Alekos Galas

Review By: Carmel DeSoto for Yahoo!

The definition of a master is: "a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation." This would clearly define and describe Bouzouki master Alekos "Alex" Galas. What further defines Galas is his ability to take the instrument beyond its usual boundaries, addition to his title of definition the word innovator.


Traditionally, this is an instrument that is found in Greek and World genres. Galas, who is well known in this genre as a performer who embellishes many groups and performances, has now emerged with his own singular voice. What I define as singular is - Galas has taken Bouzouki to a new level of musicality. Galas fuses the traditional sounds of the instrument along with the pop sensibilities of Adult-Contemporary and Smooth-Jazz genres to create a delightfully commercial sound that still keeps its organic and traditional sensibilities.


As a youth, Galas had a hunger to catapult the Bouzouki beyond its ethnic territory, and with the release of his debut CD, Mediterranean Breeze Galas has begun evolution of his journey. Galas exhibits poise, confidence and assured command in his playing and musical ideas. So what elements would make this release even more exciting, well Galas has resolved that question as well. Featuring Marc Russo (alto sax), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Alex Acuna (congas/percussion), and Steve Wood (piano, keyboard) including many additional highly regarded side-man, Galas has created a accessible, yet unique musical experience.


From the infectious beats of "Road Home" to the traditional harkening of "Bouzouki Spice" to the well blended Smooth-Jazz sounds of "Moon Nights" there is something for every listener to enjoy. Yes, it is genre bending - but elusively cohesive and delightfully musical in every aspect. Galas has truly blended these normally opposing genres into a connective experience that is guaranteed to change the image of the Bouzouki, and for Galas to be the one in the innovator seat makes this life-long dream a reality.



Review By: Geannine Reid of Ejazz News

The sign of a true master is one that not only has mastered his genre and instrument but one who is an innovator of other genres. For many years pianist Herbie Hancock has stretched beyond the musical boundaries of jazz and reached audiences across the masses with his collaborations. Now let’s take a voyage into the instrument called the Bouzouki. Traditionally, this is an instrument that adorns the Greek/World genres with beauty and grace. So enters Bouzouki master Alekos Galas, widely known as a true genius of his instrument and a valued addition to any performance, hence why he is one of the busiest Bouzouki artists of his time.

Like a true innovator, Galas had a hunger even as a child to take the Bouzouki beyond its ethnic realm, and with the release of his debut endeavors as a leader, he certainly has done this and more. A long time in the making, like so many side-men who are in the trenches enhancing the sound of others, Mediterranean Breeze marks the introduction of Galas as a shining leader with confidence, polish and innovation.

Enlisted for this wonderful journey of uplifting and melodic compositions on various tracks are industry namesakes; Marc Russo (alto sax), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Alex Acuna (congas/percussion), and Steve Wood (piano, keyboard) along with a cavalcade of highly regarded contributors.

Each cut on Mediterranean Breeze is an individual storyline unto itself. Galas’ ability to fuse the Bouzouki in texture, sound and colors is truly a testament to his abilities as a player and composer. There are many times you forget you are even hearing a Bouzouki and are simply taken by the virtuosity of his playing, a true marker of his command and dexterity on his instrument. The cuts range in style from World-Fusion to Pop to Smooth Jazz, to compare it to any other release would truly detract from the innovation of this CD. To date, I am unaware of any Bouzouki player creating a fusion of these types of sounds. Mediterranean Breeze is a highly recommended listen and addition to any listener’s collection that desires a unique experience, but one that is highly palatable and a wonderful excursion into the hybrid canvas of amalgamated genres.



Review By: Jeff Becker of Jazz Sensibilities

With a career that spans over 4 decades, it is with great anticipation audiences have waited for the release of Mediterranean Breeze from the virtuosic Bouzouki artist Alekos Galas. With four decades under his belt, one would expect to hear true mastery, this expectation is not let down, as Galas has created a truly masterful weave of World, Pop and Smooth Jazz into his debut release as a leader. What makes this release even more intriguing is the innovation of adding Bouzouki, a widely recognized world instrument most commonly used in Greek music. The result is magnificent, and highly successful. Galas has created a landmark sound, melding for the first time a Bouzouki with the commercial sounds of Smooth Jazz and Pop along with cuts that are a hybrid of World fused with adult-contemporary influences.


Today we will examine the cut “The Road Home” which is augmented by legendary artists; Marc Russo (alto sax), Abraham Laboriel (bass) and Alex Acuna (congas, percussion). What is so delightful about this cut is the amount of musical prowess exhibited by each player and how is does not detract away from the musicality of the song. This cut has a contagious beat that is highlighted even further by the musicians' abilities on their instruments and the evident chemistry between the players. Strongly influenced by the Smooth Jazz genre but given the Greek spicing of the Bouzouki, the song is elevated to a new level of enjoyment, a grooving piece that each player clearly leaves their signature on. Galas has done a wonderful job connecting all the genre dots together for an extremely enjoyable listen no matter your setting. Highly Recommended!



Review By: Grego Applegate Edwards

The double-stranded string instrument known as the bouzouki, safe to say, has been a central part of the Greek musical texture for ages. Alekos Galas has taken the virtuoso technical requisites of bouzouki practice, mastered them and elevated his playing to the upper realms of possibility on the instrument.

On his CD Mediterranean Breeze (Ehos 0417) he shows convincingly what can be done when he applies his considerable abilities to a fusionoid-light smooth-funk context. This is pleasant music on the pop-side of the spectrum. He is joined for the date by a fairly large gathering of musicians including Alex Acuna on conga and percussion, and electric bassist Abe Laboriel.

Mediterranean Breeze stands or falls on Alekos Galas himself. Without his considerable presence this would be an innocuous and fairly ordinary gathering of peasantries. Galas makes it more than that. Much of what he plays is on the melodic, pre-planned tune-spinning side of things. His solo improvisations are brief. In that way this is closer to contemporary Greek music than "jazz" per se (though his few cadenza-like passages are pretty impressive).

Nonetheless Mr. Galas is a fine player. I'd love to hear him put a little more (or even a lot more) grit into his concept, but his music in the present form will no doubt find airplay on the smooth jazz radio outlets.



Review By: Rotcod Zzaj

Music that conveys a joy for life & the living is always welcome in my listening zone, no matter where the breezes are blowing from.  This is my first listen to Alekos’ fine music & I can assure you it won’t be my last… The opener, “Bouzouki Spice" is vibrant and swirling, a sonic whirlpool that will carry your spirit to the edges of the ether!  11 beautiful tunes featuring nearly as many players, with Alekos on Bouzouki (an instrument I’ve not heard before)… the percussion intro on “Cielo" leads right into another tune that you can easily imagine gypsy ladies dancing to by a moonlit fire.  This December 2010 self-produced release earns a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those who want a taste of “world” in their sonic adventures.  Truly stunning production and some of the finest sense of wonderment I’ve heard yet this year!  It gets an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97. 



Review By: Susan Frances for Yahoo!

The Bouzouki has its origins in Greek culture as a stringed instrument that is a cross between the guitar, the mandolin and the cithara. Its tones are pristine and its vibrations resound with a sensuous clarity, yet the instrument is rarely heard in the context of contemporary pop or modern jazz, but American musician-songwriter Alekos Galas whose family is originally from Greece is changing the landscape of contemporary music so the Bouzouki is a part of it.

His latest recording Mediterranean Breeze from Ehos Records demonstrates the beautiful, plush creations that the Bouzouki is capable of producing and the rapport it has with other orchestral instruments. Galas converges the exotic textures of the Bouzouki with the Latin flare of the congas in "Bouzouki Spice" and switches to an elegant swagger weaving through the channels of "Moon Nights" as Marc Russo's saxophone drizzles caressing swirls over the melodic tresses. The meringue-tinged rhythm of "Cielo" provides a base for the limber twists of the Bouzouki, while the creamy ethers emitting from the piano keys are paired with the gentle flutter of the Bouzouki in "One Cloudy Sunday".

A flamenco groove bolsters "The Road Home" as Russo's saxophone wiggles in and out of the intervals, subsiding to a tender, romantic waltz in "Midnight". The tango-esque chassis on "Sweet Child" has a brisk coasting which changes to a hip swaying shimmy in the title track. The music puts visions of relaxing evenings cruising across the Mediterranean in the listener's mind as the club beats of "Island Rain" produce a flirty bounce which softens to a lover's sonata in "Hidden Love". Alekos Galas' album leaves the listener believing that the Bouzouki is an instrument worthy of greater exploration. Produced by Galas and with all tracks written by Galas, Mediterranean Breeze is one of the loveliest albums you'll ever hear.



Review By: Christopher Llewellyn Adams for Cashbox Magazine  

The pure and unfettered sonic bliss of the Mediterranean is on full display with Alekos Galas' latest album, "Mediterranean Breeze." Showcasing his mastery of many genres and musical styles, the work is a master class in art for the senses.

Featuring Galas on the mystical Bouzouki, the album introduces the world to one of its finest melody makers. Hearing the sounds of this for the first time, I find myself not only clamoring for the next album from Galas, but will also hope to see it featured on future releases from other artists.

Of all the songs contained, "Midnight" took me for the most enjoyable ride. It treats the audience to a paradise of sound and light, making it possible to forget and escape the day's drama, if only for a few minutes. An absolute must for a music student's iPod.

Beauty and art are both readily sought and difficult to attain. Any chance to find both in a single piece of work is rare. Shower your soul with the blessings of one of the world's finest entertainers with "Mediterranean Breeze" today.



Review By: Wilbert Sostre of JazzTimes

On Mediterranean Breeze, Greek musician Alekos Galas plays the bouzouki. What is a bouzouki? Do not feel bad if you don't know, I did not know either. The bouzouki is a string instrument of Greek origin similar to the mandolin. Apparently there are two kinds of bouzouki, one with three pair of strings, and the other with four pair of strings. And judging by the album cover, Galas plays the four pair of string bouzouki.

From the first track, “Bouzouki Spice”, there is no doubt Alekos Galas is a virtuoso of the bouzouki. His dazzling technique and virtuosity are shown all over the album. And for this album Galas surrounded himself with a group of great musicians, including bassist Abraham Laboriel and percussionist Alex Acuna.


All the music on Mediterranean Breeze was composed and arranged by Alekos Galas. Some of the compositions like "Bouzouki Spice", “Sweet Child" and “Mediterranean Breeze" reflects his Greek heritage. But mostly the beautiful, relaxed melodies and accessible sounds on the release, especially on tracks like "Moon Nights" and "Midnight" can be classified as smooth jazz. At times the music is reminiscent of groups like Spyro Gyra and Fourplay.



Review By: Chris Spector of Midwest Record

Galas brings his bouzouki to a session with a bunch of LA world jazz cats for a world fusion date that hits it out of the park.  Sounding at first like Ottmar Liebert on steroids, the crew finds their groove right off and makes a heady, adult listening date that new age companies leaning toward world should have picked up on before the big crash.  Tasty stuff that keeps the flavor coming, you’ve got to be dead if this doesn’t brighten your day or mood.  First class throughout.

Listener Comments

Beautiful in every way ... beautiful soul-stirring music ... what a breath of fresh air it is.  It really is music to fill your heart and lift your spirits.  We love it, love it, love it .  You are so talented, not only with your skills as a musician, but the arrangements are all very beautiful.    Aida and Ron 




Your new CD is like nothing anyone that plays the bouzouki has EVER done before. Your compositions are magnificent. And everyone I played this to, was left breathless.
BRAVO!! An amazing job. "Al Di Meola on bouzouki".
Thank you for sharing.   
Toni Patsaka Di Meola




...a fantastic CD with melodies that incorporate easy listening, smooth jazz and jazz fusion. Alekos Galas has done a great job with these unique compositions. This is the first time that we hear a very melodic instrument such as the bouzouki at this level of musicianship ....recommended for anyone who enjoys listening to smooth jazz with influences from Latin and Mediterranean music. It is a joy listening to it!!! The musicians that participated in this work such as Marc Russo, Abraham Laboriel and Alex Acuna are world-class top performers and this reflects in the quality of this CD! Alekos Galas, with his excellent bouzouki playing, has elevated the bouzouki to a new level.    George S.



We at Prodigy Strings (Prodigy Audio Systems Ltd) are very proud to have Alekos Galas as an endorsee for our Bouzouki strings and products. Alekos is a quality musician and a virtuoso Bouzouki player. We wish Alekos every success with his new CD ‘Mediterranean Breeze’. This CD has taken the Bouzouki to a different level, full of fresh ideas, colour, and vibrant tones, embraced by a virtuoso performance.     Best wishes,

Lenios C Demetriou Director Prodigy Audio Systems Ltd