Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2017
Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2017

Tracks selected by Martí Farré (music journalist), in collaboration with Olga Àbalos (music journalist), Susanna Carmona (coordinator Jazz Terrassa), Borja Duñó (music journalist), Pere Pons (director Jamboree Jazz Club), Roger Roca (music journalist) and ICEC.

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Available also on Spotify, Deezer, Napster and other streaming services.

El petit príncep
Jordi Sabatés: El petit príncep (3:34)
CD: “El petit príncep”
Author: Jordi Sabatés

Although he does not define himself as a jazz musician, with Maverick, Jordi Sabatés treats us to a masterclass in jazz piano from the very first note to the last: from more bucolic lyricism to the most frenetic ragtime. Maverick tracks the long chameleon-like career of a dissident, magical, unclassifiable musician. Sabatés, a key figure on the Catalan creative music scene, is unique in being the only member of the highly unorthodox generation of '70s musicians who managed to sit Tete Montoliu in front of a Fender Rhodes to record a historic album as a duo.

Blind Composition
Elisabet Raspall Quintet: Blind Composition (5:04)
CD: “Blind Composition”
Author: Elisabet Raspall Quintet

As if to subvert the stereotype that associates jazz with darkness and sadness, the musical offering from pianist and composer Elisabet Raspall transmits light, joy and energy, like the dawn of a new day. Raspall has reunited the same combo she recorded her first album with 20 years ago; a group that includes saxophonist Chris Cheek. Vital as its name suggests, is a hymn to life, from the warmth and on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Raynald Colom Steel: A.I. (3:39)
CD: “A.I.”
Author: Raynald Colom Steel

French-Catalan trumpeter, Raynald Colom, a musician who repudiates being pigeon-holed into any generic classification, surprises us this time round with an electric, almost cacophonous project in which he mixes jazz with groove and funk. Steel, the name of Colom’s new band, brings together musicians the likes of saxophonist Logan Richardson and guitarist David Soler, a session musician linked to the world of pop-rock. Incisive and nonconformist, Colom is donating the profits from ‘AI’ to the NGO, Stop Mare Mortum.

Mezquida-Aurignac-Prats: Conan-Canon (2:13)
CD: “Conan-Canon”
Author: Mezquida-Aurignac-Prats

A Menorcan, an Andalusian and a Catalan make up this powerful, bass-less equilateral triangle. Crazed unisons, sudden changes of tempo, labyrinth-like structures... Energy in abundance from three of the best jazz musicians to come out of Iberian jazz in recent years. They define their project as ‘an unexplored, exciting and complete musical journey’ and critic Pachi Tapiz said that they are ‘an unforeseen reality of Spanish jazz, an irresistible future presence’. And he is absolutely right.

An Emotional Dance
Ignasi Terraza & Bert van den Brink: An Emotional Dance (5:03)
CD: “An Emotional Dance”
Author: Ignasi Terraza & Bert van den Brink

On the twentieth anniversary of Tete Montoliu’s death, pianist Ignasi Terraza, considered by many one of the heirs to Tete’s legacy, came together with fellow pianist Bert van der Brink to pay a four-handed tribute to the Muntaner Street musician. Two of the most acclaimed jazzmen on the European scene join to provide a musical dialogue that is both delightful and majestic. Virtuosity and sensuality in a single composition, ‘An Emotional Dance’, which Terraza revives for this extraordinary tête-à-tête.

Free Bird
Carola Ortiz: Free Bird (5:53)
CD: “Free Bird ”
Author: Carola Ortiz

Carola Ortiz, a free bird, is one of the most dynamic musicians of the new generation of Catalan artists. Both a singer and a clarinet player, she is active not only on the jazz scene, but on the singer-songwriter and world music scenes as well. Her most ambitious work to date, Sirin, not only brings together Barcelona musicians from different fields – jazz, flamenco, Brazilian music and Argentinian folklore – but underlines the historical mestizo character of Barcelona’s popular music.

Blues tres
Dani Pérez Trio: Blues tres (3:18)
CD: “Blues tres ”
Author: Dani Pérez Trio

Few guitarists on the Barcelona scene can boast a sound as recognisable as Argentinian Dani Pérez’s. Compared with John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell, Dani Pérez possesses a unique style, seasoned with the expertise of his two travelling companions. Recorded live at the Barcelona underground temple, 23 Robadors, Resumen is an example of the unmistakable style of an already legendary trio.

Giulia Valle Trio: Lucy-Lú (5:08)
CD: “Zazpiko ”
Author: Giulia Valle Trio

To quote Jeff Levenson of New York’s Blue Note, one of the venues this trio, headed by double bass player and composer, Giulia Valle, have played, ‘Somehow her music is an accurate reflection of her energy, her vibe, her life force’. Well-deserved praise, as Valle is one of Catalonia’s most original jazz musicians in terms of her musical discourse. So much so that she has also attracted the attention of major festivals of the likes of San Francisco, where she recorded her latest album.

Afro Blue: Laverdaque Blues (5:18)
CD: “Kinsal ”
Author: Afro Blue

There has always been an interest in Antillean music in Catalonia. There have been few bands, however, that have dared to make Latin-jazz without incorporating Afro-Latin percussion, as in the case of Afro Blue, a band with 18 years’ experience that move between groove and Latin rhythms. Sometimes ironic, other times profound, this combo, based in Catalonia’s unofficial jazz capital, Terrassa, has created a work of unquestionable quality.

La heroica ciudad dormía la siesta
Víctor de Diego Trío: Zazpiko (4:16)
CD: “La heroica ciudad dormía la siesta”
Author: Víctor de Diego Trío

In the mid-1980s a generation of young musicians began arriving in Barcelona from the Basque country and quickly became the next breakthrough artists on the Catalan jazz scene. Biscay-born Víctor de Diego was one of the first to settle in the Catalan capital, where he has played with big names on both the national and international scene. A career that spans thirty years attests to a skilled classical saxophonist. For the past five years, De Diego has headed up a trio free from harmonic instruments that speak with one voice.

Carlos Falanga: Kinsal (4:38)
CD: “Arrows ”
Author: Carlos Falanga

Carlos Falanga is one of the Barcelona underground scene’s most restless musicians; a seeker and creator of adventures of all kinds. This sextet of almost psychedelic sounds is a good demonstration of that spirit. Avant-garde jazz with rock and jazz leanings, Falanga proposes a dreamlike, exploration journey in search of beauty. With Quasar, the Argentinian drummer also consolidates his career as a composer and arranger.

Krutitsa vertitsa shar goluboy
Liquid Trio: La heroica ciudad dormía la siesta (4:12)
CD: “Krutitsa vertitsa shar goluboy”
Author: Liquid Trio

Improviser Agustí Fernández, considered one of the greats of European avant-garde jazz and free improvisation, is also known for his patronage of new libertarian music talents. As is the case of saxophonist Albert Cirera and drummer Ramon Prats, with whom he forms this liquid trio, with its powerful, dark and uncompromising sound. Music that is truly and undeniably astonishing.

Martí Serra & Sergi Sirvent: Arrows (4:49)
CD: “Lekeitio”
Author: Martí Serra & Sergi Sirvent

With Diürna, one of Catalonia’s best jazz tenor saxophonists, Martí Serra, returns to the fore after a long silence, doing so as part of a co-led duo alongside an old friend: pianist Sergi Sirvent, composer of a monumental work. Through its stripped-back style and, particularly, the connection between the two, Sierra and Sirvent serve up a co-written selection based on creative freedom with nods to Shorter, Evans and Strayhorn.

Piccola Orchestra Gagarin: Krutitsa vertitsa shar goluboy (5:13)
CD: “”
Author: Piccola Orchestra Gagarin

Singer and Sardinian prepared guitar inventor, Paolo Angeli, cellist Sasha Agranov, and drummer Oriol Roca, make up this unique band paying tribute to the first man who dared to go to outer space. With influences from avant-garde jazz, world music and progressive rock, Angeli, Agranov and Roca also launch themselves into outer space, and they do it without a safety net.

Marco Mezquida: Lekeitio (4:13)
CD: “”
Author: Marco Mezquida

One of the most sought-after jazz musicians in Catalonia, a true phenomenon with a huge discography, despite his youth. The secret? Being a musician – and composer – with an extraordinary ability to combine virtuosity with good taste with, lyricism with exploration, beauty... with beauty. Amateur confirms Mezquida’s indisputable skill in one of the disciplines which best showcases his enormous talent: solo piano.