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Jordi Pujol & Fresh Sound Records

Phil DiPietro By

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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.

AAJ: Where are the dates usually done?

JP: The musicians choose the dates according to their schedules, in studios of their choice, that fit within the budget considerations covered in our deals.

AAJ: How long does the average jazz date take to complete, recording wise?

JP: A recording is usually made in two recording days. Then there's one day of mixing and one day of mastering.

AAJ: How long does it then take the date to get mixed mastered and manufactured?

JP: After the mixing and mastering it depends on the cover artwork. Normally it takes a certain time to do thecover. But as soon the art is ready, it takes about a month.

AAJ: Who is the best US reseller to get your cds from?

JP: Tower Records or J&R Music World.

AAJ: Are some of your recordings easier to get in the US, or other countries in the world, than others?

JP: Yes, but don't ask me why. All our records are usually distributed by the same company: Boulevard Distribution in Los Angeles. All of our CDs should be available.

AAJ: Please explain a bit about all your other labels. It's a daunting and amazing amount of music.

JP: Fresh Sound "World Jazz" is a brother label to "New Talent". Many of the artists are the same and the recordings are more open to a mix of jazz language and other musics. I can highly recommend Emilio Solla y afines Folcolores (FSWJ-001); Diego Urcola Libertango (FSWJ-005); Freddie Bryant Boogaloo Brasileiro (FSNT-008); Sdajazz Latin Ensemble Este tambin (FSWJ-011); Emilio Solla y la Orquestable Suite Piazzollana (FSWJ-018)...

"El bandonen" was born in 1988. I created this label with the intention of recovering the recordings of the great figures of the tango music. We have more than 150 CDs on that label. Another brother label of "El bandonen" is "Maestros del Tango" which appeared several years later with the same idea. Now everything is concentrated again in "el bandonen".

"Tumbao Cuban Classics" is, since 1989, the pioneer record label in the recovering and preserving on CD the most important recordings made by the genuine creators of the popular Cuban and Caribbean music of the 20th century. I traveled to Cuba several times in the early Nineties and Tumbao is the result of a decade of investigation, bringing forward a lot of information and much unpublished documentation, both in photography and the written word. We have more than 150 CDs available on that label, and I enjoyed very much producing this CD collection.

Other labels are "Alma Latina" dedicated mainly to the bolero, fado, ranchera, and mambo music sang by the great Latin singers from Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina etc. There are other interesting labels such as "Caney," "Ubatuqui," Blue Moon "Serie Lerica," etc.

AAJ: Please expand on the reissue aspect of your company.

JP: Fresh Sound is still reissuing many jazz CDs, but some include unreleased material too. Some are well- known names and others are more obscure artists. The label has always been using that policy. We have also reissued about 200 RCA recordings on CD.

AAJ: Tell us about your love of US West Coast jazz.

JP: West Coast Jazz was the main reason we started Fresh Sound Records at the beginning. I liked the concepts of the major arrangers very much. The music was fresh and elaborate at the same time. Every arranger had a very distinctive touch, including Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich, Bill Holman, and Henry Mancini. The soloists were all fantastic, like Frank Rosolino, Bob Cooper, Art Pepper, and Lou Levys and I really was fascinated about that sound and that aesthetic.

AAJ: What Spanish or European artists on your label would you say are more widely deserving of exposure?

JP: I can give you some names as Gorka Benitez, David Xirgu, the singer Carme Canela, Elisabet Raspall, Benet Palet, Lluis Vidal. There are also some great South American artists such as Emilio Solla, Pablo Ablanedo and Jose Reinoso.

AAJ: What do you see in the future for your label?

JP: I see very good musicians doing good and exciting music. I would like "New Talent" and "World Jazz" to become a reference label for new jazz lovers. That will mean that the music produced by the musicians is really strong and creative.

AAJ: Do you have a very specific 2 or 5 year plan?

JP: No I don't have any specific plan. I like to improvise. I feel much more free and a much open to other points of view. The catalog cannot be subject to a plan. Every day new things happen and new ideas are born, so I just wish to continue supporting all the people in the catalog and bringing new names to recognition.

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