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Beautiful Cat: Joan Chamorro


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Joan Chamorro is a jazz hero. A brilliant musician who plays bass, saxophones and clarinet, Joan is the founder and director of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band, a youth band in Barcelona, Spain. All you have to do is watch him in action in video clips to see the love he spreads and receives from his ensembles. He proves that for great jazz to flower, you need to encourage kindness and respect as well as hard work and determination. He deserves recognition just for the way he mentors young women in jazz, helping them to become confident and exceptional players. Joan is a beautiful cat.

I first met Joan in Barcelona in 2013, when the U.S. State Department sent me over to give a series of talks related to my book, Why Jazz Happened. I also got to hang with Joan Anton Cararach, director of the Barcelona Jazz Festival. It was a glorious bunch of days that I still recall fondly.

The following clips of Joan leading his bands over the years will certainly put a smile on your face. And these days, a smile is a glorious thing, especially if jazz is involved:

Here's Joan and the band in 2011 playing Undecided, with alto saxophonist Jesse Davis and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon plus trumpeter Elsa Armengou in the middle...

Here's Joan on baritone saxophone in 2016 with vocalist Eva Fernandez and ensemble on After You've Gone...

Here's Joan and the band in 2018 with Allán Vaché (cl) and Èlia Bastida (ts), Carla Motis (g) and Andrea Motis (tp) singing and playing Doodlin'...

Here's Joan on bass with violinst Èlia Bastida and Scott Hamilton (ts), Joan Monné (p) and David Xirgu (d) playing The Nearness of You in 2019...

Here's Joan on bass playing Triste, with Alba Armengou, Andrea Motis, Èlia Bastida and Rita Payés (vcl), Ignasi Terraza (p), Josep Traver (g) and Esteve Pi (d) in 2016...

And here's a full hour with Joan and Andrea Motis on trumpet and vocals from 2011...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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