It would be a fallacy to think that any musician who inhabits the world of free improvisation wishes that world to be a noisy chaotic place. Indeed, one cannot make any assumptions these days about free players, whether it be based on age, background or collaborators. Though Spain has not produced the avant-garde swarms of other places in Europe, it has a respected ambassador in pianist Agusti Fernández. But to call Fernández avant-garde is another fallacy. Call him flexible, call him exploratory or just call him one of the younger Europeans continuing the case for that continent's jazz credibility.
Aurora is an entry into Fernández's discography that at first may seem in contrast to his duos with Peter Kowald or Mats Gustafsson or his membership in the large ensembles of Evan Parker and Barry Guy. Aurora is defined as "a radiant emission and the album is just that; nine luminous bands of lights that appear across the sky. But an aurora is formed through bombardment of the atmosphere with charged solar particles and that energy and intensity is also present.
It is telling that for this stab at the traditional piano trio, Fernández brings along bassist Guy and percussionist Ramón López. Though Guy has had substantial forays into the world of bedlam, he got his start playing with another progressive pianist, Howard Riley. These days when not leading his New Orchestra, Guy is exploring the beauty of classical music and he brings those sonorities and one original piece, to this session. The rest of the tracks are written by Fernández and have their own complicated beauty. Few themes are conventionally pretty and the solos tend toward subtle musings rather than florid expositions. López's percussion adds a touch of the Mediterranean, taking the music out of the concert hall and putting it on a sea cliff. There is no better place to consider the heavens.
Track Listing: Can Ram; David M.; Aurora 1; Don Miquel; Rosalia; Please, let me sleep; Odyssey; Aurora 2; Umaneta.
Personnel: Augusti Fern
| Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: Maya
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.