Oct 21, 2013
Alexis Cuadrado is an artist in pursuit of lyricism, a lyricism that functions as a necessary contrast to the schizophrenic logic of a sick city and society; like the voice that prevails against chaos and injustice so as to make its message heard. - Melcion Mateu, author and literary critic
This blog has examined the phenomenon of jazz musicians drawn to poetry a number of times over the past few years. A few months back, guitarist Ken Hatfield talked about his interpretation of the poetry of Langston Hughes. Pianist Laurence Hobgood talked about his collaboration with award-winning poet Robert Pinsky.
Bassist/Composer Alexis Cuadadrao’s is the latest jazz musician to try his hand on melding poetry and jazz, this time with the works of Federico Garcia Lorca. The martyred Spanish poet’s work has been interpreted by artists as varied as Dmitri Shostakovich, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen. Cuadrado has chosen to concentrate on several poems from Lorca’s 1929 book Poet in New York, works in which he found amazing historic parallels. Although Lorca’s poems are over 80 years old, his themes – Wall Street corruption, the haves versus the have-nots; alienation of workers – still ring true in the 21st century.
Cuadrado assembled a crack team of musicians, many of whom have familiarity with Latin sounds, to flesh out his percussive, flamenco-tinged modern jazz compositions. Cuadrado played bass, and chimed in on percussion and some background vocals, while Claudia Acuña gave voice to Lorca’s poetry. Miguel Zenón on alto saxophone, Dan Tepfer on piano, Mark Ferber on drums, and Gilmar Gomes on percussion round out the group.
Podcast 385 is my conversation with Alexis, as he talks about the roots of the compositions, how he worked with his musicians to create the album, and what his next projects will be. Featured musical selections from A Lorca Landscape are “New York (Oficina Y Denuncia)”, “Danza De La Muerte” and “Norma Y Paraiso.”