July 29, 2021

Ten bets on all jazz

Wynton Marsalis. The math of swing

Foto: Frank Stewart

The Jazz & Más Heineken Festival of the Canary Islands is celebrating its birthday this summer: it will be 30 years that it will reach. And what better way to celebrate it than with a figurehead of the genre like Wynton Marsalis, who takes to the stages of the Pérez Galdós Theater in Gran Canaria (July 17) and the Tenerife Auditorium (18) with his Jazz at the Lincoln Center septet. , a formation of wide flights. We will listen to them (also at Las Noches del Botánico in Madrid, on the 13th) expressing swing with a mathematical sense that, far from transmitting coldness, seduces like well-meshed artifacts. Marsalis (New Orleans, 1961) is one of the jazz figures with the most media impact in recent decades and one of the most prestigious trumpeters in history. He won the Pulitzer of music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, apart from accumulating several Grammys. Commitment, precision and depth to revitalize the wide palette of orchestrated jazz styles. Safety pin.

Avishai Cohen. Two roses on a disk

Photo: Mark Rie

Another serving of orchestral jazz on the Canarian anniversary will be served by Avishai Cohen (1970). The Israeli double bass player, composer and singer surrounds himself with the Tenerife Symphony to perform his album Two Roses, which released this spring. So arrive warm. It will be held in two sessions, on July 1, breaking the ice of the jazz program in Gran Canaria and, the next day, at the ‘Calatravian’ Auditorium of Tenerife. Conceived as a celebration of music’s ability to cross borders, the album is the result of a long process that began in 2013. Cohen weaves a tapestry in which influences are intertwined, from Caribbean rhythms to a combination of traditions Hebrew musicals: Sephardic, Asquezani and Yemeni. An especially emotional wink for the Spanish public will be the song Morenika, with its Ladino reminiscences. The two roses in the title allude to another mestizo formula: that of imbricating the libertarian improvisation of jazz in the symphonic order.

Brad Mehldau. Eternal elegance

Foto: Michael Wilson

Brad Mehldau and his trio will also appear at Trinitate Plaza Keler on July 25. That is, he on piano plus Larry Grenadier on double bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. Power in abundance that does not spoil its proverbial elegance. That would be a possible reading of his always innovative jazz discourse. His is a parallel case to McLorin’s: solid classical training in childhood and adolescence and a leap to jazz with an exploratory and playful ambition, which began to emerge on the New York scene. It will be the seventh time that he stops in San Sebastián, where he made his debut back in 1993. Mehldau (Jacksonville, Florida, 1970), who is a composer apart from being a pianist, stands out for his ability to reconcile live improvisation with the formal architectures that ‘ they hold ‘the music. A virtuoso in navigating between those two waters that, likewise, will be seen before at the Jazz Festival on the Costa de Almuñécar, on the 24th.

Cécile McLorin. Dialectical game

The Jazzaldia de San Sebastián takes on a new international dimension. Among its headliners, Cécile McLorin Salvant (Miami, 1989) stands out, who after the good taste in her mouth that she left in 2018 returns to the San Sebastian stages twice: at Chillida Leku on July 18 and at Trinitate Plaza Keler on 21. The American singer comes with the pianist Sullivan Fortner with a definite goal: to give us a taste of her album The Window. In it, they explore the infinite expressive variants of the dialectical structure raised between the voice and the keys. Thus they dedicate themselves to playing with the melodies, the tempo, the harmonies, the phrasing … A playful exercise by this gifted student who, while still in the conservatory, won the famous Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in 2010. McLorin, yes, it was a girl who ‘fled’ from classical to jazz and has grown up delighting crowds. It will also be at Las Noches del Botánico (July 8).

Paquito D’Rivera. On behalf of Chick Corea

Photo: Genaoy Pavon

Deserved tribute to the recently deceased Chick Corea at Fijazz in Alicante. With him he will open his concert series on July 1 and 2. ADDA Simfónica, directed by its owner Josep Vicent, will be in charge of articulating the nod to the American pianist who, through figures such as Paco de Lucía, had a very close bond with our country. The stellar collaboration in these two evenings scheduled in the Levantine city is provided by Paquito D’Rivera (Havana, 1948). The Cuban clarinetist and saxophonist was presented in his day by Korea with a piece composed expressly for him, Paquito, which he will surely bring out in his performance. Apart from D’Rivera, a host of musicians will take the stage: the saxophonist Antonio Lizana, the trumpeter David Pastor and the Emilio Solla Trio. It will be exciting, with the loss so close.

Geraldo-Benavent-Pardo Trio. The Spanish heart beats

Photo: Dani Wallwork

Chick Corea is also in the memory and the heart of the trio formed by Carles Benavent (electric bass), Jorge Pardo (saxophones and flute) and Tino di Geraldo (drums). They will give an account of their love for Korea at various festivals (Jazzaldia on July 23, in San Javier on August 1 and Veranos de la Villa…). The formation will be timely reinforced by Niño Josele, something very fair and accurate since the guitarist was part of the Spanish Heart Band led by Korea. Likewise, the young pianist José de Josele and the percussion of Jonathan Cortés enter the fray. In the repertoire some great Korean classics such as “Ceremony Procession”, “Yellow Nimbus” and their own songs dedicated to the maestro.

Alana Sinkëy. The velvet fusion

San Javier surrenders, on the other hand, to the mestizo charms of this Portuguese singer and guitarist whose African origins lie in Guinea-Bissau. His current residence, in any case, is Madrid, a city in which he began to learn. A geographical and emotional journey of his that peppers his way of approaching soul, a style that he embroiders at the forefront of bands like Patax and Cosmosoul. She also excels in her excursions through folk, accompanied by guitar strings. In the Murcian town, he already left a mark of his talent in 2017, where he sang with Patax, a group that combines jazz with flamenco, as well as funk with suggestive Afro-Cuban rhythm. So in San Javier they have recruited her again to put on her stylistic melting pot with a velvety voice. An uncomplexed fusion that has drunk from Chick Corea (present, always), Frank Zappa, Wayne Shorter … And so on.

Thumbscrew. Touching makes way

The Massachusetts guitarist Mary Halvorson (1980) disembarks at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival wearing 20 years of suggestive career. A time in which he has become one of the most enthralling exponents of contemporary jazz. Seasoned on the scene underground New Yorker and habitual accomplice of icons such as John Zorn or Marc Ribot, she will be flanked in Spain by the double bass of Michael Formanek and the drummer Tomas Fujiwara. In other words, the entire Thumbscrew formation. Radical, restless, strange … These are some of the epithets that critics have stamped on her. Although she advances without paying much attention to jazz entomologists. His thing is to subvert stereotypes and make the way when playing, friendlier to creative processes than to ‘products’ wrapped with a bow. At the Iradier Arena on July 15.

Kenny Barron. Expanded imagination

Photo: Philippe Levy

It has rained a lot since this pianist from Philadelphia, a distinguished post bop representative, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1963. But he continues to bring life to the keys as if there were no tomorrow. This summer, Kenny Barron (1943) enters our geography accompanied by the All Star Quartet, a name that is a declaration of intentions. The best of each house, come on. Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Peter Washington (bass) and Jonathan Blake (drums) will be his companions on trips at the Jazz Festival on the Costa de Almuñécar (July 21) and at the Jazzaldia in San Sebastián (23). Great opportunity to once again enjoy his impeccable and refined technique, as well as his expansive imagination, which he plays so much live. Resonances of Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum and McCoy Turner will float in the environment.

Chano Domínguez. Goes for Snowball

To be born in Cádiz is to be born looking at Cuba. This is what happened to Chano Domínguez (1960) who, with that transoceanic perspective, ended up worshiping the great pianist Bola de Nieve, a benchmark in the burning musical biodiversity of the Caribbean island. Together with his friend Martirio, with whom he had recorded Early morning verses Y Coupled, paid tribute to him on an album at the end of 2019. With the damn pandemic they could not show it off live as much as they would have liked. The thorn is removed this summer, with concerts like the one scheduled on July 3 at Getxo Jazz. Ingredients? Fatigue of love, self-parody comedy and back and forth sounds. Because the charismatic Cuban musician, homosexual although close to the Castro regime, had the inverse love of Domínguez and Martirio: to be born in Havana is to be born looking at Cádiz. Game of mirrors evidenced in Bola’s taste for Spanish romance, such as that of The Count of Olmedo.

@ alberojeda77