Travesuras means pranks, or mischief, and there is indeed a playful, unpredictable but joyous sense of discovery about the music on Garcia’s impressive debut album for ACT. With its focus on being in the moment, and fusing the dramatic, dynamic emotions of flamenco with other influences, this is a highly original and totally absorbing listen.
Garcia draws on a rich background of musical influences in his playing. Before studying jazz at Berklee College in Boston, he studied classical piano at the Castilla y Leon Conservatory in his native Salamanca. You can hear the influence of various classical styles; several of Garcia’s compositions start gently, touched by the delicacy of Chopin, Debussy and Satie, before they take unexpected and quite dramatic turns into different places. This sometimes involves thunderous, brooding chords, slaps of the woodwork and some technically impressive work on the piano. And in places, such is the emotional drive of the music that there is something powerfully cinematic in what is being created.
With a focus on the playfulness of youth, there is an eerie moment on the second track, Oniria, where distant voices recorded on a cassette recorder in 1986 suddenly underpin the melody. The voices are those of Garcia’s mother and a three-year-old Daniel Garcia. It is almost as if these voices were recorded with the future and this music in mind.
There is a tremendous sense of connection between the musicians on the album. The focus on “intensive listening” between the trio that Garcia refers to really does add to the depth of the music being created. Although heavily influenced by Spanish culture, Garcia’s musically eclectic tastes that include rock, electronica, music of the Middle East, medieval music and Gregorian chants have all be moulded into something quite spectacular.
Potro De Rabia Y Miel; Oniria; Dream Of Mompou #1; Travesuras; Dream Of Mompou #2; Alegrias Pa Averio; La Comunidad; Dream Of Mompou #3; Dream Of Miles; Vengo De Moler; Dream Of Mompou #4 (53.36)
Garcia (p, kyb, syn); Reinier Elizarde “El Negron” (b); Michael Olivera (d); Jorge Pardo (f). Madrid, 15-17 October 2018.