THE JOY OF FINDING THE CORE OF LIFE, WHICH OPENS AND ILLUMINATES THE PATH TO FOLLOW
Tokian (Errabal Jazz), Jerónimo Martín’s latest album, comes after several incursions into free improvisation projects for solo piano (Capturas, 2015 and Durango Concert, 2020) and the première of his work Versos libres, for improvised piano and band, which premièred in 2021 with the Bilbao Municipal Band.
Tokian is the result of a personal process that leads to a huge artistic commitment on the part of the author to his craft.
A very risky proposal in these times, Tokian refers to the idea of personal, spiritual ‘centring’, in this case taken to the field of artistic creation. It is an ongoing commitment to oneself after an exercise of accepting your deepest identity and recognising your true drive.
In this sense, the music presented in Tokian follows a similar process to that of his previous works published by Errabal Jazz (Piedraescrita, 2006 and Quinoa, 2012).
The author once again strives to give concrete form to a creative need that aims to express a particular vision of music, based on a personal synthesis of different genres: jazz and other improvised music, classical music and touches of popular music of diverse origins.
All this underpins an unmistakable style characterised by music in which sincerity, moments of tenderness and large doses of feeling predominate.
The project began to take shape in 2012, the same year that Quinoa was released. He had a clear view that the new compositions that were emerging for the sextet would finally be recorded with a string orchestra. And this was the case.
Postponed mainly because of the pandemic, the album could be recorded, still wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, over the course of just two days in February and March 2022 in Elkar Estudioak, Donostia/San Sebastian.
The format chosen to carry out this project, produced by Jerónimo Martín himself with the support of the Department of Culture of the Basque Government, includes a staff of a total of 30 musicians. The core is the sextet, plus Arteus Orchestra, made up on this occasion of 23 musicians conducted by Iker Sánchez.
The rhythm section of the sextet is made up of Jerónimo Martín on piano, Alejandro San Pelayo from Asturias on double bass, and the young Aitor Bravo from Álava on drums. In the wind section, we have Cuban Jorge Vistel on trumpet, Rubén González from Bizkaia on tenor saxophone and flute, and Gonzalo Fernández de Larrinoa from Vitoria-Gasteiz on trombone.
The album is comprised of seven original compositions written and arranged by the author. Most of the pieces are long, with a progressive and varied development of the sections of each piece, in which introductions, main and secondary melodies intertwine and are accompanied by both wind and strings, and all of this is interspersed with improvised solos by the soloists of the sextet.
On this occasion, the composer has tried, with the help of the string section, to give more variety of timbre and colour to the compositions as a whole, which gives a certain symphonic character to music originally composed for the jazz sextet.
At the same time, it favours the expansion of form, resulting in music with an architectural growth that can at times remind one of progressive music.
In short, Tokian is the result of a reaffirmation of musical concepts that were already evident in previous projects, but which here have the opportunity to continue to grow.
In the music of this album one can feel, perhaps to a greater extent than in previous works, moments with big doses of joy. Perhaps it is the joy of finding that point of vital ‘centring’ that opens and illuminates the path to follow.
This album is a dream come true in which the artist has given his all in every sense, but which would not have been possible without the work shared with all the people he has surrounded himself with to bring it to fruition.