Jeronimo Martin | Tokian (Jan 2023)

Jerónimo Martín is an eclectic musician who works interchangeably in the fields of classical music, jazz, free improvisation and composition. He studied piano at the “Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga” Conservatory in Bilbao, where he completed his higher education studies. In the year 2000 he moved to Barcelona where he studied Jazz at the Taller de Músics. He has a degree in Jazz from the Conservatory of Music of the Basque Country, Musikene. He leads his own jazz trio and sextet, with which he has released two records, “Piedraescrita” (Errabal, 2006) and “Quinoa” (Errabal 2012). In 2015 he published his third album, “Capturas”, based on a collection of piano improvisations. In 2020, he published his fourth album, “Durango Concert”, which fully includes the improvised concert held at the “Bartolomé Ertzilla” School of Music in Durango in 2016.

The sextet project arose in 2008, after his debut as leader by the Jerónimo Martín Trío, a formation with which he worked for four years. The sextet’s repertoire is made up entirely of Jerónimo Martín’s own compositions, who has adapted and arranged his music for this formation since its inception, and is the laboratory where he captures his most recent musical ideas, sometimes causing his music to transition through territories that go beyond the traditional limits of this type of formations.

Now he publishes “Tokian” (Errabal 2023), in sextet, accompanied by the Arteus Orchestra, made up of 23 musicians, directed by Iker Sánchez, making a total of 30 musicians.

Following custom, the seven songs on the album are original compositions written and arranged by Martín.

The first song is “Obertura nº 2”, a song that at first hearing might not sound like jazz, but as it develops it gains instrumental strength thanks to the rhythm section and the 23 members of the Arteus orchestra. Winds and strings gradually raise the intensity of the theme, with some very beautiful interventions by González on sax and Vistel on trumpet at the end of it. A more than interesting beginning.

The second song entitled “Clave” is dedicated to the composer and pianist Guillermo Klein. The piano opens the theme with a recurring melody that gives way to the rhythm section. The orchestra sounds grandly cinematic with flavors of tango, classicism and contemporary. Fernández de Larrinoa breaks in with the trombone providing a more jazzy character, and Vistel does the same with the trumpet. A beautiful and elegant dance theme, as if it were a tango.

The melodic “Of momentum” sounds with the violins in the background, which could cover a romantic scene with a beautiful landscape included. Vistel delights us with a soft solo accompanied by Martín. Another nice theme.

“Kiental” has Arabic sounds, to which the piano contributes and later the drums together with the winds, which raise the tension to make way for Martín who surrounds us with a beautiful melody along with the rhythm, and which accentuates, even more if possible, the middle-eastern sound of this composition, which after a pause, resumes the orchestration. Another very interesting topic.

The longest track on the album is “On Green Flamenco Street”. Martín was inspired by “On Green Dolphin Street” when composing this song, where the flamenco and Arab airs are evident. As in other tracks on this album, the orchestra gracefully enters and exits, giving way to the sextet that develops quality jazz.

“Cinque di novembre” follows the same line, obviously interesting, of the previous compositions. The sextet at the highest level, both solo and as a group.

The album closes with “Eb”, which initially seems like an inconsequential closing song. But don’t be fooled, the sextet rides again and offers us moments that make you keep time with your head and not stop moving. Watch out for the solo that San Pelayo is marked.

In short, seven long songs, where the orchestra marvelously intermingles with the soloists of the sextet and vice versa, and where jazz coexists in perfect harmony with an orchestration that is far from this style.

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