A new record from Bernat Font is cause for total celebration. And more so when it is live, which is where his music radiates all the passion boiling inside, which is considerable. Blues, swing, jazz, ragtime, boogie, stride all the styles meld in the fingers of this keyboard prodigy who gives off a fire that sets the spirit burning as soon as it hits your ears.
The ability to shake loose is uncontainable, as this recording makes clear with the reinvention of three numbers from his first studio album (Ulls Ametlla, Seafood and The Lord Is Back), a composition from the second (Himalayan Sun), and eight new pieces that give him the chance to show off his skills as both a composer and an instrumentalist.
Although the sources nurturing his musical outpouring lie in both the primitive cult (Scott Joplin) and the popular (Fats Waller), Font knows how to carry this primal current into the 21st century by drawing on other contemporary sources, from Thelonious Monk to Keith Jarrett.
Nor are the classicsfrom Bach to Lisztoverlooked in his enlightened pianistic efforts. It is the combination of lyricism, acceleration, and precision that confers uniqueness on his artistic personality. This is the admirable virtue of what he offers, which quickly becomes a challenge by shaking up the poor understanding of the contemporary held by the overlyliterate while also leaving the purists squirming.
His technique is beyond reproach, but he never deigns to show off his virtuosity, which leaves a pleasant taste. His skill is in service to the stories, images, and experiences that inspire his compositions and make of him an imaginative and powerful teller of stories in sound, like few others.
He benefits from the support of an impeccable rhythm section made up of bassist Ivan Kovačević and Martí Elias on drums. They comprise an extraordinary, veritable cornerstone that keeps the flame lit under the eighty-eight keys of this magic pianist.
01. Opening 4:38
02. Mice 4:25
03. Smiling Woo 3:44
04. Ulls Ametlla 4:25
05. Seafood 8:18
06. People 4:44
07. Crawling Rag (piano solo) 5:09
08. Disappearance 4:12
09. Himalayan Sun 5:37
10. Dreams Can Be Nightmares 5:10
11. Wakin Up Peacefully 5:52
12. The Lord Is Back 5:27
All songs composed by Bernat Font
Bernat Font (piano), Ivan Kovacevic (double bass), and Martí Elias (drums).
Recorded live at Sala Tete Monotoliu, l'Auditori de Barcelona, on May 20, 2013
Sound engineer: David Casamitjana
Mixed and mastered by David Casamitjana at Espai Sonor Montoliu
Art Direction & Graphic Design: Fernando Prats
Photography: Fernando Prats
Text Edition: Tom Yohannan, Imma Espunyes
Produced by Bernat Font
Executive Producer: Miriam Guardiola
"Rarely does a traditionalist open the door to the future, but this young Spanish pianist is certainly capable of doing so. Not only does Bernat Font intelligently adopt the styles of Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, and Oscar Peterson, etc. in each piece of music, but he has also succeeded in establishing a true originality of his own after having digested the styles of those giants. His compositions have genuine melodic and harmonic sense... Originality, nowadays, is extremely difficult to achieve, which is reason to applaud this young pianist who has already found a way to show his. And gives good reason to be optimistic about the future of jazz."
"Bernat Font y sus compañeros nos ofrecen una nueva propuesta en la que el trío ya exhibe una fisonomía muy personal y definida. Esto se debe tanto al hecho de que todos los temas interpretados son composiciones de Bernat Font como al tratamiento especial e ingenioso que reciben estos temas, los cuales, pese a partir de motivos diversos e incluso con expansiones al exotismo, son reconducidos hábilmente hacia el lenguaje del swing [...]"