Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2010
Compilation CD Jazz from Catalonia 2010

A calm revolution has taken place in Catalonia over the last fifteeen years that has brought to the surface a group of musicians, whom diversity of inspiration and influences reflect the richness of the current jazz scene. Calm, because this is a  movement which has emerged with relative discretion, and even with a certain extent of patience. Catalan jazzmen have been wise enough to learn the foundations of the style, to travel and to take part in cultural exchanges in order to nourish themselves on fresh experiences and new encounters, thus escaping both from the academicism and the idolatry of jazz’s old days. And revolution, because it has allowed Barcelona to become one of the jazz’s capitals.

This compilation shows this reality with 16 tracks selected by ICIC from Josep Mestres (Barcelonajazzradio) proposal in collaboration with Susanna Carmona (Festival Jazz Terrassa), Vincent Bessières (jazz journalist, France) Pere Pons (Jaç magazine) and Roger Roca (music journalist). 

Perico Sambeat & Javier Vercher Quartet: Pollock (6.03)
CD: “Infinita”
Author: Perico Sambeat

A relentless dialogue for two and four voices. Vibrant, rich-sounding and unpredictable, it immerses us in a dense climate using magnificent compositions that are served up raw. An incandescent performance, catered in the heat of the moment with all the energy of session jazz. Pure avantgarde, using the new and the not so new. Infinita will be a benchmark project.

Joan Monné Trio: Solar (4.19)
CD: “Standards”
Author: Miles Davis

Joan Monné works with ingredients that are 100% natural, without additives. Now he surprises us with this list of standards played with an overwhelming purity, succinctly embellishing their details without a hint of arrogance. A project boasting the tireless musicality of David Xirgu, which should also gain a following for Bori Albero.

JP Balcázar Quintet: The “C” Major Ornette and Monk’s Inspiration Blues (3.50)
CD: “Invocation”
Author: Juan Pablo Balcázar

With Invocation, Juan Pablo Balcázar excels again as a composer, with a band chosen to work without harmonic instruments, in which all the voices contribute individually to create an exquisite structure. Highlights include the inspiration and quality of Aurignac, Oliver and Sánchez. Three new discoveries for those who are unaware of the jazz that is being cooked up in Barcelona.

Karion: Tao paypal (4.42)
CD: “Karion”
Author: Sergi Sirvent, Ramon Prats, Marc Cuevas

A band born from a great idea: to provide music for a re-release of the silent film classic (Mother, by Pudovkin), a work in which imagination and inspiration play at conversing with the images. Now without those images, this work still maintains the rhythm, the space, the tension and the mystery of an unknown ending. Another brilliant idea from Sirvent and company. Exhilarating.

CMS Trio: Gnawa blues (6.11)
CD: “Andando”
Author: Popular, Javier Colina

Bop, latin and flamenco coming together in the hands of an emphatic Perico Sambeat, with the gifted ubiquity of Javier Colina on the double bass and the wisdom and versatility of Marc Miralta. With Andando, CMS Trio surpasses the tag of super-production (an inspired decision by Contrabaix) in showing the high level of inspiration attained by these three masters.

Bien sur!
Emilio Solla & The Tango Jazz Conspiracy: Payos (6.34)
CD: “Bien sur!”
Author: Emilio Solla

A new project by the Argentinian-born, New York resident and forever Barcelonese Emilio Solla. Jazzy compositions and improvisations over a bedrock of tango in the broadest possible sense. It was recorded this summer with a privileged band which Solla himself has dubbed the Tango Jazz Conspiracy. Bien Sur! A play on words that in Spanish points to the south and at the same time (in French) reaffirms its language, which on this occasion is even more accessible and luscious. |

Five in Orbit: Five angels (4.59)
CD: “Freaks”
Author: Ramon Fossati, Laurent Bronner, Olivier Brandily

Fossati, Bronner and Brandily (regular members of Five in Orbit) enjoy games of intelligence. Sparkling compositions, melodically passionate, with forceful interventions and impeccable effects  which seem to refer to delirium. All of this serves a clearly evolving project which is as aesthetically pleasing as it is musically impeccable. A true pleasure.

Plaça Vella
Josep Maria Farràs & Ignasi Terraza Trio: I remember Clifford (5.41)
CD: “Plaça Vella”
Author: Benny Golson

A recording that truly does justice to the number of years during which these two Catalan jazz greats have been working together. To resort to clichés in describing this album would be a shame. Neither the sound of Josep Maria Farràs, nor the personality of Terraza’s piano can be explained or understood through metaphors. Listen to I remember Clifford or I’m always chasing rainbows and you will surely understand. Above all, this is jazz. |

Víctor Correa Septet: Too young to go steady (2.51)
CD: “Coltrane”
Author: Jimmy McHugh

Unbeatable debut album by Victor Correa, with a septet created from the latest generation of musicians graduating from the ESMUC (Catalonia’s College of Music). With a repertoire mostly dedicated to Coltrane (the band was set up on the fortieth anniversary of his death), they also offer up an impeccable version of Too young to go steady by Jimmy McHugh. |

Lluís Vidal Trio: Cançó i dansa I (6.42)
CD: “Mompiana”
Author: Lluís Vidal

An excellent work of composition based on the music of the Catalan composer Frederic Mompou (1893-1987). A risky but rigorous revision of his introspective world, with a breathtaking range of features. Especially the ongoing individual contributions – what a quintet! –, beginning with Luis Vidal himself, which allow us to savour the original beauty of Mompou and at the same time understand this adventure as an authentic jazz genius which is also absolutely contemporary.

Víctor de Diego: Blueso (5.41)
CD: “Evolution”
Author: Víctor de Diego

Víctor de Diego is a tenor saxophonist from head to toe: meticulous, highly-trained, clear-minded and free of artificial game-playing. He avoids rhetoric and convoluted euphemisms when explaining his work. He is a man who has called his fifth album as a band leader Evolution, in order to refer honestly to his natural evolution. An album that needs to be devoured whole, which will create more addicts to the craft of sounding good.

Raynald Colom: Toulouse (5.31)
CD: “Evocación”
Author: Claude Nougaro, Christian Chevalier

The immense talent of Raynald Colom is placed at the service of a surprising fusion, impregnated with flamenco but never using it as an aesthetic pretext. A collection of gorgeous songs, sometimes composed over a dense, solemn and penetrating silence. A joyful and compassionate invention which makes its presence felt. A line-up filled with first-rate names and arrangements. |

Trop’s in jazz
Raül Reverter: Final trops (3.00)
CD: “Trop’s in jazz”
Author: Raül Reverter

An extremely interesting journey somewhere between twelve-tone technique and jazz, based on Raül Reverter’s interest in the works of Austrian composer Josef Mathias Hauer (1883-1959). An album with an atmosphere all of its own, which moves us subtly and includes an extraordinary Jordi Farrés and an airtight rhythm section. Full of ideas from beginning to end and with a judicious use of new resources. Reverter shows us that not everything that is yet to be invented needs to be strange.

King Kong Música de Zappa
Filthy Habits Ensemble: Little Umbrellas (3.07)
CD: “King Kong Música de Zappa”
Author: Filthy Habits Ensemble

The enormity of Frank Zappa’s music performed by an octet. A compact and dizzying sound. Edgar Varèse, Zappa’s idol, said that vanguards do not exist, only a lot of people who are behind. Unusually, the Filthy Habits Ensemble makes us look backwards in order to be totally current. A project presented as a true spectacle, wonderfully illustrated. Music fed straight into the veins, provoking the opening of the mind at high levels.

Local Hat
Hat: Money (4.47)
CD: “Local Hat”
Author: Jordi Matas

Matas and Sirvent. Two free minds. Fickle, mystical, sublime, relentless, always in flight. Their name – HAT – refers to the English expression “to wear different hats”. This is one way to describe the broad and eclectic range of styles used by this band. If on its debut four years ago HAT already set out its unique course, on Local hat their fickle and distorted personalities go even further. A jewel fortunately impossible to polish any further. Hats off to Hat. |

Aren’t you glad to be here?
Juliane Heinemann: Do you see me (4.04)
CD: “Aren’t you glad to be here?”
Author: Juliane Heinemann

Extraordinarily well-written songs that grab us and make us fall in love, especially with the way they sound, with the way they are sung. A hard-earned serenity that says everything about Juliane Heinemann. Compositions which are also admirable for having been arranged with a deceptive simplicity. The choice of Sanz, Lohikari and Smith is inspired, as is the list of guests who speak for themselves. An album with which to reconcile oneself with the world.