262

Llibert Fortuny Electric Big Band: XXL

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Llibert Fortuny Electric Big Band: XXL You have to admire the ambition of saxophonist Llibert Fortuny. His third recording as leader sees him adding thirteen musicians to his electric quintet to create a big band which utilizes sound effects. This line-up recorded XXL at the end of 2005 in the National Theatre, Barcelona, as part of the city's annual jazz festival.

The music on XXL covers a lot of ground, from heavy funk to ballads, and from abstract pieces with changing time signatures to moody, minimalist numbers. Big on brassy riffs, surges of electric bass and guitar, and a sonic blanket of sound effects, XXL is also surprisingly short on solos.

With such an array of sounds at Fortuny's disposal the temptation to experiment was obviously great. Several songs from Revolts (Nuevos Medios, 2005) get a work-over here. On "Third Generation Fortuny leads the band into free-form jazz/funk territory, sandwiched between a rather simple brass riff, and it sounds like two songs welded together, or perhaps two bands welded together.

On the otherwise impressive "To Steve Coleman, which reveals Fortuny's admirable arranging skills, the band indulges in a few bars of old-time swing which come across as a rather pointless pastiche. The title of the other song from Revolts is "Conflicte Bipolar, and in a musical sense Fortuny appears to be struggling at times to make sense of the wealth of ideas bouncing around his head. The opening track "Mal Dous, for example, begins with a Maceo Parker-ish guitar funk riff. It then goes every which way, big brass riffs alternating with melodic passages which owe a lot to Frank Zappa's Hot Rats (Zappa Records, 1969), but it never quite finds a groove for very long.

Elsewhere Fortuny nails it. By contrast to the in-your-face-ness of much of the rest of the album, "Els Pistolers de Sant Celoni is a tender ballad which begins with a lone alto sax singing plaintively. The song grows with some beautiful ensemble playing and the ringing cry of a pedal steel guitar. The arrival of a Mexican trumpet solo lifts and sweeps the band along, pointing it in 1960s Ennio Morricone direction. Several times Fortuny builds up and strips down the layers of music in masterly fashion. It is perhaps the most powerful track on the album and one which shouts the least.

Other standout tracks include "Auxille, a moody, minimalist piece with a slow hypnotic pulse, and "Intro, a melancholic number which begins with a sax playing initially alone over a repeating trombone riff. Subsequently the sax's voice is enriched by lovely brass accompaniment. Both these tracks prove that less is often more.

Llibert Fortuny's debut as a big-band leader is a mixed bag. At times, his regular quintet sounds like an uncalled-for appendage to the role of the big band, or perhaps it is the other way round. However, when it all comes together, there are enough signs to suggest that Llibert Fortuny is a name we will hear a lot more of in the future.


Track Listing: Mal Dous; Third Generation; Els Pistolers de Sant Celoni; To Steve Coleman; Conflicte Bipolar; Auxilli; Intro; YCO Party.

Personnel: Llibert Fortuny: alto sax, effects; David Soler: guitars, pedal steel guitar, sampler, dobro; David Gonzalez: electric bass; Dani Dominguez: drums; Quim Puigtio: sound effects; Jaume Badrenas: baritone sax; Jon Robles: tenor sax; Marti Serra: tenor sax; Guim G. Balasch: alto sax; Carlos Martin: trombone; Vicent Perez: trombone; Dani Perpinan: trombone; Toni Belenguer: tronmbone; David Pastor: trumpet; Josep Gomariz: trumpet; Chris Kase: trumpet; Mireia Farres: trumpet; Aurelio Santos: beat vox.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nuevos Medios | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "(Five) Stories Untold" CD/LP/Track Review (Five) Stories Untold
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknown
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Lab 2016" CD/LP/Track Review Lab 2016
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!