The Painting of Swing

Music of Marcos Pin


Letting us go, taking this musical sip means getting the most lucid and festive drunkenness. In the big band production, entitled “Barbanza”, by spanish composer Marcos Pin, something is coming up, something emerges from deep inside the musical structure wanting to burst out. And everything comes from the way this musician handles harmony in his compositions. There is a secret which later on will be revealed. Listening one by one every track of this album we discover his rich imagination for sound.
Jazz history taught us about different ways to handle big band music, in a big landscape from early north american swing to the atypical polyphonic italian orchestras, walking by Ellington´s jungle style or Gunter Schuller fantastic abstractions. These compositions send me, unavoidably, to Joe Lovano´s work with Schuller, an album entitled “Rush Hour”: a sense of swing which seeks to break his paralyzed inheritance to build up new, with his attractive polyphonic color and richness in melodies and rhythms, a musical painting without ending properly in the figurative but planned by abstract, full of life.
In general I miss more guitar playing but in the piece “San Finx” the guitar is the main character playing a delirious leading role. About soloing, emphasized through out the production, stands out vibes, more percussive than melodic, close to Bobby Hutcherson´s approach and far away the early swing belonging to the decade of thirties...and I can not forget the trumpet player during the last track rich of figures and friction making it special about lyricism.
From the album I like to distinguish two excellent compositions: “Bico de Mar”, in a beautiful impressionistic atmosphere, built up from an warm rhythmic motive with a recalling to one of the Coltrane suites in “A Love Supreme” during the double bass solo; On the other hand, “Escarabote´s Blues”, last piece in the album, this one in a breaker style, wonderful in its freedom in harmony, with a stand out piano, bursting dynamics, the theme seeks to cross the shy border of music and sound. This is the real pandemonium, this is where Marcos aesthetic flow ends to, this is the place where he wanted to take us from the beginning, gifting us with his honest musical intimacy. In front of this diversity we understand the composer´s words when he says: “every piece I compose has its own approach (...) Most of the times I write down melodies first and later on I work on harmonies. But the “way” is not so depends on the piece itself, I rather let the tune build up by itself”.
The desire that the Galician composer had of writing and arranging for this orchestral template leaves us as witness of a musical history that in its chapters encourages us joyfully, without stopping inviting ourselves to the observation and surprise (many nowadays composers and performers just forgot that jazz is in a way the sound of surprise). “Barbanza” is sound that travels not only known places but new ones to be discovered in the world of Jazz too. It outlines a shy presumption to express the freedom of the sound, I feel it greedily at the moment of 'untying' his imagination, which has given us sample of his race.
This album, no doubt, guarantees me in the appreciation that I feel, increasingly, for the works of the Spanish jazz musicians, who offer us, non-stop, the most varied colors of jazz in his permeable history.
I think Marcos Pin is an atypical guitarist, very few guitar players compose successfully for big ensembles. He firmly shows us the fact that he knows about tradition, about those bands that can not only swing but dictate amazing sonority too, as free as the technique of their improvisers.
Finally I have to say again that I carry in my heart that song of freedom which is “Escarabote´s Blues” and I ask myself: Will he bring to his next album such a musical catharsis, sealed off wound, that few dare to recognize?.

January, 22nd, 2013

Gustavo Adolfo Bustamante Mesa
Jazz Promotor-Cultural broadcaster
Medellin – Antioquia – Colombia

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Gustavo Bustamante