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Manel Fortia

Barcelona/NYC based upright bassist Manel Fortià lives a very prolific moment. His melodic sense, rhythmic precision and creativity have made him one of the most unique and original musicians of the new generation, who has become a versatile sideman in high demand and who also leads his own projects.

His recent albums as a leader include: “Despertar” (2022, Microscopi) playing fresh own compositions inspired in New York alongside his new European Trio featuring Spanish pianist Marco Mezquida and French drummer Raphaël Pannier. “Arrels” (2021, Microscopi), the debut recording of his new free-flamenco-jazz Libérica project, featuring the multi-awarded singer and saxophonist Antonio Lizana. It was on the top 10 of Best Jazz Albums of 2021 by the prestigious Enderrock magazine. His original folk-jazz duo album “Fang i Núvols” (2020, Microscopi) with the talented Catalan singer Magalí Sare was also critically acclaimed.

Throughout his career, Manel Fortià has performed with jazz luminaries such as Dave Liebman, Chris Cheek, Eliot Zigmund, Bill McHenry, Ari Hoenig, Arturo O’Farrill, Chano Dominguez, Stephane Belmondo, Scott Hamilton, Dena Derose, among many others, at some of the most prestigious international festivals such as Vitoria Jazz Festival (Spain), SudTirol Jazz Festival (Italy), NYC Mediterranean Jazz Festival (USA), Jazz in Sardegna (Italy), PortaJazz Festival (Portugal), and Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival (Spain)… as well as in famed jazz clubs like the Blue Note and Zinc Bar (New York), Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Pizza Express (London), An Die Musik (Baltimore), Hot Five (Porto), and Cafe Central (Madrid).

In addition he has appeared in more than 50 albums as a co-leader and as a sideman, including “Estándares” with Grammy Awarded pianist Chano Dominguez & Antonio Lizana, “My Old Flame” in duet with Marco Mezquida and “Bulería Brooklyniana” with Marquès/Fortià/Pannier trio.

Manel Fortià has been recognized with multiple awards such as the “Jazzer 2020” from the Jazzing Festival of Barcelona. He has also been a finalist at “Terra i Cultura 2019” with Magalí Sare, and a three-time finalist at Castelló Jazz Contest (2012-2014). He won the Jazz Fusion Contest (2013) with Tak! In addition, he combines a performing career with his teaching role at the prestigious ESEM – Taller de Músics in Barcelona and in the Jazz Department of Girona Conservatorium.

He also has been involved with social justice music projects happening in the U.S. including Freedom First (Justice for Keith Lamar), which fights for human rights and equality, leaded by the musician-activist Albert Marquès featuring Arturo O’Farrill, Salim Washington, Caroline Davis among many others.


Album Review

Apel-les Carod: Abismes i Flors

Read "Abismes i Flors" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Even if they do not consciously look for them, musicians tend to find role models, someone who inspires and motivates them. Inspiring others was probably not foremost in violinist Apel-les Carod's thinking when, in 2015, he became the first graduate in jazz violin from the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya. But just as Paco de Lucia inspired legions to take up flamenco guitar, Carod could, in a more modest way, impact the smaller world of Spanish jazz, should he ...

Album Review

Manel Fortia: Despertar

Read "Despertar" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

This trio has collectively accompanied such legends and mentors as Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, Miguel Zenón and Arturo O'Farrill. Their Despertar introduces us to double bassist Manel Fortia, whose deep-rooted, emotional precision recalls the late Charlie Haden, pianist Marco Mezquida's sensual lyricism, and drummer Raphaël Pannier's many vivid colors. This is a nine song, eye and ear opening cycle of stirring, Gotham inspired, Euro- tinged Fortia originals. Meaning to awaken, Despertar sheds illumination on the darkness from which ...

Jazz Journal

Summer 2022

Read "Summer 2022" reviewed by Doug Collette

Jazz Journal is a regular column comprised of pithy takes on recent releases of note, spotlighting titles that might otherwise go unnoticed or that deserve special attention. Manel Fortia Despertar Segell Microscopi 2022 Beginning softly and politely, as befits its title definition (trans. “fall asleep"), “Dormir" is the prelude to a series of alternately restful and enlivening instrumental intervals referencing the bassist/composer's experiences in New York City in recent years. The cosmopolitan ...

Album Review

Manel Fortia: Despertar

Read "Despertar" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Bassist Manel Fortia is from Barcelona, Spain, but between 2016 and 2020 he lived in New York City. His experiences in both cities are the building blocks of the music he composed for this trio album which combines elegant Mediterranean romance with bristling big city energy. The solemn resonance of Fortia's bass plucking on the opening track, “Dormir," resembles the sound of the late, great bassist Charlie Haden, an admitted influence. Fortia's notes could be an alternative version ...

Radio & Podcasts

Manel Fortià, Marco Cappelli, Louis Matute, Hans Lüdemann & More New Releases

Read "Manel Fortià, Marco Cappelli, Louis Matute, Hans Lüdemann & More New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

This set is dedicated to the proposition that when you leave it to jazz musicians, cultural differences bring people together, not apart. These projects mix cultural traditions, or music-making understandings, to generate a “folklore without borders." Happy listening! PlaylistBen Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Louis Matute “Renaissance" Our Folklore (Neuklang) 0:16 Host talks 6:45 Tony Mora “UFO Dream" Space Folklore (Hypnote) 7:58 Host talks 14:22 Diego Rivera “La Raza Cósmica" ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Abismes i Flors




Segell Microscopi



From: Despertar
By Manel Fortia


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