On Wednesday 7 September we mark the closure of the festival with
a fusion party at Paral·lel 62 (formerly BARTS)
Ever since the 1960s, the label fusion jazz has been applied to a great deal of music that’s based on integrating different styles. Although, for many people, jazz itself would be a blend of various things, it has become common to refer only to fusion when the result is more the product of a combination than a true style of its own.
We don’t usually talk about fusion when we’re talking about bossa nova or Latin jazz. Ultimately, although they really are fusions, we don’t need to say so in the name. The features of these styles have taken on so much character of their own, that they have adopted a name that neither distances them from the concept nor highlights the fact that they are fusions.
I don’t know if it’s very academically correct to speak of fusion jazz every case, and it’s probably not the most important thing about all the projects we are talking about here. In the end, we either like music or we don’t. It may or may not inspire us, get us dancing or move us emotionally. And its structure, or the labels we might want to give it, are not the most important thing when we are experiencing it.
But in the following brief notes about the Mas i Mas Festival programme, I am going to talk about some fusions and, more specifically, the four formulas we have chosen for the night of 7 September at Paral·lel 62 (formerly Sala Barts). I am going to do this emphasising the concept of fusion, so that you can imagine what these line-ups will sound like and will be really keen to be there.
When we first thought about a jazz closing party, the list of ideas and suggestions was as eclectic as it was extensive. We wanted swing and roots jazz, but also more contemporary jazz. We wanted to adapt to the summer and take advantage of that to make it a really exotic party, where people would want to dance. We also wanted to do it as an international festival, bringing bands to Barcelona for the first time. But we also couldn’t ignore the creative talents we have in the city on a day like that. The formula led us towards a fusion programme that included many things. And here it is: the programme for a fusion party.
We begin with Llibert Fortuny and Gergo Borlaï, a fusion duo based on two creative forces who are at the heart of the jazz sound (sax and drums), modified by the musicians themselves based on elements and techniques drawn from electronic jazz fusion.
We continue with Oleándole, a very unusual flamenco fusion project. Instead of flamenco with jazz arrangements or elements, we will hear Wayne Shorter’s repertoire played flamenco-style! Ole!
Thirdly we have a fusion of early 20th-century proto-jazz styles with hip-hop, with the Soweto Kinch trio. And we will end the night dancing to an Ethiojazz octet. And not just any octet – it’s no more, no less than the most talked about group of the moment. It is the French band Arat Kilo, with the Malian singer Mamani Keita and Mike Ladd, the slammer from Boston, who is especially famous for his work and recordings with Vijay Iyer.
One night, four fusions – and all of them quite unusual ones. Two bands who will be known to all Barcelona jazz fans, and two international line-ups who have never performed before in the city. Save the date: Wednesday 7 September!