Near & Dear

Christos Rafalides Trio

  • featuring Mike Pope on bass and Mauricio Zotarrelli on drums



Christos Rafalides


Christos was born and raised in Greece, where he completed his studies in classical percussion. After receiving a scholarship from Berklee College of Music, he moved to Boston, attaining a BA in Jazz Vibraphone Performance and later moved to New York, where he graduated from Manhattan School of Music earning his MA in Jazz Vibraphone Performance. Christos found his personal voice when he established “Manhattan Vibes”, a band that has appeared at numerous New York's cutting edge venues including the Blue Note, the Jazz Standard, Smoke Jazz Club and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. Highlights of his career include performances with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, a US tour with the Charles Mingus “Epitaph” Band featuring bassist Christian McBride and conductor Gunther Schuller, a recording with the Harmony Ensemble of NY of Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” featuring Lew Soloff, Ronnie Cuber and Victor Lewis, recordings with vocalist Chaka Khan and a duo performance at Carnegie Hall
with pianist Sergio Salvatore. For several years Christos has been a guest faculty member at the “Zeltsman Marimba Festival” which takes place every summer in different parts of the world. He also has an Artist Residency at the “Music Village” in Greece. His original works for mallets are published from MRL MUSIC and are being played in concerts around the world. Currently he is working on the release of his latest trio recording, “Near & Dear” featuring Mike Pope on bass and Maurizio Zottarelli on drums. Christos is endorsed by Musser Vibraphones and Mike Balter mallets. He makes his home in New York City. 


Mike Pope

Mike Pope is best described as a rare triple threat in the bass world. An equally capable acoustic and 6-string electric bass guitar player, he is a world-renowned solo artist, sideman, composerand teacher. Additionally, he is a well-respected designer of high-end amplifiers, preamps and onboard active electronics. Raised in Ohio, Mike attended the University of North Texas, ultimately migrating to New York City at the recommendation of Michael Brecker, whom he met during a clinic at the school. Pope hit the ground running and began playing and recording with Michael and Randy Brecker, Chuck Loeb, Mike Stern, Joe Locke, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Al DiMeola.He released two solo albums, Walk Your Dogma and Lay of the Land, while amassing additional credits with Chick Corea, Bill Bruford, David Sanborn, Geoffrey Keezer, and Manhattan Transfer. Connecting with Fodera for a bass in the mid-’90s, he began consulting on their electronics, eventually building the Pope/ Fodera onboard preamp. Mike then branched out to start his own Michael Pope Design, currently selling his acclaimed Flex Core Premium Internal Bass Preamp. His designs are also found in Trickfish Amps. Mike continues to tour in support his critically-hailed third solo release, Cold Truth, Warm Heart.


Mauricio Zottarelli 


The brazilian-born and New York City–based drummer and composer Mauricio Zottarelli has been on the forefront of the Jazz, Latin and Brazilian music circles for many years. Called a “superb drummer” by JazzTimes Magazine, Zottarelli has become one of the most sought after drummers on the scene since his move to NYC in 2006. A Berklee College of Music graduate, Mauricio is a critically acclaimed and awardwinning drummer, and is credited in more than 80 albums so far in his career. He has worked with dozens of the most important and notable artists of today, crossing over many musical styles: Hiromi, Eliane Elias, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Esperanza Spalding, Keiko Matsui, Richard Bona, Paquito D’Rivera, Richard Galliano, Chuck Loeb, Cláudio Roditi, Joe Locke, Geoffrey Keezer, Rosa Passos, Dom Salvador, Toninho Horta, Oriente Lopez, and many others. Mauricio has released 4 CDs as a leader, and/or coleader: “Dig Trio” (2003), “7 Lives”(2009), “MOZIK” (2011) and “Glasses, No Glasses” (2014), all of them highly praised worldwide. In 2012 he won the most important music award in Brazil, the “Brazilian Music Awards”, with legendary pianist Dom Salvador. Mauricio is equally active as a teacher and educator, and has taught, performed clinics and workshops in Brazil, USA and Europe - including the California Brasil Camp, Drummers Collective NYC, and Berklee College of Music’s LATINO Program. He is also a columnist for Modern Drummer Magazine in Brazil.