Xavi is recognized as being one of Spain’s top jazz drummers, and over the last fifteen years has built his reputation by working with artists such Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Gary Willis (Tribal Tech), Monica Green (The Supremes), Caco Senante, O 'Funk'illo and Pep Sala Joaquin Calderon. But he has also been working on his own bands, releasing ‘Two Sides’ with DX Project, two albums with the Xavi Reija Electric Quintet as well as trimming that down to the Xavi Reija Electric Trio who prior to this had released a DVD. Now he is back, again in a trio environment, with Bernat Hernández on bass, and Dušan Jevtović on guitars. Bernat also played with Dušan on the latter’s album ‘Am I Walking Wrong’ which was released last year.
When I first started listening to jazz as a child, it was bands led by drummers that I became most interested in, and the very first jazz album I ever bought with my own money was by Gene Krupa. There is something about music being geared towards the complexity and freedom that comes from a powerhouse at the back that really lifts the overall, and if you normally listen to metal then you would have to agree that Testament’s recent stunning live opus just wouldn’t be half as dynamic if Gene Hoglan wasn’t behind the kit. Only four of these compositions are group numbers, with the other seven all scored by Xavi, but the common theme throughout is the sheer amount of space that these guys have given themselves to work with. That they are all stunning musicians are never in doubt, but they know the importance of simplicity as well as complexity, and know the right time to deliver what is required, with fuzzed distortion adding to the overall sound.
The three musicians work off each other, and the result is an avant garde album that combines improvisation with funk and melody, distortion and feedback with clean struck notes, polyrhythmic sounds with simple timekeeping, so much so that the listener never really knows what is coming next. A very strong production tops off yet another incredibly strong release from the Moonjune label. www.moonjune.com