Comparatively unknown in the United Kingdom – although he appeared at Cadogan Hall in the London Boogie Woogie Festival last year – Lluis Coloma is the leading blues and boogie-woogie pianist and promoter in Spain.
Born in Barcelona in 1973, he studied classical piano, but then was captivated by the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roosevelt Sykes and Alan Price, before moving on to jazz. He subsequently appeared at jazz and blues festivals throughout Europe and Asia, and has recorded more than 10 CDs as a soloist or with his trio or septet. He received the award of “Best Catalan Musician” in 2003, was voted “Arista Blues Cat 2006”, and was artistic director of the Barcelona Blues Festival from 2003-2011. He has also recorded with the German boogie woogie virtuoso, Axel Zwingenberger.
On this CD, which includes eight of his compositions, his skills as a boogie woogie and “down home” player are variously displayed on Moving From Home To Home, Hot Rod Special, Ketchup On The Keys, Muir Woods and Goin’ To Malaysia. He can be seen and heard on YouTube performing a breakneck version of this last title at the London Boogie Woogie Festival.
On all of the Piano Solo album pieces he displays prodigious energy, immaculate fingering, and a fertile musical imagination. But Coloma is not “merely” an eight-to-the-bar exponent. The opening track, Anna’s Theme (dedicated to his wife) is a gentle and ruminative piece which stays in the mind, while Life has a semi-baroque flavour. Spring Equinox, another Coloma composition, is movingly delicate and plangent.
Equally impressive are his sensitive and reflective interpretations of Keith Jarrett’s Country, and Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood. A joyous and rollicking rendition of Tico-Tico and a subtle reworking of the Albert Ammons slow drag composition Chicago In Mind are additional examples of Coloma’s multiple talents.
As the brief liner note asserts, Coloma has “created a cocktail of styles that have become his own signature sound, where each theme is a landscape within his own musical universe”. This rich and eclectic confection is highly enjoyable and strongly recommended.
Buy Lluis Coloma: Piano Solo at freshsoundrecords.com
Anna’s Theme; Moving From Home To Home; Chicago In Mind; Tico-Tico No Fubá; Life; Spring Equinox; Hot Rod Special; Mule Face Blues; Muir Woods; Country; Ketchup On The Keys; In A Sentimental Mood; El Funambulista; Goin’ To Malaysia (53.21)
Coloma (p) Barcelona, Spain, 11 & 12 January 2020.
Swing Alley SA 042