36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022

Asaf Sirkis Trio

Asaf Sirkis Trio (United Kingdom):

Anastasios Spiliotopoulos - electric guitar
Patrick Bettison - electric bass, harmonica
Asaf Sirkis - drums

This trio is Asaf Sirkis’ principal creative laboratory. The team of virtuosos contributes immensely to the international reputation of its leader.

The trio was established in 2007. The group’s bassist Yaron Stavi (Israel) will be substituted by Patrick Bettison, who took part in recording of Asaf Sirkis Trio’s newest album Letting Go released last year. In 2008, the trio recorded its first CD The Monk.

Asaf Sirkis Trio’s music has associations with jazz-rock, which shaped Sirkis’ voice. The trio’s compositions reveal its leader’s style influenced by music of the Middle East and India, the work and philosophy of Sun Ra, as well as Sirkis’ inspirers Jack DeJohnette and Tony Williams.

Asaf Sirkis was born in Israel. He had a strong interest in playing electric bass, but due to total unpopularity of this instrument in Israel at the time he has chosen drums. Sirkis began drum lessons at the age of 12.

Sirkis started his professional career in Israel as a musician playing with many different young jazz-rock, world music, free jazz and Klezmer bands as well as local jazz/world luminaries. In 1995, he formed his first trio, started composing and recorded his first album.

In 1996, inspired by French Church Organ composers such as Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Durufle and Cesar Frank he formed a unique new band The Inner Noise consisting of church organ, electric guitar and drums. Critics described the trio’s first album Inner Noise as gothic jazz. One Canadian Radio jazz station ranked it the Best Album of 2005. With time The Inner Noise recorded two more albums.

Sirkis left Israel and eventually settled in London in April 1999. He soon became part of the UK jazz and world music scene, and started working with Adel Salameh, a Palestinian oud player/composer. Soon after arriving in the UK Sirkis re-formed The Inner Noise with Steve Lodder (church organ) and Mike Outram (guitar).

In 2000, Sirkis met saxophonist Gilad Atzmon. It was the start of a major creative collaboration. The tandem formed The Orient House Ensemble, and this band went on to record seven albums. The Orient House Ensemble’s album Exile won the Best CD of the Year at the BBC Jazz Award 2003. The band performed in many prestigious festivals and venues in the UK and in Europe.

In 2006, the drummer started a unique collaboration with highly acclaimed saxophonist/composer Tim Garland, and has enjoyed making four albums with him and touring in Far East, USA, Europe, etc.

Sirkis has also worked with the Larry Coryell’s Power Trio, Nicolas Meier Group, John Law’s Art Of Sound Trio as well as with other artists such as Chick Corea, Jeff Berlin, John Abercrombie, Bob Sheppard, Mark Egan, Dave Liebman, David Binney, Gary Husband, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Lenny Stern, Julian Siegel and John Etherigde, also jazz luminaries from Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Austria, and Portugal.

Recently, he has focused on working and touring with his trio.

Patrick Bettison was born in England and raised in Australia. Completely self-taught, he started playing the bass when he was 8 years old. He began writing music at the age of 13 and working professionally as a musician at 16.

After graduating from high school, Bettison moved to Scotland, where he began playing with multi-instrumentalist Bobby Wishart. Eighteen months later, he moved to London to further his jazz education. During the eight years he spent on the London jazz scene he played with Tim Whitehead, Jim Mullen, Django Bates, Gary Husband and many other British jazz musicians.

Bettison recorded and toured in the USA extensively with Acoustic Alchemy as bassist and leader. He moved to Florida, where he collaborated with Kenny Drew, Jr., Brazilian pianist Manfredo Fest, Gumbi Ortiz, and explored Cuban music. He found great inspiration in Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music.

Originally from Greece, Anastasios Spiliotopoulos moved to London in 2000 and has studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity College of Music. During that time Spiliotopoulos also attended seminars at the School for Improvisational Music in New York City.

The guitarist has worked with artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Gary Husband, Tim Garland, Dimitri Vassilakis, Eileen Hunter, John Parricelli, Mike Outram, John Etheridge, and more. In 2005, he formed his own quartet.

With various formations he has performed in clubs and festivals in the UK, Germany, France, Greece, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

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