Xavi Reija, The Sound Of The Earth, 2018

xavi reija - the sound of the earthSpanish maestro drummer Xavi Reija is giving us another insight in his musical world. And if you are familiar with his previous releases, you will already know that his world is one of complex ideas, based on inventive rhythms and jazzy notes and free form jams.

Accompanying him on this album are the ever so wonderful Tony Levin on bass and stick and on (touch) guitars Markus Reuter and Dusan Jevtovic. All of them no stranger to the Moonjune label.

If anything, this is another album that you will have to digest slowly and repeatedly. Well, at least for me that is certainly the case. Should you be familiar with the Three Of A Perfect Pair album from King Crimson, I am getting the same kind of vibe from several of the songs here. So lots of sound and noise things happening in seemingly random order.
So where opening track Deep Ocean surprises me with riffs and hooks I can immediately identify with, others like From Darkness make me look over my shoulder to check if I am still alone…

Of course there is no debating the quality of the musicians here. This is just a matter of taste and the willingness to invest a lot of time of getting to know and appreciate the music. Which is too rare a thing sadly in today’s world of fast everything. But if you regard yourself an exception to that rule, enjoy this trip!

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Xavi Reija, Reflections, 2017

xavi reija - reflectionsThe previous album from Spanish drummer Xavi Reija was one in which he excelled in jazz and free form songs. On his new album he  works with New Yorker Nitai Hershkovits on piano and Pau Lligadas on upright bass. And while they both may be young, they already have an impressive curriculum. The result is an album that quite surprised me! And the first hint is that the 11 songs on the disk clock in at just under 40 minutes. Which in comparison to previous output is fairly short.

Now, when you start reading the inside text it reads that this is a recording of dance music. Though definitely not in a regular sense. But when you listen to the CD, it becomes clear that there is a certain lightness on offer here. Restrained elegance as it is so aptly described. While there are still parts that remind us we are dealing with virtuoso players who like to experiment and improvise, there is no denying that these songs speak easy to (at least) my ears.
So, while a drummer, bassist and pianist are reasonable common in jazz land, this trio have managed to come up with a rather delightful album. Joyous and emotionally charged, living and breathing music performed by authentic musicians.

If anything, this proves that music from the heart always reaches out and touches anyone who will listen. Wonderful album.

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Xavi Reija, Resolution, 2014

xavi reija - resolutionXavi Reija is a Spanish drummer that was also present on the Dusan Jevtovic album presented here not so long ago. And wait, bass player Bernat Hernandez was also on that disk. So the same team is the same music? Well, no actually. Maybe because here Xavi himself wrote most of the songs, and on some occasion got help from his partners in crime. And again a release on the Moonjune Records label, who prove themselves very busy!

But for me, the main reason this being a whole other animal, is that this album focuses mainly on drums and groove. And I must say, drums and bass sound terrific here. Very natural but also very big with  Jevtovic´s guitar playing providing additional colours. But that also leads to my main concern with the album. It is certainly rich in ideas, but needs a lot of time invested from the listener. Or you must be big about drums and groove and do not need identifiable structures and melodies to enjoy your daily dose of jazz. That is not to say those are not present. They are just not all too obvious (which is of course coming standard in any jazz environment).

So if you are willing to invest the time, or enjoy fabulous players and a big drum and bass sound, check this out.

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