I can’t imagine myself being anything other than a Greek
Born in Kozani, Christos Raphaelides lives and works as a vibraphonist in New York. Soon after finishing his MA, he started his career in jazz music and celebrated his first personal milestone in 2002 starting up the jazz band Manhattan Vibes. Sometime later, Jazz Times magazine mentioned that the band’s debut album is one of the year’s ten best jazz recordings.
At the age of 7, young Christos started receiving piano lessons along with his lessons on classical percussion instruments. After graduating from high school, he relocated to Thessaloniki to study music. “I was shocked when I first heard African Americans play jazz at Mylos in Thessaloniki. I said, dudes, that’s my thing!”, Christos recalls in an interview with ellines.com.
Right up to his twenties he had been working for some of the most prestigious orchestras in Greece. A Berklee College of Music scholarship led him to Boston, where he finished his academic education studying with Ed Saindon. Next stop for Raphaelides was the city of New York, where he continued his studies next to the famous vibraphonist Joe Locke in Manhattan School of Music.
Raphaelides has performed with the Charles Mingus Band, next to the famous jazz bassist Christian McBride and under the conduction of Gunther Schuller and also with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the Rose Theater of Lincoln Center in New York, next to the eminent trumpet soloist Wynton Marsalis. Moreover, he joined the recording of Chaka Khan’s Christmas single album and shared the same stage with legends of the international music scene, like Ravi Contrane, Antonio Sanchez, Joe Locke, Donny McCaslin, Ron Affif, Mark Ledford.
As a soloist, Raphaelides has performed in Music Stories by composer Thanos Mikroutsikos with the Orchestra of Colours at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall, next to singer Maria Farandouri at the Herodion Theatre and in the album recordings of Christy Baron and Alkinoos Ioannides. His cooperation with Mimis Plessas was the inspiration source for the release of Echo-The Music of Mimis Plessas, an album with ten songs by the Greek composer, freshly revised and orchestrated by Raphaelides.
Although he’s not considering to relocate to Greece, Christos Raphaelides says, “I can’t imagine myself being anything other than a Greek. I just believe that you come to a point in your life when you have to choose one of all things that make you a Greek despite what people see in you. I choose the side of our culture we have successfully preserved through centuries and that’s the Greek side that shines brightly everywhere in the world, with everybody sharing the same respect for it.”