Per Mathisen bass
Jan Gunnar Hoff piano, keyboards, synth
Horacio «El Negro» Hernandez drums, percussion
Release No: LOS 183-2
Recorded October 23 to 27, 2017 by Dani Castelar at Studio Barxeta, Spain
Mixed January 3 to 5, 2018 by Dani Castelar at Studio Barxeta
Produced by Jan Gunnar Hoff and Per Mathisen
Mastered by Kristoph Kapfer at Sounddesign Studios, Austra, February 12th, 2018
Digisleeve in the link below:
Download Press Release (PDF)
Barxeta II is, as the title indicates, album number 2 in our, Jan G. Hoff and yours truly, recordings from the tiny little village of Barxeta, Spain. Since we both love the place, with the extremely wonderful surroundings, and the Studio Barxeta, at Finca Abogat, situated at the top of a hill in the middle of a vast orange grove, our intentions are to release more in the years to come. Hope you will follow us also in the future.
Barxeta I is with the living legend Alex Acuna on drums/percussion and we decided to keep on going with Latin American drummers with inviting the “Cuban wonder”, Horacio El Negro Hernandez, for doing this one. As you will hear when putting on the CD it was an excellent choice of drummer.
Our music stretches out in very different musical landscapes with using acoustic and electric instruments in a blissful mix. We don’t let any old fashion jazz puritan rules dictate what is allowed or what’s not, we simply let our hearts and emotions dictate the directions for the performance and the producing. Only with that approach can we be completely honest to ourself, the compositions and to you as the audience.
You are most welcome into our world of eclectic music which contains a wide variety of sounds and effects, improvised and composed parts, large dynamic contrasts, polyrhythms and haunting melodies – a mirror of life and the world itself.
Horazio “El Negro” Hernandez is something special.
We brought this phenomenal Cuban latin drummer to our studio in Barxeta, Spain together with the keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff and the bass player Per Mathisen on October 23, 2017 to record some very hot stuff during three days. Mr. Hernandez has for some quite obvious reasons been called “The Octopus”. He sounds at times like having a triple pair of arms. He has been drumming with the likes of Carlos Santana, Gary Burton, Gonzala Rubalcaba, Michel Camilo, Paquito D´Rivera and lots of others. Received several Grammy Awards and have several albums of his own, in addition to be the rhythm keeper on countless other albums.
Per and Jan Gunnar wrote new music for this recording that was done following several festival and club dates in Norway in October 2017.
Barxeta II is a follow up to Barxeta I that was released in 2012 with Alex Acuna on drums.
As reviewed by Chris Baber in Jazz Views, UK:
The title of this release suggests a continuation from the previous ‘Barxeta’ recording, released by Mathisen and Hoff in 2012. But there is a marked difference, not only in personnel but also in music. The previous set featured Alex Acuna (who had also played on the Jungle City CD from 2009). His presence, and extensive experience of playing with Weather Report (featuring on, for instance, Heavy Weather) was always going to bring a strong sense of tradition. And what you got on those albums were strong nods to Weather Report grooves. Admittedly, these decreased from the first to the second of the recordings, and the trio were reaching for a sound they could call their own. On this set, Acuna has been replaced by Hernandez, who brings a fiery sense of Latin Carnival to the proceedings but who also reacts imaginatively the bass-driven compositions, and creates elegant fills of the contemplative settings.
The title track (track 7) slows the mood to the meditative and tranquil. It begins with an echoey piano ostinato and into a beautifully melodic bass solo, before the piano picks up the hypnotic theme, and then Mathisen’s bass comes back in. On this piece, Hernandez works some drum fills and cymbals, but lets the soloists work. This is a very moving piece and well worth the price of the CD. I wouldn’t be surprised if it found itself on one of those Spotify playlists for music for relaxation. It certainly deserves a wide audience.
The set closes with ‘Abogat Funkmania’ (nodding to the track ‘Abogat Funk’ on Barxeta I, with Mathisen again singing through a vocoder) which gives Hernandez plenty of space to exercise his drum kit.
This is jazz-fusion of a high order, with Mathisen’s fingers flying up and down the frets on the opening two tracks. They even manage to take a classic like Bill Evans’ ‘Blue in Green’ (track 2) and funk it up to a level where it is almost unrecognisable; Mathisen and Hernandez skipping around a solid Latin groove while Hoff plays lightening fast on the piano.
Reviewed by Chris Baber