Any musician who ventures into the American Song Book faces two opposing paths. Stay tied to the emblematic and almost definitive versions of the historical ones of the genre and build just one more copy. Or venture to modify them according to your own knowledge and understanding. Taking them down a new path of risks and challenges. Bordering, sometimes with fleeting strokes, the limits and interweaving of that immortal melody.
On this path, proper and uncertain, the unique trio made up of Julia Sanjurjo, one of the most personal voices of the last generation, is launched; the young and experienced Nataniel Edelman and the talented Valentín Garvie, recovered by the local scene after many years abroad; to give life to a new and disturbing record. Where the individual personality generates a solid and bold group sound, full of nuances and subtleties. No room for easy complacency.
The album, released by the ICM label from Mar del Plata, has only five songs, recorded live on September 13 at Cuerda Mecánica, the local Villa Urquiza from Buenos Aires. Each of them emerged from the pen of a pianist: Cole Porter, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Fred Coots. Along with them a handful of emblematic compositions. Topics that for decades have accompanied the emotional memory of different generations of jazz players, shaping their own universe.
The path has its starting point in the Night and day that Porter wrote for Gay Divorce, the musical that starred Fred Astaire, but that reached the top 10 highest grossing songs in the United States only after it was adopted by the popular big bands of the swing era. Here the trio's version bears no relation to those festive versions of the 1930s. Sanjurjo's voice dramatically accentuates the lyrics that speak of longings and sadness, while Garvie and Edelman weave shadowed melodies.
The Time remembered by Bill Evans, second cut from the album, is reborn here from a forceful trumpet solo by Garvie, preceding the expressiveness of Sanjurjo. Together they build a creative complicity of climates and textures, with the bra of an Edelman barely hinted at. Follow him Prelude to a Kiss, the Ellington classic with Lyrics by Irving Gordon, where the trio reaffirms their path of search and risk; with Edelman and Garvie soloing at the same time, as a framework for the singer's expressiveness.
All this precedes what is surely one of the high points of a record of very even quality. Edelman, Sanjurjo, and Garvie's version of Monk´s Dream it is an uncompromising journey into the very spirit of the Monkian universe. With Sanjurjo's voice as if coming out of the dark, to soon take center stage in a visceral scat, in the midst of the vertigo that Garvie and Edelman propose.
Perhaps few predicted such a unique album during that meeting of the trio in Cuerda Mecánica, one of the good settings of the beloved pre-pandemic Buenos Aires scene. But luckily what had to happen happened. And the music that captivated the audience that night continues to build its own path today. Generating new imaginary nights and hundreds of grateful listeners.
Night and day 07:12
Time remembered 06:04
Prelude to a kiss 06:40
Monk´s dream 03:32
For all we know 08:53
Julia Sanjurjo voice / Valentin garvie trumpet and flugelhorn / Nataniel edelman piano
Recorded on September 13, 2019 at the Cuerda Mecánica Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recording Technician: Santiago Bajder / Mix and Mastering: Mariano Míguez / Cover Artwork: Nataniel Edelman / Liner Notes by Michael Attias: