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Kuai Music: Moving Jazz Forward Collectively

Kuai Music: Moving Jazz Forward Collectively
Jakob Baekgaard By

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Personally, I think working collectively is the only way to survive as musicians in today´s information-overdosed world. For us, the effort is paying off. —Juan Bayon
The history of jazz is often told as an evolution propelled by great individuals whose singular sounds have helped to shape the aesthetic of the music. This is understandable since artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Miles Davis really DID influence the development of jazz and this is confirmed every time an upcoming musician is asked about his or her inspiration and mentions a musician from the canon of jazz.

Another advantage of telling jazz history through great individuals is that it is a convenient way of structuring an enormous amount of musical information and, finally, the story of the original individual fits the romantic conception of art that has dominated the discourse of music for a long time.

However, while history writing may be suited for emphasis on the contributions of the individual, the future of jazz lies in the hands of the collective. At least that is the opinion of the group of young Argentinian jazz musicians behind the label Kuai Music in Buenos Aires. So far, they include bassists Juan Manuel Bayon, Carlos Quebrada, Leonel Cajes, Maximiliano Kirszner and Mauricio Dawid, pianists Bruno Delucchi, Tomas Fares, Santiago Leibson and Paula Shocron, guitarists Matias Suarez, Francisco Slepoy, Damien Poots, Juan Pablo Hernandez and Ramiro Franceschin, saxophonists Juani Méndez and Miguel Crozzoli, drummers Fran Cossavella and Pablo Díaz and singer Jazmín Prodan. These musicians play on each other's records and have the willingness to work collectively. The result is an awe-inspiring body of work that is stylistically diverse, but still has the unique mark of quality that characterizes a great label.

AAJ: Who formed the label and was there any particular reason why it happened?

Mauricio Dawid: Kuai Music was founded by Damien Poots, Fran Cossavella and I in 2013. By the end of 2012, the three of us were about to finish our debut albums as bandleaders and were not so sure about what to do with them (in terms of edition/ distribution). We felt that the existing jazz labels were focused on other musical styles, so after a lot of discussion we decided that we needed our own platform to show our music. Besides, other friends were also recording their debut albums by that time, so we felt that it was a great opportunity to develop a website where people could listen to our music and know about us. Juan (Bayon) joined a couple of months later.



AAJ: What is the story behind the name? What does it mean?

Damien Poots: Kuai is hexagram number 43 in the ancient Chinese book I-Ching (or book of changes). Each of us was interested in the book at the time of choosing the name so it was natural to look for inspiration there. We ended up with Kuai, that means Break-through (Resoluteness). Among other important meanings it advised that "It does not further to resort to arms. It furthers one to undertake something." This was exactly our intention. To create a platform that would be helpful for our projects and for other artists of the Argentine jazz scene that we felt was much needed.

AAJ: Who are involved with the label and how do you run it?

Juan Bayon: At this point, Kuai is mainly run by four people, but with Fran relocating to Paris in late 2013 most executive decisions are taken by Damien, Mauricio and me. It works as a co-op, and every artist that joins the Kuai rooster is expected to understand that this is as much a responsibility as it is an advantage. We are not running a business in the traditional sense. Kuai is a label coordinated by artists with no interest in becoming full-time producers per se. We simply work together to generate higher visibility to each other´s releases. We are talking about a lot of people who would have been forced to take the self-release path anyway, so if you are going to invest all that money, time and effort in putting your own music out, you might as well get together with peers and friends who are in the same situation as you are. We are looking for strength in numbers here; I help other people´s releases be heard and in turn they help me back with my music. It´s a win-win situation. I believe that Kuai´s objective in the long-run should be to consolidate a catalog where people can expect a certain quality, a certain degree of musical risk-taking, beauty and depth...an enviroment where one artist´s record takes the listener to other people´s music he or she might not have been aware of. Other than that, we promote and help sell each other's records through the website and at shows, book concerts and produce video content for YouTube. Lately, we´ve been able to pay a publicist to handle press duties for us. It is a self-financed project at this point.



AAJ: What does it take to become a member of the Kuai collective? What is the process?

Juan Bayon: Kuai is a consequence of the electrifying level of jazz-related activity in the city (Buenos Aires) prior to the label´s appearance. We just started trying to document some of that, giving it some sort of frame for a lot of that music to be heard by more people, so basically we focus our efforts on musicians from or currently working in Buenos Aires whose music we admire enough to support through the label, people we want to work with, and probably people we have played with on the bandstand. But of course musicians send us their material and we listen to it and have long, boring discussions on why should we put out something or not. Sometimes it´s obvious and sometimes there is a lot of talking before we reach a conclusion.

AAJ: How many Argentinian jazz labels are there? Anyone else than Kuai and Rivorecords?

Damien Poots : There are a number of labels going on in Argentina besides Kuai. BAU Records was once an important force in Argentinean jazz but seems to have really slowed down in the last five years. In the early ´00s it reigned supreme and released some of the most important local jazz records of those years, which made a huge impact on a lot of young musicians coming up at the time, including us. Many of those records are still in print and available, and tell a lot about the "change of guard" that took place in Buenos Aires jazz at the turn of the century. There are some very interesting labels such as BlueArt, which has been going for a long while now, and the more recent Sofa Records, each of them being quite different in their artistic approach. Lately the guys at the I.C.M. collective in the city of Mar del Plata, who have been running an amazing full-scale international jazz festival for about five years now, started their own record label documenting what´s happening in the city jazz-wise. It´s a musician-run operation pretty much like what we are, so they stand really close to the Kuai ideals. Rivorecords is not releasing any more records although their beautiful catalog is still available and in print.

AAJ: What kind of labels do you admire yourself? Do you identify with a certain sound or tradition in jazz?

Juan Bayon: We didn´t start up Kuai because we wanted to put out records in general. We were looking for a way to work with other people that would take us further than we would go on our own. Because of that, we are not really following any other labels´ footsteps. We are just artists learning the hard way what it means to cooperate towards common goals in a scale larger than the one we are used to, or that we can reach by working alone.

AAJ: Could you elaborate on the motto of your label: "music moving forward"?

Mauricio Dawid: As jazz musicians, we are always trying to find new ways of expression. We always want to go further. We believe that Kuai Music artists have a huge respect for tradition, but are also constantly looking for their own musical languages. These people are so committed that you just can`t stop them from being creative, and this is reflected in their work. Our productions are always moving forward.

AAJ: Is there a particular studio and engineer you work with?

Juan Bayon: Our first six or seven releases were recorded and mixed by Luís Bacqué, who later moved to New York and is now working there. After that Florencio Justo more or less took the mantle and has been doing tons of jazz recording sessions here. But it´s really each artist´s decision, and of course the studio choice too. Obviously if you like an engineer´s work, you are going to recommend him or her to death and both Luís and Florencio do their work just fine because they get tons of recommendations!



AAJ: How would you define the aesthetics of the label? Is there a particular sound or approach that you share?

Juan Bayon: There is a certain amount of attention payed to composition, I think. It´s not something we speak a lot about, but I feel all the Kuai artists share an interest in writing your own song. It´s a composer/improviser´s label, for sure. Other than that, there are some musical obsessions that run through the catalog, as I´m sure you´ve noticed.

AAJ: It seems to me that one of the characteristics of Kuai is a movement from individual to collective improvisation, with an increasing emphasis on the complexity of the compositions themselves. Is this a description that you can recognize or how would you describe it?

Juan Bayon: Yes, you are talking about some of those obsessions. Long-form composition, odd meters and free improvisation are elements that seem to appear a lot in the catalog. Some Kuai artists tend to veer more towards one element or another; there is a certain level of variety if you jump from record to record, but that is something we strive for: if you stumble upon Kuai´s web site because you were looking specifically for saxophonist Juani Méndez´s record, or pianist Tomás Fares´ record, which display more of a "mainstream jazz" sensibility, I want you to also be challenged by Miguel Crozzoli ´s beautiful graphic scores in I Serie Gráfica, or Fran Cossavella´s odd-meter workouts in El Límite de la Conciencia, or Carlos Quebrada´s long, multi-section compositional approach in Estrangulado el Mundo. And the same the other way around... Kuai is a reflection of part of the Buenos Aires scene and as such we don´t expect nor want it to be a one-trick pony.



AAJ: You mention the Buenos Aires jazz scene. Could you tell about it?

Juan Bayon: Buenos Aires has a long jazz tradition going back to the beginning of the 20th century but there´s been an astounding growth and maturation in recent years.

Mauricio Dawid: We believe that the jazz scene has been experiencing a huge development during the last 15 years. New jazz clubs appear every year, and this means not only an increase of live performances, but also more diverse music. In terms of musical education, the creation of the Jazz Program at the Manuel de Falla Conservatory, directed by Argentinean pianist Ernesto Jodos, meant a step forward: many of the young jazz musicians who are nowadays on stage graduated from it...

Juan Bayon: It´s been key to the process. The Manuel de Falla Conservatory´s jazz degree is probably the finest jazz education you can get in South America right now and it is completely free. State-funded college-level education is in most cases the most prestigious level of education you can get in Argentina, something we feel really proud about. There is a certain energy that derives from the fact that there are lots of musicians in the city, and in youth coming from other cities and other countries to study here which feeds the local jazz scene constantly with fresh talent and new ideas.

AAJ: So where is it possible to hear this talent live? Where do you go to listen to jazz in Buenos Aires?

Damien Poots: Fortunately, over the last years we have been able to see the growth of the interest in local jazz reflected in the opening of new jazz venues in Buenos Aires. First of all, we could mention Thelonious Club and Virasoro Bar, two of the most important and longest-running jazz clubs which have played a key role in the development of the local scene. Among other venues that host jazz and creative music concerts we could mention Blackman, Roseti, Notorious, Bebop, Boris, Sr. Duncan, Villa Ocampo, Casa de la Cultura del F.N.A., Casa Jungla...I ´m probably forgetting some right now. The Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival, which has been taking place in November every year, is also a great opportunity to see a variety of local musicians.



AAJ: You are documenting the Buenos Aires jazz scene on Kuai Music. Are there any particular albums that have been significant in terms of the label's development?

Mauricio Dawid: Our catalog is full of jewels, and each album has its own story to tell. Although Kuai Music`s identity might have been defined by the first releases...whenever I listen to them, they always turn me back to the time when we were developing the project.

Juan Bayon: I think the first four releases: Fran ´s El Límite de la Conciencia (Kuai Music, 2013), Mauricio´s Sonora (Kuai Music, 2013), Damien´s Se Muta (Kuai Music, 2013) and pianist Santiago Leibson ´s Amon (Kuai Music, 2014) kickstarted something. Fran´s ideas always helped define our aesthetic a little bit and of course he´s the drummer in three of those records. And his debut album is Kuai001 so you get the idea... Also pianist Paula Shocron ´s Surya (Kuai Music, 2014): although she´s just in her mid-thirties she´s got way more experience than the four of us combined together so the fact that she chose Kuai for her tenth release as a leader was a nice boost in visibility and self-confidence in the project for us. I produced a couple of videos of the Surya recording session for Kuai, and that was the first time we created video content specifically for the label, something that became increasingly important for us from then on as we started booking gigs ("Kuai Sessions") and documenting them.

AAJ: How has the reception of Kuai Music been so far from the audience and press?

Juan Bayon: There was a very, very positive reaction to the label since the beginning from both, which made it extremely clear for us that there was a lot of room for a project like this to happen, yet no one was occupying it. As I said before, one of our primary objectives is to raise the level of visibility in each artist's records by organizing ourselves with like-minded people, and that has paid off in spades as we have gotten attention by media that would have ignored most of us if we were we working separately. Also, the whole Kuai ethic towards work and organization among musicians seems to draw a lot of attention on us. The whole project seems more attractive to music journalists than your average jazz-musician-self-releasing-yet-another-album situation, so all the more power to the music getting heard. Also, we were treated with a special Kuai presentation at last year´s edition of the Buenos Aires International Jazz Fest, and Kuai was chosen Jazz Label of the Year 2014 in webzine El Intruso´s yearly poll among Argentinean jazz journalists, which was a nice pat on the back.



AAJ: How does the label work in terms of sales and distribution?

Mauricio Dawid: Our complete catalog is sold through our website in digital editions. As we are experiencing serious changes in the way people connect with music and musicians, we usually let the artist choose if he wants to release his album physically or not. Still, 90% of our catalog is available on CD. Our complete catalog will be also available on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play and Amazon by the end of June 2015. We found out that CDs are mostly sold during concerts, while digital sales are rarely related to live performances.

AAJ: What is your take on the new technology? Do you see it as an opportunity or a hindrance? Could you imagine Kuai being a label that only released downloads or is it important to you that there is a physical product as well?

Damien Poots: Technology has always influenced music and its dynamics deeply. The context of music production is rapidly changing due to the immense advancements in communication and the increased access to technology and we are collectively still in the process of adapting, understanding and experimenting how this works. Many new possibilities arise as others disappear. Kuai is mainly focused to release albums for download, nevertheless the physical edition has not lost its importance and is still many times necessary. Its production remains the artist's choice.

AAJ: What is your approach to packaging and design?

Damien Poots: The design is still in the hands of the artists, so the approaches vary among different productions.

Juan Bayon: And we take pride in the fact there is no uniformity running through the covers of the albums.



AAJ: Could you say something about your release schedule and some of your up-coming projects?

Damien Poots: This year we have had many interesting releases so far. The latest has been by guitarist Juan Pablo Hernandez La Habitacion Guardada (Kuai Music, 2015), singer Jazmin Prodan´s El sueño de los sauces (Kuai Music, 2015) , double-bassist Leonel Cejas´ De dia (Kuai Music, 2015) and tenor saxophonist Miguel Crozzoli´s Ciclos de estrellas (Kuai Music, 2015). In June, we will be celebrating the new releases with a series of concerts at Thelonious Club in Buenos Aires. And at least seven more albums are scheduled for release this year and there is also the organization of more concert sessions and our very first Kuai Fest.

AAJ: What are your dreams for the future? What do you hope to achieve with the label?

Juan Bayon: I hope we can inspire other artists in different places or even in our city to work together with their friends and peers. You can go so much further by working with like-minded people if you can put aside the little differences and focus on what you have in common. Personally, I think working collectively is the only way to survive as musicians in today´s information-overdosed world. For us, the effort is paying off.

Mauricio Dawid
Sonora
2013

The first release in the Kuai story is bassist Mauricio Dawid's album Sonora and what a beginning. "Espejos de Sonora" is a contemplative composition with deep blue, spacious piano chords from pianist Tomy Fares and passionate playing from alto saxophonist Misael Parola and trumpeter Federico Lazzarini. The same mood continuous on "Ladrón de Patos" where Fran Cossavella's propulsive drums balances the gentle lyricism of the tune.

Guitarist Patricio Carpossi adds a little spice on "Enero" where he builds a wall of sound with his guitar and plays a fiery solo. Dawid himself is a little more understated and his organic bass grooves keep it all together.

Throughout the album, Dawid underlines his talent as a composer, but he also pays homage to Ornette Coleman on a funky interpretation of "Peace." Sonora is the sophisticated sound of a city dweller in Buenos Aires.

Fran Cossavella
El Limite de la Conciencia
2013

How often do you find advice about martial arts on a jazz record? Not very often, but the sampled voice of Bruce Lee graces the album El Limite de la Conciencia by drummer Fran Cossavella, a key figure on the Kuai label. The use of samples reveals a postmodern approach. Influences are not limited to a strict jazz tradition, but come from other musical genres and sources. For instance, there is use of a drum 'n' bass rhythm on "Arquitectura" and the advanced melancholy harmonies on a track like "SMC 1" owes as much to the British rock group Radiohead as it does to Thelonious Monk.

There is no doubt that this is jazz with its complex rhythmical patterns and improvisational unpredictability, but the music also insists on a narrative aesthetic and breaks generic expectations in an original way. Thus, the contemplation of the ballad "Balada," with pianist Santiago Leibson's dwelling chords on the keyboard, is broken by a free up-tempo drum 'n' bass rhythm from Cossavella.

There is no limits to the imagination on El Limite de la Conciencia. The album shows a group of musicians on a mission. They create a new sound in jazz that is contemporary and fresh.

Santiago Leibson
Pendular
2014

Pianist Santiago Leibson is an important part of the group that plays on El Limite de la Conciencia, but he is also a leader in his own right and has released two albums with his trio on Kuai Music. Pendular is recorded live at Café Vinilo in Buenos Aires and shows Leibson and his trio with bassist Maximiliano Kirszner and drummer Nicolás Politzer in excellent form.

The album cover is an abstract drawing by Politzer filled with color and movement. Detailed lines with pencil-like precision mix with forceful brushes of color. The cover becomes a metaphor for the music that explores a wealth of tonal colors and tempi. Leibson is familiar with the linage of Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor, but he can also play with deep unabashed lyrical romanticism in the spirit of Bill Evans on a composition like "Aparte."

Like Evans' famous trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, Leibson is lucky to have a trio that becomes an organic unity and not a mere accompaniment to a solo voice. Together they explore time and space and paint with their own musical colors echoing the masters of the past.

Bruno Delucchi
Evidentemente La Nube
2014

Another pianist that works with musical colors is Bruno Delucchi, but the colors he has on his palette on Evidentemente La Nube are more light and bright. "Intro Color" starts with arpeggios before melting with washes of synthesizers, a sampled voice and beautiful splashes of chords on the piano. The composition evolves into "Color Rojo" with bassist Diego Goldszein and drummer Tomás Babjacsuk providing an elastic groove while trumpeter Sergio Wagner and saxophonist Cristian Terán add a brassy punch.

Wagner is in a mournful mood on "Retrato en Movimiento" where he sings gently through his horn along with Terán and flautist Juan Sak. However, the tempo changes on "Mas aire" that shifts between a well-oiled hard-bop machine with unison lines and relaxed swing.

Throughout the album, Delucchi never loses sight of the melody between the sophisticated breaks. A composition like "Preludio para adolescentes" is both heartbreakingly elegiac and full of fast-paced optimism, just like the contradictory and intense emotions of life. Delucchi is a pianist that plays on all emotional strings.

Juan Bayon
Control
2014

Bassist Juan Bayon is involved in some of the most intriguing releases on the Kuai label: pianist Paula Shocron's Surya (Kuai Music, 2014) and guitarist Juan Pablo Hernández' La habitación guardada (Kuai Music, 2015). Bayon steps out as a leader on the album Control that features no less than four saxophonists.

It all begins with the sound of breathing on "Percepción de la continuidad." The breathing of horns that break through the silence. Slowly the drums enter along with the buzzing sound of the bass played with bow and the horns break into a fanfare, announcing the birth of music. "Ruptures" continues with an advanced acoustic groove on the bass and the joyful clash of horns honking in a traffic jam and riding smooth together. It is a sound reminiscent of the funky side of saxophonist Ken Vandermark's group Vandermark 5.

Drummer Fran Cossavella has a significant role on the album and contributes with his own composition "El Límite de la Conciencia." He also gets a solo spot on "Interludio (a Paris)" where he creates a characteristic rhythm with the cymbals and snare drum.

Bayon himself is in the middle of it all and navigates safely in the complex musical landscape of multiple horn voices. There is a cool elegance about the music. It has the nuanced texture of a big band, but the intensity and intimacy of a small group.

Leonel Cejas
De Día
2015

Juan Bayon's Control is an album with focus on the sound of the horns. Leonel Cejas is another bassist who decides to put the spotlight away from himself. His album De Día is driven by the crisp and warm texture of two guitars. The two guitarists in question are Damien Poots and Rodrigulo Agudelo and it is simply a joy to follow their intricate interplay as their lines weave in and out of each other. Sometimes, it is a double attack with electric guitars and other times there is delicate balance between Rodrigulo Agudelo on acoustic guitar and the electric strings of Poots.

While De Día is an album that thrives on the sound of the guitar, there is also a solid rhythm that keeps it all going and Cejas' insistent groove on "El día del arquero" quickly sets things in motion with the help of drummer Sebastián Stecher.

There is a wide range of moods and rhythms to be found on the album, from the rock-influenced opener "Nene" to the slow ballad "Reflexiva" with bowed bass in the end. There is also some extra spice from saxophonist Rodrigo Domínguez whose soft blowing graces "Los diablos que quedan" and the epic "Indigno de esperanza." The former, penned by Rodrigulo Audelo, is the only track that is not written by Cejas. Cejas shines as a composer and player on De Día, an album filled with memorable music.

Damien Poots
Se Muta
2013

Guitarist Damien Poots is a noteable sideman on Leonel Cejas' De Día and drummer Pablo Díaz' Mouna (Kuai Music, 2014), but he is also a leader with his own album on Kuai Music. On Se Muta he is joined by a stellar team of musicians, including saxophonist Juani Mendez, trumpeter Sergio Wagner and guest Tomas Flares who contributes some funky, electric piano on the track "Once." The trio of Wagner, Mendez and Flares can also be found working together on Flares' album Refugio (Kuai Music, 2014) whose sophisticated acoustic post-bop is highly recommendable, as is Mendez own spirited date as a leader: Diez Construcciones Fáciles (Kuai Music, 2014).

Se Muta is an album where Poots acknowledges the great tradition of jazz and transforms it with his own modern touch. The title track has vague harmonic echoes of "My Funny Valentine," but it is not an attempt to replicate the standard. Instead, it has a complex narrative structure where there is also room for a solo from trumpeter Sergio Wagner.

Bassist Dawid delivers one of his signature grooves on "La Buena" while Poots adds some dynamic chord combinations before he breaks out into a swinging solo with a nice touch of Wes Montgomery.

On "Bahia" the warm brass tones of Wagner and Mendez melt together with Poots' subtle guitar twang in the background while Dawid plays with bow on the bass.

The keywords are unpredictability and imagination. Whether he is playing a ballad, a distorted guitar solo, funky riffs or creamy chords, Poots approaches his instrument with dedication. He is capable of moving in many different directions while still keeping a natural tunefulness at the heart of his compositions.

Miguel Crozzoli
Ciclos de Estrellas
2015

The amount of talented guitarists on Kuai Music is simply awe-inspiring. Names like Ramiro Franceschin, Juan Pablo Hernández and Matias Suarez all have releases on Kuai Music that are worth checking out. Francisco Sleepoy is yet another noteworthy guitarist with his own album as a leader, but he also shows up as a sideman on saxophonist Miguel Crozzoli's album Ciclos de Estrellas that also features the drummer Pablo Díaz who has two albums out on Kuai Music: Mouna (Kuai Music, 2014) and Cuarteto (Kuai Music, 2014)

Díaz begins the album with a rhythm played with the sticks hitting the edge of the drum while bassist Mauricio Dawid slowly enters with deep bass motifs. The tribal rhythm is enhanced by rustling percussion before a groove is established and Miguel Crozzoli and Francisco Sleepoy join them. Crozzoli's tone is at once soft and rough. He has the same ability as the great Fred Anderson to combine the mainstream tradition with the avant-garde. He is not afraid to honk passionately, but also spins delicate velvet lines.

Sleepoy is also capable of playing abstract and melodic and he follows the other musicians through a landscape of open compositions with names such as "R," "B," "P" and "cZ." Indeed, these four musicians succeed in creating their own musical language, combining the sounds of the past with something fresh and new. It is avant-garde, but the accessible kind that is not afraid of regular rhythm or melody.

Carlos Quebrada
Sales de Baño—Estrangulando el mundo
2014

Bassist Carlos Quebrada is another adventurous musician on Kuai Music who is not afraid to challenge tradition or convention. The cover of his album Sales de Baño—Estrangulando el Mundo is a surreal collage of pictures, including a man with laser beams in his eyes. The music is just as eclectic and spacy and could best be described as exotic cinematic fusion with a twist.

The swirling flute of Camilo Ángeles opens "Zero Astro" that is a complex journey in sound with several movements and ebbs and flows that include tribal drums and scratchy feedback, trumpet and a piano-based groove with stratospheric guitar.

"30" and "Lo verde, lo apacible" are also epic compositions where ambience and funky grooves are combined. On the former, trumpeter Agustín Zuanigh steps forward and delivers a burning solo whereas the latter finds guitarist Mariano Cepeda building a shimmering soundscape of echoing guitar before the rest of the musicians gradually enter. Later, there is an almost classical eruption of piano from Andrés Marino.

Sales de Baño—Estrangulando el Mundo is a little universe of sounds. Things are constantly happening in the music, but, at the same time, there is also room for dwelling and contemplation and a wealth of nuances, rhythms and textures. The album is a widescreen musical vision from Carlos Quebrada.

Jazmín Prodan
El Sueño de los Sauces
2015

The cover of singer Jazmín Prodan's album El Sueño de los Sauces shows a woman lying down in a landscape with her eyes closed. It is the perfect image of the poetic immersion one can find in the album. For instance, "Iberá" begins with melancholy piano chords and what sounds like whispering wind and singing cicadas. It takes around two minutes before Prodan enters with her mournful velvet voice and the effect is striking. The mood is slowly established and later the narrative culminates in a saxophone crescendo from Hernán Samá.

Prodan is a true jazz singer that can shape her voice like a horn. Her wordless voice wraps itself around Hernán Samá's saxophone lines on "Un susurro en tu sueño" where Santiago Leibson's dark piano voicings act as the perfect counterpoint.

Whether she sings with or without words, Prodan sings deeply from the heart, but she also listens to the musicians and gives them the space to unfold a lush musical landscape with different colors and textures. The musicians become more than traditional backing. They interact on equal terms with the singer and it gives the compositions an organic quality where voice and music melt together. It is a different take on the tradition of the jazz singer, but it does not come as a surprise that this record is released on Kuai Music, a label that likes to challenge traditions and move music forward.

Tracks and Personnel

Sonora

Tracks: Espejos de Sonora; Ladrón de Patos; Enero; Colina Arriba; Lado 1; Peace; Hip Chong; Lado 2; Cisne.

Personnel: Mauricio Dawid: bass; Federico Lazzarini: trumpet; Misael Parola: alto saxophone; Tomy Fares: piano; Fran Cossavella: drums.

El Límite de la Conciencia

Tracks: Bruce 2; El Límite de la Conciencia; No Te Salves; Arquitectura; Blues; Interludio; Sin Realidad; Bruce 1; SMC 1; Balada.

Personnel: Juan Presas: tenor saxophone; Santiago Leibson: piano; Juan Manuel Bayón: bass; Fran Cossavella: drums.

Pendular

Tracks: Siempre Tarde; Nada que ver con el tema; Aparte; Tamariscos; Elefantes; Semblante; Pendular.

Personnel: Santiago Leibson: piano; Maximiliano Kirszner: bass; Nicolás Politzer: drums.

Evidentemente La Nube

Tracks: Intro Color; Color Rojo; Montaña; Retrato en Movimiento; Mas aire; Preludio para Adolescentes; Madre Átomo; Acceso Oeste; Ausencia.

Personnel: Bruno Delucchi: piano, keyboard; Sergio Wagner: trumpet; Christian Terán: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Diego Goldszein: bass; Tomás Babjacsuk: drums; Juan Sak: flute (#4).

Control

Tracks: Perceptión de la continuidad; Rupturas; Marea; Control; El Límite de la Conciencia; Interludio (a Paris); Invisible; Kafka Tamura (dos) / Viernes /Invisible; Enfrente; Kafka Tamura; El sueño de René.

Personnel: Juan Manuel Bayon: bass; Rodrigo Dominguez: soprano saxophone; Emmanuel Famin: alto saxophone; Juan Torres: tenor saxophone; Pablo Moser: baritone saxophone; Fran Cossavella: drums, voice (#1).

De Día

Tracks: Nene; Atrás del sol; Los diablos que quedan; Once Catorce; El día del arquero; Reflexiva; Miss Honey; indigno de esperanza.

Personnel: Lionel Cejas: bass; Damien Poots: electric guitar; Rodrigo Agudelo: electric guitar & acoustic guitar; Sebastián Stecher: drums; Rodrigo Domínguez: tenor & soprano saxophone (#3, #8).

Se Muta

Tracks: Se Muta; HH; La Buena; Falling; Bahía; Rojo; Navegante; Konde; Ni ver ni saber; Once.

Personnel: David Poots: guitar; Sergio Wagner: trumpet; Juani Méndez; Mauricio Dawid: bass; Fran Cossavella: drums; Tomás Fares: keyboard (#10).

Ciclos de Estrellas

Tracks: M; cZ; P; cD; R; cl; F; B.

Personnel: Miguel Crozzoli: tenor saxophone; Francisco Sleepoy: guitar; Mauricio Dawid: bass; Pablo Díaz: drums.

Sales de Baño—Estrangulando el Mundo

Tracks: Zoro Astro; 30; Wildeinsamkeit (Parte I); Los mayors ríos se deslizan bajo tierra; Lo verde, lo apacible; Wildeinsamkeit (Parte II); Ascesis; 20.

Personnel: Carlos Quebrada: bass; Camilo Ángeles: flute; Augustín Zuanigh: trumpet & flugelhorn; Andrés Marino: piano, Rhodes & electronics; Mariano Cepeda: guitar; Federico Isasti: drums.

El Sueño de los Sauces

Tracks: Luna del sur; Iberá; Un susurro en tu sueño; Yo sé que es; Signo del tiempo; Hiedra al sol; Punto de inflexión; Laughable loves.

Personnel: Jazmín Prodan: vocals; Hernán Samá: tenor saxophone; Emma Famin: alto saxophone (#1, #4, #5, #6 & #8); Pablo Moser: baritone saxophone (#1, #5 & #8); Camilo Ángeles: flute (#5); Santiage Leibson: piano; Maximiliano Kirszner: bass; Andrés Elstein: drums



Photo Credit: Catu Hardoy (page 1-3, page 4, top) and Pato Kaplan (page 4, bottom)

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