Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Daniel Garcia Trio - Vía de la Plata (ACT Music)

Madrid-based pianist Daniel Garcia carries within him a deep sense of the history that has made him. This is not least because he was born and grew up in Salamanca, a city steeped in history, with several important archaeological sites. In the centuries ever since the middle ages, student priests have walked in their flowing robes along the Calle Compañia, a street in the centre of the city shadowed by tall baroque buildings. The city was also one of the main stopovers on the Vía de la Plata (‘the silver way’), a Roman route from North to South of the Iberian peninsula.

Clear, thoughtful and self-aware when he speaks, Garcia has both an understanding and a passion for what that ancient silver thread through his country means: the Vía de la Plata gave the peninsula its main artery. It also allowed Spain to come together for the first time, to define itself. Spain exists as a melting pot of different cultures, with influences Celtic and Nordic, from the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa, and from the Americas too. Vía de la Plata is a living symbol of how “all of this melts together in Spain,” as Garcia explains. And that – musically – is what he has achieved here.

The pianist’s awareness of these different cultures which have formed Spain is everywhere in this album: the guest artists on the album represent musical heritages from different points of the compass.

Trumpet star Ibrahim Maalouf, born in Beirut, performs on two tracks, the reflective opener, Manuel de Falla’s “Canción del fuego fatuo” (song of the will-o'-the-wisp), and on “Silk Road”, a tantalising glimpse further East. Charismatic clarinettist Anat Cohen, raised in Israel, now based in the Americas, makes her debut on ACT with this album. She produces wonderful emotion and a flickeringly delicate final cadenza on “Pai Lan”, a tune dedicated to Garcia’s wife, the title of the tune being the name by which she (Belén) was known as when she lived in China.
Daniel Garcia © Diego Garcia

Another guest on the album is fellow Spaniard, guitarist Gerardo Núñez. He and Garcia are equally fascinated by the links between Flamenco and jazz. In this, their first co-operation here they show a natural empathy, notably in “Calima” named after the wind that carries sandstorms from the Sahara. Garcia’s fellow trio members – Reinier Elizarde (bass), Michael Olivera (drums) – are from Cuba. Garcia met them on the scene in Madrid. All three are in their mid-thirties, and are close friends both on and off stage.

Garcia is a passionate advocate for Salamanca's musical heritage. The title track “ Vía de la Plata”, with its intoxicating echoes of both Ravel and the Cameroonian coupé-décalé has Garcia and Anat Cohen trading fragments of melodies from the charrada, a centuries-old Salamancan peasant dance, with everything fitting together miraculously and seamlessly.

It is now a decade since Daniel Garcia won prizes as a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and received teaching and mentoring from Danilo Pérez. Garcia remembers the great Panamanian pianist encouraging him to go deeper into the music of his home country: “You should do the music you feel inside. This is not just what you do, this is YOU!” It is as if that advice has never gone away...

In “Vía de la Plata”, Daniel Garcia has not just dug deep into his heritage as man and musician, and understood truths about it. He has also found ways to express these through the emotions: deeply, convincingly and fully in this very fine album.

1 Canción del fuego fatuo ( Manuel de Falla) 03:15
2 Calle Compañía ( Daniel García Diego) 05:01
3 La leyenda del tiempo ( Federico García Lorca / Ricardo Pachón Capitán) 05:22
4 Spring of Life ( Daniel García Diego) 03:37
5 The Silk Road ( Daniel García Diego) 07:19
6 Pai Lan ( Daniel García Diego) 05:35
7 Volar ( Paco de Lucía) 04:06
8 Vía de la Plata ( Daniel García Diego) 04:58
9 Mar de la tranquilidad ( Daniel García Diego) 04:51
10 Calima ( Gerardo Núñez) 04:53

Daniel García / piano, Fender Rhodes & synths
Reinier Elizarde “El Negrón” / acoustic bass
Michael Olivera / drums

Ibrahim Maalouf / trumpet
Gerardo Núñez / guitar
Anat Cohen / clarinet

Produced by the artist
Executive Producer: Siggi Loch

All arrangements by Daniel García except Calima, by Gerardo Núñez
Recorded by Shayan Fathi at Camaleón Music Studio, Madrid, Spain. Ibrahim Maalouf recorded by Oscar Ferran at Studio Diasporas, Ivry-Sur-Seine, France. Anat Cohen recorded at Paraiso Recording Studio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mixed and mastered by Shayan Fathi. Piano technician: David Izquierdo

Cover art by Tal R: Fugl, 1995, by courtesy of Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

Nils Landgren Solo - Nature Boy (ACT Music)

The Man with the Red Horn. Nils Landgren’s nickname is apt. It brings to mind the fiery, coruscating energy with which the charismatic, soulful trombonist leads his Funk Unit. And yet there are many other facets to this hugely popular Swedish musician. In the course of a 40-year career, he has taken on many roles, producing albums, directing festivals, leading big bands, teaching in universities...And yet his musical personality also has a very different side, one that is much more delicate and softer. Ithas previously come to the fore in various contexts, notably at the end of the 1990s in his duo with Esbjörn Svensson and their groundbreaking interpretations of Swedish folk music on the albums "Swedish Folk Modern" and "Layers Of Light". He has also increasingly nurtured it as a singer of ballads, with a very appe...

1 Tänk att få vakna / Morning Has Broken ( traditional)02:52
2 Nature Boy ( Eden Ahbez)04:07
3 A Minor ( Nils Landgren)03:33
4 In a Sentimental Mood ( Duke Ellington)04:31
5 Solitude ( Duke Ellington)03:37
6 Värmlandsvisan ( traditional)02:56
7 Allt under himmelens fäste ( traditional)03:19
8 Der Mond ist aufgegangen ( traditional)02:55
9 Nu sjunker bullret ( traditional)03:11
10 Din klara sol går åter opp ( traditional)02:05
11 Som stjärnor små ( Evert Taube)03:17
12 Den blomstertid nu kommer ( traditional)03:23
13 Jag lyfter ögat mot himmelen ( traditional)02:58
14 Sov på min arm ( Evert Taube)02:05

Nils Landgren / trombone

Traditional music arranged by Nils Landgren, except otherwise indicated

Produced by the artist

Recorded by Nils Landgren at Ingelstorps Kyrka, February 4 & 19 and April 5, 2021, assisted by Beatrice Järås Landgren
Edited, mixed and mastered by Klaus Scheuermann, July 7 - 9, 2021

Cover art © Terry Winters, Echo (detail), 2020, ACT Art Collection

Lacquer Disc Cutting by Sidney Claire Meyer at Emil Berliner Studios Berlin

Simply This Quintet - Stepping Up (October 2021)

"Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic we had not rehearsed or performed together since August 2020. Because of the unique nature of the group consisting of graduate students, we weren't able to focus on this project until the spring academic semester ended. We had a total of eleven days to figure out which eight songs would be on this album. In deciding on those eight songs, we rehearsed brand new music as well as considered music from our library of over 25 original compositions. We rehearsed about 3 hours a day, every day, for those eleven days along with playing two gigs in town to get comfortable performing with each other as we explored this music. Our drummer Frank Kurtz affectionately calls these eleven days together "Jazz Camp". The level of comfort within the ensemble grew by the hour, and we returned each day with new ideas to make this music ours. I believe "Stepping Up" exemplifies the quintet's dedication to the history of jazz as well as the future of jazz, as each member continues to develop their voice within the voice of the ensemble."
- Bandleader, Matthew Storie

1. Aftershock 06:03
2. Impostor Syndrome 07:10
3. Stepping Up 05:46
4. The Wanderer 06:29
5. Taurus 07:49
6. Simply This 05:25
7. Blues for the Village 05:16
8. Synergy 05:43

Recorded at Transient Sound Studio by Vijay Tellis-Nayak
Mix and Mastering Engineer Rich Breen at Dogmatic Sound
Artwork and Design by Lorena Contreras
Photography by Anna Marshall

Raposa Velha - Raposa Velha (December 1, 2021 Mad About Records)

Raposa Velha was a notable Bahian jazz group, which was part of the wave of great musicians and bands from Bahia during the 1980s, such as Sexteto do Beco, Saul Barbosa and Andréa Daltro. Thus, Raposa Velha released only this album, independently in 1981. Outlined between jazz-fusion and avant-garde jazz, this LP has become a very obscure piece within the Brazilian jazz universe.

1. Vitor 04:53
2. Luiza 09:16
3. Tema da Luz 03:10
4. Passagem 07:48
5. Triunfo da Luz 02:17
6. Vinheta 05:57

Drums – Jorge Brasil
Electric Bass – Carlinhos Marques
Electric Piano, Synthesizer [Arp], Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Zeca Freitas
Guitar – Paulo Brasil
Trombone – Fred Dantas

Cover – Dicinho