Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2007
Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2007

If you want to see the vitality of Catalan jazz, listen to the CD Jazz from Catalonia 2007. Sixteen songs (there could be many more) chosen by one of the most renowned specialists of musical critique in Spain: Juan Claudio Cifuentes, director of the radio programme Jazz Porque Sí, currently broadcast by Radio Clásica.

This Jazz CD is being brought out for the third consecutive year and is intended to gather the best of the annual harvest of jazz records by Catalan musicians and record companies. The two previous records were a great success, as shown by the fact that as a result of the 2006 CD, several groups included in the record took part in a series of Catalan jazz concerts in the historical Club des Lombards in Paris.

This CD is part of a series of four CDs intended to promote Catalan music internationally. The rest of the CDs are: Electronic Music from Catalonia 2007, World Music from Catalonia 2007 and Pop Rock from Catalonia 2007.

To listen to the tracks of Jazz from Catalonia 20079, click on the links below.

Fast food
Andreu Martínez Project: “Bright size life" (4.06)
CD: “Fast food”
Author: Fat Metheny

Andreu Martínez has asked his good friend David Pastor – one of the most skilful trumpeters in this part of the world – to join him on a trip into the musical universe of the great Metheny, one of the clearest influences on our musician. A trip that’s pure pleasure, with Martínez’s fingers dancing and singing their way up and down the neck and strings of his guitar.

Among 3
Among 3: “M1" (4.46)
CD: “Among 3”
Author: Roger Mas

A trio is a trio is a trio... it’s not one plus two. Just ask Evans, Bley or Jarrett. Roger Mas and his partners know the answer perfectly well. This is no monologue with a rhythm back-up supplied by two nameless aides playing somewhere in the background: this is a threeway conversation between peers. And what they say is not just hot air.

Manel Camp Quartet: “Abril (Suite de Primavera)" (5.47)
CD: “Tornassol”
Author: Manel Camp

Elegance and good taste are words that spring to mind in connection with the exquisite, delicate compositions of this pianist. Backed by three full-blown professionals, as he is himself, Manel Camp once more serves up a de luxe musical menu, to be savoured at leisure.

Lonely Avenue
Lluís Coloma: “Goin’ to Malaysia" (4.08)
CD: “Lonely Avenue”
Author: Lluís Coloma

If anyone on this side of the Atlantic can generate that “swinging boogie-woogie feeling” at its best and with all its bright energy, that’s Lluís Coloma. The technique he applies in bringing that difficult piano art to life is formidable. Moreover, his compositions and improvisations show absolute mastery of the musical language.

Double step
Llibert Fortuny Electric Quartet: “Les tres Maries" (4.54)
CD: “Double step”
Author: Llibert Fortuny

From Parker to Coltrane and beyond, he knows it all and he knows it well. With a saxophone that holds no secrets for him plus unflagging energy, he has set off with a group of well-chosen musical partners to explore a whole universe of festive jazz, injecting his original compositions with just the right dose of electronica. High spirits and – haven’t i said so already? – energy. There’s vitality for you!

Horacio Fumero: “Contrabajeando" (4.37)
CD: “Contrabajeando”
Author: Astor Piazzolla, Aníbal Troilo

Over a quarter of a century playing alongside the great Tete Montoliu... no mean feat. Horacio Fumero’s standup bass is one of the most important voices in the catalan musical panorama. And yet he has so few records to his name. So this one is very welcome. Aided by his exceptionally gifted partners, Horacio “jazzes up” the rhythms and sounds of his beloved south America.

Lines over rhythm
Sergi Sirvent & Xavi Maureta: “Lines over rhythm" (3.33)
CD: “Lines over rhythm”
Author: Sergi Sirvent

Piano and drums. When you have talent, that’s all you need to make good music. Sirvent has been making it clear for a long time that he is a mag-nificent keyboard specialist and a composer to watch closely. Maureta is a veteran of many battles, and percussion playing holds no secrets for him. A duo where creativity reigns supreme.

Elisabet Raspall: “Cercles" (4.19)
CD: “4”
Author: Elisabet Raspall

A pianist of rare elegance with a perfectly controlled touch, throughout her career Elisabet has also emphasised her composer side - and she does not disappoint in that either. Her new project, bringing in the gentle voice of Liliana Bertolini’s flute, carries us away to a peaceful backwater full of beautiful, soothing sounds, with just the right touch of lyricism.

Callin’ the spirits
Ramon Fossati Sextet: “Callin’ the spirits" (3.41)
CD: “Callin’ the spirits”
Author: Ramon Fossati, Olivier Brandily

Who says a good dose of swingtime isn’t comforting? It is, especially if the performers have mastered their trade and are on top of the language. Ramon Fossati heads this impeccable sextet, featuring polished arrange-ments of original compositions, and brings back for us the feeling of that highly danceable jazz, though with the spirit of our own time.

Afro blue: “Donde dije digo, digo dije" (6.37)
CD: “3x4=34?”
Author: Xavier Algans

One thing that we jazz lovers are quite clear about is that this music is inherently playful, and I’m sure the members of afro blue would agree with that too. With two saxophonists who’ve built up plenty of air miles and a well-integrated and flexible rhythm section, this group brings us a jazz steeped in good spirits.

Xavier Dotras Trio: “París-99" (3.33)
CD: “Nit”
Author: Xavier Dotras

Delicate piano-work and a musical line that’s all freshness, just like the pianist’s own compositions; a string bass that knows how to build a melody; a drummer that keeps good time with just the right touch of lightness... there we have a trio in the classic mould. And one with personality too, thanks to the work of Xavier and his accomplices.

Zamba nueva
Antonio Serrano/José Reinoso: “Cómo te llamabas?" (3.42)
CD: “Zamba nueva”
Author: Antonio Serrano

José Reinoso, the highly talented pianist now based in Barcelona, is joined here by three fellow countrymen in a joyous reunion based on the rhythms of their distant homeland, Uruguay. But there’s more too: there’s that phenomenon called Antonio Serrano, who adds real magic with that harmonica he plays like no one else.

Max Sunyer: “Rumb de deriva" (4.48)
CD: “Secrets”
Author: Max Sunyer

Long experience has always been a great asset, and wisdom naturally comes along to walk hand in hand with it. How many years now have we spent listening to this guitar? And here it comes again. Great! Medite-rranean essences, an aerial touch, joy. It all looks easy. But Max took more than a day or two to get there, and he knows just where the “course” he has set is taking him.

Jordi Berni Trio + Santi De La Rubia: “Brandon Marlon" (5.11)
CD: “Afinke”
Author: Santi De La Rubia

A tight-sounding trio brimming over with swing, headed by Berni, a pianist with a masterful technique who knows how to spin an impeccably wrought discourse, as fresh as could be. They are joined by Santi De La Rubia, a tenor sax with a good sound, nimble fingering and supple phrasing. A group one would not be surprised to hear in some club in Paris, London or New York.

Gorka Benítez: “Because of you" (4.05)
CD: “Bilbao”
Author: Gorka Benítez

The word “commercialism” is banned from Benítez’s dictionary, he being one of the most original and creative saxophonists in this part of the world. In this recording, dedicated to his native city of Bilbao, Gorka lets his feelings roam free again. That tenor sax that laughs, cries or dreams aloud can never leave one cold. And what a trio of band partners he has brought together...

Javier Colina / Marc Miralta / Perico Sambeat: “Encuentros" (5.05)
CD: “Trio”
Author: Tico Arnedo

Three musketeers of jazz, three top-notch instrumentalists. They’ve been deepening their mutual acquaintance for years and meeting up to play in various other contexts. But now they’ve decided to go it alone, just the three of them. Pure music. Musicianship that bursts out of every pore. Whatever they do, it sounds beautiful, and has magic, class... unadulte-rated art.