Curiosity is the essence of being human, the engine that fuels science as well as art. It implies the acceptance of ignorance, the urge to explore, learn and discover. The antidote to arrogance, the sign of open, respectful, humble minds and free, vibrant spirits. Curiosity is insubordination, especially in today’s world where rejection is often the primary reaction to the unknown, risking becoming conformist, fearful and apathetic. Let’s be curious.
Xavi Torres says “Creating this solo piano record has been a challenge demanding great determination. Thanks to all the friends with whom I share experiences and music, in Amsterdam, Barcelona and in the rest of the world. You make me feel so lucky.
Special Thanks to Just Listen Records for believing in this project. And to Jared Sacks, for his mastery in the recording process.”
Total time: 00:50:29
Van Medevoort, Holland
Van den Hul
Horus, Merging Technologies
Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps, AKG
Rens Heijnis Custom Analog Mixing Board
|Original Recording Format|
Jared Sacks, Jonas Sacks
MCO, Hilversum, The Netherlands on June 23, 2019
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
Grimm Audio LS1
Floor van der Holst, Ted Brady, Brian Moura, Bill Dodd
|Release Date||September 20, 2019|
Xavi Torres He is 28 but already recorded a solo album. To combat the tension that this created, jazz pianist Xavi Torres consulted a tennis professional.
At the 12 Points Festival, a four-day European showcase festival in the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, he is presenting his first solo album, Curiosity. A series of arpeggios ensemble in a compelling, sometimes baroque argument between jazz and classical. He brings particularly finger-fast and eagerly many melodic variations. And he seeks tension in the depth but also gives the nine compositions and four improvisations a certain clarity: “Call it the Spanish sun,” he says.
Ideas for solo recordings flashed through his mind for years. Only after his participation in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition last year – Torres made it to the semi-finals in Washington – did he schedule recordings. “That competition was difficult and very intense. Jazz at a high level. Then I had the feeling that I could handle everything. ”
He worked at Curiosity for six months. But how he came across himself. “This album was a big mental battle,” he says. “The instrument has all the greatness in it. But did I have enough to say? A month before the recordings I felt downright panic and I was hardly accountable. The rehearsal became almost meditative. I was completely taken back to myself.”
The album was recorded in one day in a concert hall in Hilversum. A wing surrounded by microphones. “I never try to play what is expected, I play and compose what feels fair to me. I love intellectual music, not too naive, but it must also have something spicy and playful. I like the balance between deeply powerful with a complex rhythm and genuine cheerfulness.”
His solo performance goes back to Torres’ youth. In the birthplace of Tarragona, near Barcelona, He was a young piano talent who started to play the piano of his sister out of a sense of duty for his parents. Through the record box of his parents, the blues of BB King and various Latin music, he became interested in jazz. “Pianists like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett. The cheerfulness and depth in the play of a predecessor like Bud Powell really appealed to me.”
Torres knows no better than that he played alone. “At most on the accompaniment of a computer bass or drums. At the age of fifteen, a village further, in Reus, was held a monthly jam session. There I could play jazz standards with others. My parents found a private jazz teacher in Barcelona. I only regularly played with bands during my music studies at the Catalonia College of Music in Barcelona. ”
His “wish for change” brought him to Amsterdam after his studies. The Catalan pianist studied both jazz and classical piano at the conservatory. In passing, he won many prizes for young jazz talent. Torres won the Keep an Eye on Jazz Award (2015) and the Dutch Jazz Competition (2016) with his trio. In 2017, he was able to tour with his band as a Young VIP, the initiative for jazz talent from the Association of Jazz and Improvisation Music Venues (VIP).
The piano on its Amsterdam top floor comes from the collection of the musical instrument fund NMF. He is fanatic, he already sits behind the piano before breakfast. “I use the keys to clear my head.” Moreover, he laughs, “I don’t like breakfast very much.” He has now been living in the Netherlands for six years. “I have found so much here for my music.” Although he now travels a lot for his concerts; solo, with a trio or as a sideman in other bands. Through shows in Spain, he sees his parents again almost monthly. “The balance is very pleasant now.”
The cover shows pianist Xavi Torres with at least as many fingers as a grand piano has keys. His style is therefore aptly typified.
Torres makes full use of his instrument, loves lush nut clusters and wide echoing sounds. On “Curiosity”, his first solo album, his music often tends to be more classical than jazz. And no matter how impressive, a personal voice and vision are not yet emerging. Yet there are but in a different way.
Back to the cover. That immense number of fingers is not only meant to emphasize his virtuosity. Each finger symbolizes a possibility. A key that the pianist can play or pass and choose another. Torres writes that curiosity is the antidote to arrogance. That is exactly what he expresses in his music.
It is not based on a technical display of power. Torres’ great ability is at most a tool that helps him explore the piano. And then sometimes his curiosity jumps over to the listener who intensively hears the music with the maker’s ears.
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