[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Exhibition

Jim Kashishian jim at kashprod.com
Sat Jan 19 06:17:21 PST 2013

I dropped by the Spanish National Library in the center of Madrid yesterday
to have a look at a Jazz in Spain Exhibition.  I had put off the visit
mainly by the title of the exhibition..."The Happy Noise", but decided to
give it a try.  Turns out that that phrase was from some critic in the
1920's in the U.S. The exhibition was supported by the Spanish gov't & the
U.S. Embassy.
My first disappointment, after the name, was how small & dark the show was.
All items were placed below glass, but the lighting made it difficult to
read any of it.  My second disappointment was in the first wall poster (in
both Spanish & English) which stated that most of Spanish jazz scene
centered around Barcelona, which is far from the truth.  The very first jazz
night club in Spain was in the Northern city of Santander...the "Drink
Club", but it was not mentioned, nor were any of the players in that area.
There were equally as many, or even more, Jazz Clubs in Madrid than in
Barcelona, at least in the 1960's, when I arrived here!
The main star of the show was Tete Montiliu, the Catalan pianist, which
makes sense as he was probably the only Spanish artist who really became
known world-wide.  Another name mentioned, but with not much information,
was Pedro Iturralde, the Basque (but Madrid based) tenor saxophonist who I
have mentioned on this list before.  But, there was no mention of other
musicians who I have known on the Madrid scene, nor any mention of the many
well-known jazz clubs of Madrid...which were sort of clandesine during the
Franco period.
I hadn't expected to see our band's name, although we are normally mentioned
as being the "moving young force" in the late 1960's in all writings on
Spanish jazz history, but of course....we weren't mentioned.  I would have
been even more annoyed if we had been mentioned, in fact, when so many
important names were left out.
The only music that could be heard & seen was a small screen tv in front of
2 chairs & a small table with a video of Tete playing the piano.  Although
there were many musical scores on display, there could have been interactive
buttons so you could listen to a few bars of the music, etc.  Nothing like
Along with the exhibition are four concerts, one of which is the sax/flute
player Jorge Pardo who is well known from his connections with the Flamenco
guitarist Paco de Lucia.  Jorge has just been selected as the best jazz
musician in Europe by some French magazine recently, and certainly merits
that award.  He follows our week at a local club in February with his
Flamenco Jazz.  
There are also 4 "conferences" where 4 "experts" are going to give talks on
the subject of jazz in Spain.  I hope one of them corrects the
misunderstanding that it all happens/happened in Barcelona!

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