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Guitarist and composer Marcos Pin's seventh album, Barbanza, can readily be considered an Iberian project. The musicians are all from Spain, Pin's compositions and arrangements reflect the feelings evoked by his current homeland on the country's Barbanza Peninsula and the album was recorded in Portugal (although it was mixed and mastered in the USA). The ensemble, a ten-piece known as Factor-E Reset, has a sound that invites comparisons with the work of jazz legends with their own Iberian connectionsbut not in the obvious way.
Pin has recorded some of these tunes with different lineupsfor example, "Where Are They?" and "Escarabote's Blues" both appear on his trio album Directions (Free Code Jazz Records, 2007). Barbanza features Pin's new arrangements which give the band a rich, smooth, sound that makes full use of every instrument. Pin's use of the saxophone section is particularly fineJohn Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," the only non-original tune, features all three saxophonists in top quality ensemble and solo performances.
There are plenty of impressive individual performances. Ton Risco's warm vibes on "Bagueera's Dilemma," Javier Pereiro's trumpet on "Where Are They?" and Pin's own fluid lines on "San Finx" are just a few of the standouts. "Escarabote's Blues" is the album's most idiosyncratic number; more fragmented and free-form in structure than the rest of the tunes, it features a punchy solo from trumpeter Javier Pereiro and some creative playing from Risco and drummer Max Gómez.
The jazz legends with Iberian connections? Trumpeter Miles Davis and composer/arranger Gil Evans are the men in question. However, it's not the sound of Sketches Of Spain (Columbia, 1960) that drives Barbanza, but the earlier Birth Of The Cool (Capitol, 1957). Pin's arrangements mix big band swing and bop influences with great success, resulting in an album which harks back to the middle of the twentieth century while sounding exciting, fresh and cool in the twenty-first.
Track Listing: Bagueera's Dilemma; Moment's Notice; Bico De Mar; San Finx; Where Are They?; Noite De
Sereas; Escarabote's Blues.
Personnel: Marcos Pin: guitar; Javier Pereiro “GD Jazz”: trumpet, flugelhorn; José Luis Miranda: trombone,
euphonium; Pablo Castanho: alto saxophone, flute; Xosé Lois Miguelez: tenor saxophone;
Toño Otero: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Ton Risco: vibes; Manolo Gutiérrez: piano;
Juansy Santomé: double bass; Max Gómez: drums.