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Agusti Fernandez / Barry Guy / Ramon Lopez: Aurora

Andrey Henkin By

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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

Title: Aurora | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Maya

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