Giulia Valle Group · Live
Featuring: Giulia Valle (b lead), Martí Serra (ts & ss), Gorka Benítez (ts & fl), Marco Mezquida (p, keyb), David Xirgu (d)
BAR CODE: 8427328424158
01. Intro 3:23
02. Drama 'n' Bass 12:20
03. Xuxi 12:55
04. Libélulas 5:21
05. Break a Loop 7:51
06. Un sueño 7:15
07. Laberinto 12:06
08. Berenice 4:38
09. Chacarena Búlgara 4:33
All music written and arranged by Giulia Valle
Giulia Valle (double bass, lead), Martí Serra (tenor sax & soprano sax), Gorka Benítez (tenor sax & flute), Marco Mezquida (piano, keyboards), and David Xirgu (drums).
Recorded live at Jamboree Club, Barcelona, on June 1st, 2012
Engineered by Joaquim Puigtió
Artistic producer: Giulia Valle
Management: Galbany Produccions www.rgalbany.com
Executive producer: Jordi Pujol
In these live performances recorded at club Jamboree in Barcelona, Giulia Valle’s group presents a fluent, measured and consistently absorbing program of original compositions by the leader. Beautifully conceived and brilliantly executed, these are completely realized and personal interpretations of urbane, vibrant compositions, ranging from drivingly propulsive pieces to gorgeously reflective ballads. Essentially, Giulia reaffirms her qualities both as a composer and instrumentalist, displaying all the surging talent she has harboured and developed over the years. Her musical concepts possess emotional depth and transcendant beauty, full of an unusually touching, bittersweet melancholy.
The music generated by this powerfully driving, enthusiastic and cohesive group is spellbinding in its force and power. And not only because of the soloists’ excellence, but also because of the way in which the band members work together, feel each other’s music, and support each other.
Moments of extraordinary brilliance abound, as is the case with the instinctive interplay between the two horn men, Gorka Benitez, on tenor, and Marti Serra, on tenor and soprano. Capable performers and imaginative improvisers, they develop their ideas with emotional intensity, their attractive instrumental blend offering additional colours to the group’s harmonic tapestry. Spurred on by a supportive and responsive rhythm section, they maintain a spirit of competitive eloquence, their effulgent and wistful statements building tension and rich, long lines; in some passages they overlap into tumbling, convoluted, collective group improvisations. And Gorka’s use of flute adds yet another dimension to the music.
On piano and keyboards, Marco Mezquida’s sense of understatement and melodic contour makes for a delightful contrasting voice in this session. His solos extend a wide range of color and textural possibilities to the group’s palette.
Much of the music’s success can be attributed to the rhythm section, anchored by Giulia’s usual pungent, percussive, big, firm tone, airy exuberance, and strong bass statements. Add to that the polyrhythmic mastery of David Xirgu on drums. And best of all are the multi-tempoed originals penned by Giulia, who is always there, igniting a fire under the horns, and providing imagination, precision and taste throughout these performances.
There is a great deal of excitement on these tracks, because Giulia’s band, unlike many, tends to play for its audience. Every member does perfectly what is called for in each case. Whether playing with incendiary power, cooking gently, or creating a mood that builds relentlessly and never once lets up, this is a special group.
"Intensitat, emoció i veu pròpia, ara en directe: una de les bandes més consistents del país registra al Jamboree el repertori d’una de les compositores amb més personalitat del jazz local. L’argument –per ara– per rendir-se al quintet de la contrabaixista Giulia Valle."
Roger Roca -El Periodico (Dec. 2012)
"The Fresh Sound New Talent marque often leads reviewers to assume that they’re listening to a debut recording but it wouldn’t take more than a minute of Drama’n’bass to have you questioning that. In fact, this is the fourth Valle record I’ve been aware of, and they get better every time. There was Danza Imprevista about five years ago, followed by Enchanted House, a trio with Jason Lindner and Marc Ayza, and Berenice, also for FSNT but with the present quintet which has emerged as one of the best contemporary jazz groups in Europe. Valle has a darkly lyrical sound and writes narrow-interval themes with a relatively modest harmonic range. She nonetheless packs in a lot of drama. There’s a Hadenish quality to the playing, and a similarly sombre romanticism, but the group sound is quite distinctive.
Any outfit with Gorka Benitez on the strength starts at an obvious advantage. The two-tenor format is well moderated with soprano and flute (the latter brilliant on Break A Loop) parts, but there’s great energy when both reedmen play their larger horns. Mezquida, who I thought was terrific on Berenice, is every bit as good here, playing brisk seesawing vamps that give the leader lots of room to manoeuvre; great exponent of Fender Rhodes, too. After the first two extended workouts the remaining themes are quite brief, with only the roundabout Laberinto breaking the 10-minute mark again. It’s a full record, but with the possible exception of that one overlong track, I wouldn’t trade in a moment of it. Catch up with her when you can. Valle’s going to be a star. Another great find by Jordi Pujol.
Brian Morton -February, 2013
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Juan Pablo Balcazar