When playing jazz is cool a lot more than just playing football

Ximet prefer a jam session at a soccer match. She's eight years old and plays several instruments, but is now focusing on the sax. “I've always liked jazz, fr

When playing jazz is cool a lot more than just playing football

Ximet prefer a jam session at a soccer match. She's eight years old and plays several instruments, but is now focusing on the sax. “I've always liked jazz, from tiny,” she says as a snack, with the hair gathered by a rubber band. His mother explains that he has sucked ever since: both she and the father are musicians. A very different case to that of the progenitors behind them, six years ago, with his flute in one hand. “He comes because he wants to, not because you insist. Never would have said anything,” said the father. The little girl nods.

they are All on the ground floor of the farmhouse of Sedajazz in Valencia. High ceilings, wooden beams, instrument cases for all sides. It breathes a good atmosphere. Children and adolescents who enter and leave the particular classes, teachers that rest over a cup of coffee, expecting parents with coats of arms. The music is imposed on the buzz every time you open the door of a study. “The most important thing is that people have a good time, enjoy the music,” says the chief of all this, Francisco Angel Blanco, better known as Latin.


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This saxophonist and flutist 54-year-old has managed to consolidate a unique pedagogical project and music with 300 students and a dozen teachers, which results in two Big Bands, a junior and another a senior, posting of records, concerts, tours and national and international recognition. And all without hardly any public aid. A project that dates back to 1991, when the first Big Band in the heart of the centuries-old municipal band, Santa Cecilia de Sedaví. With almost half the musical societies of Spain in the Valencian Community, some 40,000 performers and 250,000 associates, the bands are a quarry of never-ending musicians of wind and not just for orchestras throughout the world.

And now Sedaví, which is to say that it was the "crib furniture", holds the office unofficial of "the birthplace of jazz", pointing, smiling, Vicente Macián, tenor and teacher. Also this human population near Valencia came out the trumpeter David Pastor, or the trombonist and percussionist congas Carlos Martín, among other professionals assessed that taught workshops on Sedajazz. The teenage students of Macián just spend the melodic patterns for the chords with the aim of learning resources to improvise, explained in a low voice Latin. The class is fun, the music is fun. Practice all kinds of jazz styles, with a predominance of the ‘standards’ and the arrangements for big bands. The purpose is that each one ends up composing his own arrangements.

Latin, directing a rehearsal of the Jove Big Band Sedajzz Mònica Torres

“I study classical music at the conservatory, but always has called me the attention they don't teach you to improvise. I removed the paper and you have no idea how to play. You have to do exactly what you put there. That's why I pointed to here also,” says the trumpeter Ana Caballero, 19 years old. The jazz studies have begun to enter in the last few years at the conservatory, such as Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Barcelona or A Coruña. To improvise you have to know a lot. As it says in the parco in words and one of the greats of the sax in Spain, Perico Sambeat: “musical improvisation is subject to certain parameters of harmonic, rhythmic, and need a job and an enormous study”. He is also a professor of habitual and interpreter of Sedajazz, “the source of a huge talent pool of extraordinary musicians,” he adds by e-mail, pointing to Latin as responsible.

By the farmhouse, located among a piece of the huerta valenciana and a new district (Sociópolis) semi-desert that would be the envy of all before the crisis of 2008, passed musicians of international renown. What has Michael Mossman, trumpet player and professor at Queens College and the Juilliard School of New York: “From the beginning, the program Sedajazz brings guests from abroad, like me, Bob Mintzer, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, or Pat Metheny, and others. But what is more important, highlights the musicians from Spain as teachers and interpreters, sending a clear message that the local talent should share the stage with the guests. Another important feature has been its focus on composition and organization, as well as in the performance. It would point to the work of Perico Sambeat and Jesus Santandreu, whose written works set a very high standard for students and teachers”.

Mossman notes that “Valencia has become a center of jazz, as it shows that also the Berklee College has opened a satellite campus there.” And extended in its response by e-mail about the importance of improvisation: “it Is the centre of the process of jazz. Requires a technical advanced instrumentation, an understanding of the structure, a sense of style developed and encourages both the study of tradition and innovation. Improvisers learn to search for information about artists past (erasing the generation gap), musicians from other cultures (erasing the gap xenophobic) and other areas of the music (blurring the divisions between musical genres)”.

up the Stairs sounds like an orchestra version of the classic song On the shunny side of the Street that has been sung by Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald. The class is finishing in the main hall, presided over by a piano. Below, Ximet prepares for the trial of the Sedajazz Kids Band. Their peers have already gone up and tuned their instruments. He is just the snack and pulls out his sax. Is placed as a soloist alongside the Latin, the director, and when this gives way, the nano shows why he's cool to a lot more jazz than the football.

Date Of Update: 25 December 2019, 17:08