Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Cool Sound of Asturian Jazz - Carlos Pizarro's ethereal jazz piece "Nana pa Mama"

Gijon is a perky little city in Asturias on the northern coast of Spain. It holds a jazz festival every year and has quite a busy jazz scene based around a bar I've written about previously called the Cafe Alambique

Carlos Pizarro Quartet.NOV.2013_14
Carlos Pizarro  © Alejandro Nafría

For me one of the highlights of the festival this year was this gorgeous piece by local guitarist Carlos Pizarro and his quartet. This live version of their own Nana pa Mama seems to have a spacey ethereal atmosphere which is somewhat reminiscent of Miles Davis' In A Silent Way. It is brilliant to chill-out to after a stressing day at work. I love it and I've been listening to it all week. Like Miles' best work, it seems to transcend jazz and is just good music  -  whatever you want to call it.

Take a listen.

You could put that on after In A Silent Way just to maintain the mood couldn't you? The band are Carlos Pizarro - guitar, Javier Rubio - Sax, Horacio Garcia - Bass and Felix Morales - Drums.

As I said, the above version of Nana pa Mama was recorded at the Jazz Festival but you can find the original on the quartet's new CD La voz del árbol (The Voice of the Tree). For me the album version doesn't have the same tension and therefore isn't quite as hypnotic however the album is of a consistently high quality and really shows off some the excellent original jazz on offer here in Asturias.

Carlos has put some of the album on soundcloud and here is the album's opening track Hasta Tu Ombligo Y Volver (To your navel and back).

Quite folk influenced, the above track seems to me to have a kind of late 60s Pentangle feel about it at times. The album has a kind of autumnal melancholy and some of the tracks are based around ideas of age and growing old. All band members contributed there own compositions and it is definitely worth checking out the other tracks on Soundcloud. Support the musicians and buy it if you like it of course.

Nieve (Snow)

I've written before about some of the great jazz being played in Gijon here and I've seen Carlos Pizarro play at the Cafe Alambique on a number of occasions now with a variety of line-ups. His playing is always considered and displays a precise and soulful economy. He's one of the most interesting musicians on the Asturian scene at the moment. Check out his website (in Spanish) here for more.

Meanwhile, replay Nana pa Mama and just chill...

Carlos Pizarro - "Que la música no muera y el arte nos salve."

More on stranger than known
The Alambique - Jazz Finds a Home in Northern Spain

20 years of the Xixon Sound 

Gregory Porter - The Gijon Jazz Festival 

Medeski Martin and Wood - Gijon Jazz Festival 

Asturias > Eight Miles High - Roger McGuinn 

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