Jordi Pujol & Fresh Sound Records
In 1992 I started recording some young Barcelona groups. We exported these CDs to Japan, USA and several countries in Europe too. Then in 1993, when Brad Mehldau was playing in Barcelona, we recorded the trio with the Rossy brothers, Jorge (drums) and Mario (bass). This live recording from Barcelona was the first in Brad's career, and the first to become well known in the New Talent series. In 1995 I was in New York, and I went to a new club called "Smalls". I very much enjoyed the music the groups played there.
There I heard for the first time Myron Walden, Omer Avital, etc. Again, the idea that I originally had, that is, to record young musicians from New York, came to the forefront. At that time, Jorge Rossy, a very sensitive drummer and a good friend too, came to the office one day, and it was then that I explained my plan. He was very excited too, telling me he knew some good musicians in New York that were anxious to record. He introduced me to Ben Waltzer, Bill McHenry, Chris Cheek, Reid Anderson, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner. All of them turned out to be outstanding musicians with a lot of energy and ideas. Things started slowly and grew from there. These musicians also came very often to play in Barcelona, which resulted in my introduction to others. I enjoyed continuing to record with the same musicians, but from then on many other very good musicians joined the catalog, so many that I don't want to mention here, only because it's such a long list.
AAJ: In the jazz idiom, what records that you have released would you point the buyers to?
JP: Mehldau & Rossy Trio When I Fall in Love (FSNT-007); Carme Canela Introducing (FSNT-014); Kurt Rosenwinkel East Coast Love Affair (FSNT-016); Chris Cheek A Girl named Joe (FSNT-032); Bill McHenry Rest Stop (FSNT-033); Nat Su The Jway (FSNT-038); Ethan Iverson Deconstruction Zone (FSNT-047); Michael Kanan Convergence (FSNT- 055); The New Jazz Composers Octet First Steps Into reality (FSNT-059); Amos Hoffman The Dreamer (FSNT- 060); Reid Anderson Abolish Bad Architecture, (FSNT-062); Seamus Blake Stranger Things Have Happened (FSNT-063); Ethan Iverson Minor Passions (FSNT-064); Renzi/Weinstein/Kamaguchi Line and Ballads (FSNT-065); OAM Trio Trilingual (FSNT-070); Ben Waltzer In Metropolitan Motion (FSNT-082); Gorka Benitez Trio (FSNT-073); David Xirgu Quartet Indolents (FSNT-077); Chris Cheek Vine (FSNT-086); Seamus Blake-Marc Miralta SunSol (FSNT-087); Phil Grenadier Sweet Transients FSNT-093); Reid Anderson The Vastness of Space (FSNT-096); Andrew Rathbun True Stories (FSNT-099); Marcus Strickland Quartet At Last FSNT-101); George Colligan Como la vida puededser (FSNT-102); The Omer Avital Group Think with Your Heart (FSNT-104); Agnar Magnusson 01 (FSNT-106); The Bad Plus (FSNT-107); Vardan Ovsepian Abandoned Wheel (FSNT-108); Pablo Ablanedo From Down There (FSNT-109); David Weiss Breathing Room (FSNT-110); Alexis Cuadrado Metro (FSNT-111); Sebasti?n Weiss Momentum (FSNT-114); Marlon Browden Trio (FSNT-115); Daniel Freedman Trio (FSNT-116); Albert Bover Esmuc Blues (FSNT-117); Rebecca Martin Middlehope (FSNT-1118); and Miguel Zenon Looking Forward (FSNT-119).
AAJ: Can you expand a bit more on how your incredible roster of jazz artists came to be on the Fresh Sounds label? How do you find the "fresh, new talent"? Who are your "talent scouts"?
JP: Basically, I already told you how the first musicians started. In New York, David Weiss is a good friend and we work very well together. Everytime he hears a new artist he's exicited about like Jeremy Pelt or Marcus Strickland, he letsme know. Other musicians knew "Fresh Sound" through their friends who had already released albums with us and who highly recommended that they contact me-and from then on, many of them did. They sent recordings of their own projects and ideas on CDR. If I liked the proposal, then we'd talk and do a deal. From that point on, I give them as much complete freedom in doing the recordings as they want. I like to have their projects exactly howthey have them in mind. This is a very important aspect of my philosophy,that there are no conditions from my part. I think that is what really excites and impassions me in producing this catalog. The day I receive the final master, I feel very satisfied. And if you've heard the music of this catalog, I know you'll find that it is really sincere and made without commercial expectations or criteria.
AAJ: I could not agree more. So how do you usually structure a deal with a new artist? How does it differ from a deal you may strike with a returning artist?
JP: It depends on who it is. Also, a first record is not the same as a second. They know that, so I try to keep the relationship very clear and straightforward. A second CD is always different. Almost all of our artists have made a second CD and the conditions are better for them on that follow-up release. We know each other much better and there is more confidence between us.