Sep 16 2014
I should begin by stating that I made up the name Underpool Collective. It was done for the sake of convenience and because I didn’t want to use the phrase “Various Artists” as an attribution. And besides, “Underpool Collective” is not that far off in terms of accuracy.
The Underpool organization is a label and recording studio serving the Barcelona jazz and improvised music scene. This recording brings together seven of their musicians for a two-day recording session, highlighting the strength of their scene and the depth of its sound. These are straight-ahead tunes that swing and bop to the old school, but are warped and frayed in a way that speaks to the Jazz of Now.
After the somber intro of “Avenc de la Febró Part 1,” its second part dives right into some cool jazz swing, with drummer Carlos Falanga leaving the door wide open for guitarist Dani Comas, tenor saxophonist Sergi Felipe and trombonist Victor Correa to swing right on through with some nifty solos. Accompaniment by the bass clarinet of Pau Doménech is particularly effective, as its sing-song motion provides some wonderful contrast with the trombone’s big sound.
The ballad “Old Sport” kicks out a strong warmth even as it drifts languorously from first note to last. Meanwhile, “Dos Chicas Malas” burns with some low heat and charges forward with a head of steam. The low crash of guitar has a nice contrast with flute’s spritely dance. Pol Omedes joins the qualities of light and heavy with a solo that cuts through the heart of the contrast. “Hi John” is three minutes of lovely melody and lovelier harmony, exhaled slowly and delicately.
“Falla” gets the session back to swinging, while the freer “Per L’Ornette” lets the group stretch out on their instruments with more abandon. The album ends with “Coincidència,” a song that features a series of rich harmonies, but the real highlight is the tempo manipulation by bassist Juan Pablo Balcazar and drummer Carlos Falanga.
One of those supremely enjoyable recordings that there’s never a bad time to return for another listen.
Your album personnel: Pol Omedes (trumpet), Victor Correa (trombone), Sergi Felipe (tenor sax, flute), Pau Doménech (bass clarinet), Dani Comas (guitar), Juan Pablo Balcazar (contrabass), and Carlos Falanga (drums).
Released on the Underpool label.
Jazz from the Barcelona scene.