared on dozens of recordings. His latest release as a leader, “Generations – Greek Oud Jazz”, combines Modern Jazz and Traditional Greek Music from and inspired by the Island of Crete. George states, ‘I wanted to try and explore some of that wonderful Greek spirit and intensity in the songs and influence of my family, with an emphasis on creative improvisation and harmonically taking the music where possibly it has not yet traveled. It was such a pleasure working with these amazing musicians who took these open structures and driving rhythms and playfully, with a wonderful sense of form and interaction, allowed these pieces to organically flow and evolve through this recording.’

“Refreshing, unusual, heart-warming and virtuosic, George Koufogiannakis’ new album “Generations” will take you on a fast World/Jazz train from Athens to New York!” – Terry McDade (co-producer / Canadian World Music Guru)

As a youth, George showed promise early-on in school, performing with All-City School Bands in Edmonton and winning Most Outstanding Jazz Soloist in the 1986 National Festival. He continued his jazz studies at Grant MacEwan College and St. Francis Xavier University where he performed extensively with the college bands and also led his own quartet, recording for CBC radio.

He has now performed across Canada in every situation from Blues, Country, Latin, and Ukrainian Polka, to Traditional Big Band and Experimental Free Jazz, including a guest appearance on “The Goodspeed Staples Quartet – Eastern Passage” CD, which won “Best Jazz Recording” honours at the 1996 East Coast Music Awards, and also releases from “The Craft”, “The Big Breakfast Boogie Band”, and Canadian Idol finalist, Tyler Hamilton. In 2001 he composed and produced the music for a television comedy special which aired on the Comedy Network, and in 2007 one of George’s original compositions from his previous CD release, “Explorations in Improvised Music”, won the honour of appearing on the “Dig Your Roots – Creative Jazz” cross-Canada compilation CD project.

"The name of the CD 'Explorations in Improvised Music' captures the essence of this adventurous yet well structured performance combining the sparkling creativity of a group of fine Canadian and British musicians... An album full of energy to the delight of modern jazz lovers." – JazzWorld Quest

George has recently returned to Canada after some time abroad in the United Kingdom, where he completed his Masters of Music Degree in Jazz Performance from Leeds College of Music, University of Leeds. He has now settled back in the Edmonton area where he continues to teach, act as clinician, produce, and perform as a freelance guitarist with such notable ensembles as the Edmonton Creative Musicians’ Collective and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

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