276

Josep Soto: Groc

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Josep Soto is a Barcelona-based composer and guitarist of immense promise. Groc comes not long after Parabolico (PICAP, 2001), which featured reedman Paquito D'Rivera and won European acclaim, getting nominated for a Latin Grammy when it hit the ground in the US two years later.

Groc is an unusual record. It is Josep Soto's not-so-secret and masterful way of acknowledging the collision of Spanish music with the music of cultures that Spain, Portugal and other Latin countries set out to influence when they colonized the New World. Uniquely, the Spanish music that Soto has experienced grew and cross-pollinated with Argentinean, Brazilian, Cuban and Latin American cultures that had, in turn been burnished with the vitality of African rhythms.

Soto has created a record that cuts a wide swathe around the world of Latin music, with a focal point in Spain, where his own musical experience appears to have grown from. With this as the concept of the record, the guitarist has clothed the music with the swing of delight. This is the swing of jazz. And it is this idiom that Soto has mastered as well. The music on the record describes the roadmap from Spain to Latin America and the Afro-Cuban landscape, indelibly etched in jazz today.

This session bustles with sound that is both unique and exciting. From the very first track, "Flamen-Q," which is a fusion of the Spanish, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-American idioms to Cuban and other Latin rumbas as well as the Argentinean tangos, Groc traverses a world map. "Cherubitango" is a masterful deconstruction of the tango, recast with a slightly expanded soundscape that includes additional strings to enhance the quartet sound. The title track is a rumba with exquisite soloing from Xavier Figuerola on clarinet and electric guitarist Guillermo Carrizo.

The music appears to have been written around Josep Soto's trio—the very funky bassist Cristian Gruner and percussionist extraordinaire Cidon Trindade. Gruner does a star turn on "Flamen-Q" and "Groc," and Trindade often sounds like three drummers. The trio music is, on several tracks, expanded for up to 13 musicians, and achieves a true big band sound. Soto's arrangements are wonderfully interpreted by the string section as well as by Figuerola Berta Gassull's oboe. But the real star is, of course, Soto, who brings the fluidity of Baden Powell and the technique and virtuosity of guitar masters from Andalusia and Cordoba to Brasil and Cuba. "Alma," "Tu Vals," a swaying waltz, and "Un Ou" are fine examples of Josep Soto's wonderful technique and virtuosity.

It would be interesting indeed to see what new ground Soto will cover, now that he has established credentials as a composer, virtuoso guitarist and master of the polyrhythmic idioms of Afro, Latin and jazz. Here is a guitarist who has made waves not unlike those made by Charlie Hunter, when he brought his fluid lines to the sound of the instrument.

Track Listing: Flamenc-Q; Cherubitango; Groc; Una Cancao; Alma; Tu Vals; Aiguafort; Un Ou; Rei Vindica; Romance.

Personnel: Josep Soto: guitars; Cristian Gruner: electric bass (1, 3

Title: Groc | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Temps Records Spain


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Soul Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Glitter" CD/LP/Track Review Glitter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Exosphere" CD/LP/Track Review Exosphere
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.