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Hellenic strings

Astoria-based guitarist Peter Douskalis is a solo musician nurturing a dream to inspire others through music. In between teaching guitar lessons at the New York City Guitar School and Queens Guitar School, Douskalis recently put out his second album, “The Dance of the Sea.”

“My hope is to express myself while inspiring others and also to maintain the integrity of the jazz genre and keep it alive,” Douskalis said.

Douskalis said his Greek heritage is an influence on his music.

“My father is Greek and my mother is Greek-Cypriot, so naturally I have a lot of the culture in my personality and I express that through my music,” he said. Douskalis combines traditional elements of jazz and jazz guitar with some Greek musical elements.

“When I play solo jazz guitar or any kind of guitar style in general, I like to impersonate the sounds of the Greek bouzouki,” he said, referring to the traditional string instrument associated with the music of Greece.

He also names New York City as a major musical influence.

“One of the great things I love about New York is the culture of music and the different types of music you hear every day just by walking down the street,” Douskalis said.

His professional influences include jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Bruno, and guitarists that cross genre, like Alex Skolnick.

His first release, “Midnight Madrid” (2007), blended the sounds of traditional Spanish, Greek, Latin American, and American music with accompaniment from his high school friend and fellow guitarist, Alex Freidah.

“The Dance of the Sea” is Douskalis’ most recent instrumental release and first solo album.

“This CD really defines my personality as a guitarist because it is a solo jazz record, but has all my personality from my Greek heritage and influences of rock n’ roll in my playing,” Douskalis said.

The album features a funky jazz cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” and also the title track, which Douskalis said is meant to capture the essence of jazz, Greek and rock music combined into one romantic, moving piece that defines him as a musician.

Douskalis came to love jazz during high school, about the same time he decided to become a professional musician. He was about that age when he first saw the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra play live. He said the performance blew him away.

“I knew that was what I wanted to do. It was one of those moments when you’re doing something that just makes you so happy, you know that you have to keep doing and you know it is what you’re meant to do,” he said.

“The Dance of the Sea” is available for purchase at PeterDouskalis.com, guitar9.com and CDBaby.com. It is also available for digital download from both iTunes and Amazon.com.

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