“Traditional jazz album, rocked in swing but open-minded, classic but with contemporary textures and appreciable local flirtations”
Text: JUAN PUCHADES.
The biographies of the great icons more on the edge fixed the idea of jazz associated with tearing and life on the edge of the precipice. Such is their magnetism that for them we have forgotten that the majority of jazzmen enjoyed long lives and sought, essentially, that the listener enjoy their music, that for a while forget the grayness and tedium and (before the era of hard bop ) savored music that accompanied loneliness or warmed up illusions. Attitude that in recent years has made a strong comeback, with new vocalists who go through ages looking for the beauty of the golden days of the genre. And that is precisely what Andrea Motis, singer, trumpeter and saxophonist of exultant youth, dedicates to in this solo premiere, although he has added seven other albums in which he has collaborated with Joan Chamorro, his mentor in the Sant Andreu Jazz Band.
Let’s celebrate that a 22-year-old girl from Barcelona (21 when she recorded this work), is right now one of the greatest international jazz sensations. With a brand new album recorded for the Impulse! and a projection that shakes the schemes of the cool heads who understand that jazz is getting lost in a zillion thousand alternative takes of Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. Here and now we have a delicate and expressive vocalist who is also an instrumentalist (she always leaves room for instrumental solos). So let’s listen and get caught.
And to catch us is “Emotional dance”, designed practically like a business card or catalog: like someone who says “this is me. This is what I can do. These are the different registers that I can approach. Trust me, I don’t know where I’ll go, but I promise I’ll try my best and the future will be interesting. ” In this way you have to understand a traditional jazz album, rocked in swing but open-minded, classic but with contemporary textures and appreciable local flirtations despite its international vocation (recorded in New York). Thus, in this attempt to expose a varied palette, he initiates a dedicated ‘Chega de sudade’ (Jobim and Moraes’ indestructible totem) in which he turns to the trumpet solo, or dares with ‘He’s funny that away’ ( the first single from the album), one of the classics of the Billie Holiday songbook, although its version is more closely related to the sinuous reading of Etta James. She also walks with ease by standards like ‘Never will I marry’ (originally from the musical “Greenwillow”, later incorporated into jazz repertoires), she is fantastic in Cole Porter’s ‘You’d be so nice to come home to’, magnetic in ‘I remember you’, left over and electrifying in the difficult ‘Señor blues’ by the great Horace Silver, closer to Anita O’day than to Silver himself. As a vocalist, Motis does not seek to show off, on the contrary, he sings with naturalness and closeness, and therein lies her strength, that is the engine that drives her as a singer and with which she manages to disarm the listener and make them take their side. A singer who clings to the canons of the genre and opens spaces for the musicians of the band that usually accompany her live to express themselves: Joan Chamorro (double bass), Ignasi Terraza (piano), Esteve Pi (drums), Josep Traver (guitar ).
But “Emotional dance” leaves three unexpected versions: the look at Mediterranean jazz with ‘Matilda’, a composition by Perico Sambeat (who plays the sax on the recording), and the exciting rereading of ‘La gavina’, the song where it becomes more innovative. Special mention for the other song in Catalan, ‘Louisiana o el camps de cotó’, with which Motis assumes his age approaching the songbook of Els Amics de les Arts, one of the most prominent groups of current Catalan pop. A very beautiful song that in its version – closing the album – causes the genre fuses to blow and it does not matter to discern if this is jazz or high-flying pop because, simply, its interpretation is overwhelming and serves to confirm that you can sing what you want. feel like it. But not everything is covers, Andrea also dares to sign four of her own pieces, as if warning that yes, recreating well-known songs is very good but that she is willing to explore and wants to write her own compositions: the portentous’ I didn’t tell them why ‘,’ If you give them than you can ‘,’ Emotional dance ‘and the sensational instrumental’ Save the orangutan ‘. Creations with an aftertaste of timeless jazz.
You have to let yourself be entangled by the beauty of “Emotional dance”, a luminous work that transmits joy and the will to live and that confirms that Andrea Motis, contrary to the headlines that tend to the topic and present her as a “young promise”, is resoundingly present. Although, yes, the best thing is that the future is yours and is open.
Previous record critic: “The Joshua tree”, by U2 (reissue).