Tag: jazz

New Audio: Joan Pérez-Villegas Releases a Breezy and Whimsical New Composition

Mallorca, Spain-born, Bern, Switzerland-based percussionist, composer, bandleader and producer Joan Pérez-Villeagas can trace the origins of his music career to when he began studying percussion at eight years ago old at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Palma. When Villegas turned 19, he relocated to Barcelona, where earned a Bachelor’s in Classical and Contemporary Percussion at ESMUC. Interestingly, while in Barcelona, the Mallorca-born, Bern-based artist developed a deep interest in jazz and traditional music that led him to earn a Masters in Jazz Composition under the tutelage of Lluís Vidal.

Throughout his young career, Villegas has been involved with a diverse array of projects across an eclectic array of styles and genres including chamber music, classical symphonies, pop, traditional music, jazz and even scores for dance, theater, and film. During that same period, he has managed to be rather busy: he has studied with the Balearic Symphony Orchestra, been a guest artist at Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (SICMF) 2016 in South Africa and at Festival Cistermusica 2016 in Portugal with his percussion duo Face two Phase, which won first prize at the fourth annual International Chamber Music Competition Cidade Alcobaça (CIMCA) in Portugal.

Released earlier this year, the Pérez-Villegas and Marc Urrutia co-produced, Blau Salvatge is Perez-Villages’ full-length debut as a compeer and bandleader. Recorded over the course of two days with Alberto Pérez at Barcelona’s Sol de Sants Studio and collection of friends and fellow students including Pau Lligadas (bass), Josep Cordobés (drums), Ariadna Rodríguez (violin), Pau Vidal (flute), Toni Pineño (clarinet), Joan Mar Sauqué (trumpet), Max Salgado (French horn), Leire Corpas (guitar) and of course, Pérez-Villegas (marimba and vibraphone) at Barcelona’s Sol de Sants Studio, the album’s material is centered around six kaleidoscopic compositions that manage to be individually distinct and focused on a different compositional process. And yet, each composition is part of a larger, cohesive whole.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Valvé.” Centered around a cinematic and mind-bending arrangement, the composition finds a talented collection of young musicians darting, weaving, bopping and strutting through several different tempos and styles — including Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue-era Miles Davis, Horace Silver, breezy Brazilian jazz, Spanish folk music and film and TV scores — while evoking contemplation, awe, wonder and childlike whimsy.

Blau Salvage’s latest single “Algorritme I” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a whimsical and breezy composition that features elements of hard bop, jazz fusion and film scores in a way that recalls Danny Elfman and JOVM mainstay Jonathan Scales. Of course, what truly makes the composition is the effortless yet soulful playing of each musician.

New Audio: Italian Act The Apex Releases an Expansive, Prog Rock Take on Jazz Fusion

With the release of last year’s debut EP Here Comes The Apex, the Rome-based jazz rock/jazz fusion trio The Apex — Francesco Carrreti (guitar, production). Francesco Ferilli (bass) and Danilo Ombres (drums) — quickly established a songwriting approach and sound inspired by Weather Report, Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, Squarepusher, Snarky Puppy and others.

While supporting their EP with live shows in and around Rome, the act spent the next year writing and working on the compositions that would eventually comprise their forthcoming full-length debut, Kick Me with arranger/producer Toni Armetta. The album’s latest single, the eponymously titled “The Apex” features guest spots from Javier Girotto (sax) and Banco del Mutuo Socorso’s Gianni Nocenzi. Interestingly enough, the expansive composition sonically — to my ears, at least — reminds me of a slick yet soulful synthesis of Nothing Like the Sun-era Sting, Return to Forever/the aforementioned Weather Report with a subtly prog bent.

New Video: Swiss Jazz Act Gianfranco GFN Teams up with Florence Chitacumbi on a Breezy and Sweet Love Song

Gianfranco GFN is a Swiss guitarist, composer and bandleader, whose work is influenced by jazz, blues, bossa nova, funk and rock. Leading a band that features longtime collaborators Stèphane Joerg (percussion) and Mimmo Pisino (double bass), Gianfranco GFN has released two instrumental albums and an EP — 2011’s Linnea, 2016’s Downtown in Person 70s and the Interlude EP. Interestingly, Interlude and Downtown in Person 70s had a handful of tracks — two and four respectively — that received airplay on Swiss radio.

Before the writing and recording of the band’s third album, 2019’s CA’GIAZZ, the trio expanded into a quartet with the addition of vocalist Florence Chitacumbi. The 11 song album features collaborations with 14 different artists with several tracks off the album receiving airplay on Swiss, French, German, Irish and Russian radio stations.

In February, Gianfranco GFN and his band entered the studio to record the material which would comprise their fourth album, slated for release next year. Simultaneously the Swiss act recorded acoustic material, which they’ve immediately released online, including their latest single “Adagio.” “Adagio” is a breezy and strutting blues featuring Chitacumbi’s easygoing and soulful Sharon Jones-like vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, shuffling percussion and supple double bass. And at its core, the song is a sweet and old-timey love song, full of devotion and a familiar longing.

Gianfranco GFN released an intimately shot bit of live footage of the act performing “Adagio” in the studio.