Words by Alex Louloudis
‘’The scattered free jazz is woven pleasantly in with the structured measures, giving imagination space to fill in the details of the song’s underlying story. No one instrument feels dominant, or forgotten: the omnipresent drums provide a canvas for the other instruments to materialize, the melodies of the saxophone gently adds color, and the bass firmly outlines the scene.’’ Paris Lit Up
Alex Louloudis- Drums, Composition & Poetry
Rafael Statin- Tenor Saxophone
Dean Torrey- Bass
Kaelen Ghandhi- Tenor Saxophone
Aaron Rubinstein- Guitar
Rosdeli Marte- Vocals
Available March 12th from Off Recordings on
Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube Music, Deezer, Apple Music
Photo: Panagiotis Peikidis
‘’In the music, lyrics, and cover art, he is everywhere, but mostly, Alex Louloudis is all over his drum set, and this specifically works so utterly well.’’
Having been praised on publications from all over the world for his latest album ‘Words’, Alex Louloudis dynamically inserts himself into the global jazz and improvised music scene. The album, released on Off Recordings on March 12th, 2021, consists of six pieces that embark the listener ‘’into a frenetic life-dance full of raw beauty and endless recalibration.’’ John Fenton
There are many things to draw your attention here, starting with the artwork that perfectly prepares one for what is about to be experienced through music. Drawn in an improvisatory manner, in the same period when ‘Words’ was being recorded, by Alex in his former New York studio apartment, using left-over paints on an oddly-sized canvas.
‘’Powerful’’ is a word commonly used to describe master drummers like Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Cyrille, Al Foster, Art Blakey, and Milford Graves, and it easily fits Alex Louloudis, who is a keen ‘’student’’ of them all and many other pioneers. But while power and character are the trademarks of his playing, it also serves the music and the narrative of the album at all times, living space for the story of every song to come to light and the individual character of every one of the players to be shown.
‘’Great musicians in all styles’’ Alex explains ‘’make music that constantly balances between the conscious and unconscious parts of our brains: they are always prepared but always improvising, too. I believe that the same thing is happening in ‘’Words’’. There are things that were planned, there were directions given, but there was also a lot of space for personal expression and artistic exploration.‘’
Helping Louloudis get it all out is a fine selection of young musical minds. Anchoring the group along with him is Dean Torrey, one of the busiest young bassist in the New York jazz scene at the time. ‘’I couldn’t imagine any other bassist playing this music but Torrey.’’ says Louloudis who met Dean at Smalls Jazz Club and has seen him perform along a vast range of great musicians representing the whole spectrum of jazz music. Rafael Statin, the main saxophonist on the album, and Louloudis have been performing and recording as a duet since 2015, and you can hear the telepathic connection there is between the two. ‘’I love playing with Rafael because he enables me to scream about whatever I find wrong about the world through my instrument.’’ Louloudis confesses. ‘’I believe Aaron Rubinstein, and Kaelen Ghandhi are going to be the next big names in improvised music because of their talent, dedication, and smart thinking.’’ Alex said in an interview on Greece’s public radio. Louloudis, Statin, Rubinstein, Ghandhi, and vocalist Rosdeli Marte were students at the New School. ‘’I always call Rosdeli when I need a vocalist’’ said Alex ‘’she adds to my music and poetry in mystical ways, I cannot explain it but I love it.’’
Alex was raised in Drama, a small city in the Northern part of Greece by a single mother. ‘’It was hard growing up like that, my mom was working two jobs so I’d barely see her; music was all I had for most of the day.’’ At the age of 9 Alex had his first professional gig as a percussionist, and at 12 he took up studying the drumset at the conservatory and continued performing all over his city, he moved to New York City in 2011, at age of 18. Louloudis received four different scholarships to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. There he was mentored by greats like Reggie Workman, Jane Ira Bloom, Yosvani Terry, and Bobby Sanabria. Even before graduating in 2017 Louloudis had started touring in the US and Europe with his own groups, and as a sideman.
Like his teacher Oliver Lake, Louloudis likes to create no matter the medium. ‘’I love how deep I have to dive inside me to discover a poem, how focused I need to be to paint, how my most complicated thoughts can give birth to a two-note melody or a stroke on the drum.’’