Cook For Butch

Artist : Memoria Uno

Release Date : February 25, 2016

Label : Discordian Records

Format : CD/Digital

Recorded by Lopinski and El Pricto on October 21, 2015 at Jamboree Jazz Club, Barcelona. Mixed and mastered by Lopinski. Cover design by El Pricto. Back cover design by Aorita. Produced by Iván González and Discordian Records

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Valentín Murillo: flutes

Marcel·lí Bayer: alto sax, bass clarinet

Albert Cirera: tenor and soprano sax

Julián Sánchez: trumpet

Alex Reviriego: doublebass

Ramon Prats: drums



Marco Mezquida: piano



Oriol Fontclara: alto an baritone sax

Tom Chant: tenor and soprano sax

Pol Padrós: trumpet

Frédéric Filiatre: trombone

Marc Cuevas: doublebass

Oriol Roca: drums


Conducted by Iván González

Track 4 co-conducted by Albert Cirera



Artist : David Mengual Free Spirits Big Band
Release Date : September 22, 2014
Label : Bebyne
Format : CD

Recorded by Toni París at Estudis 44.1, Girona, on May 2014
Mixed & mastered by Toni Vaquer & David Mengual at Estudis Polidor, Barcelona, on June 2014
Photography & design: Carles Roche
Produced by David Mengual


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Double length album, 32 songs by David Mengual, Toni Vaquer, Jordi Mestres, Oriol Roca, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

From mystery and elusiveness to an epic sense of celebration, from intimism to impressionism, David Mengual Free Spirits Big Band’s last work, Vertebrats, is a musical and visual trip of shared sounds. Built from small compositions, originals and versions, the trip converges in 6 suites born in the mind of Toni Vaquer. Vertebrats is anything but an empty name: it reminds us of a need of adaptation, of evolution, which is also a need to leave a trace, paleontological or discographical, from a body of work made by two symmetrical parts -in a certain way, this is what these suites really are. This need of evolution has become visible in live performances of the Big Band, where Julietee Louste’s dance & choreography found a fertile terrain to grow.


  • Alvar Monfort, Natsuko Sugao: trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Ivan Gonzalez: trumpet and French horn; Conducting in “Las crónicas de Saturno”
  • Joan Mas: alto sax
  • Miguel “Pintxo” Villar: alto and soprano sax
  • Gonzalo Levin: tenor sax and flute
  • Juan Saiz: flute (suites 3,5 and Toni Melassa)
  • Aram Montagut, Dario Garcia: trombone
  • Amaiur Gonzalez: tuba
  • Enric Peinado: guitar, cavaquinho
  • Lina Lomanto, Toni Vaquer: piano and Hammond
  • Alex Reviriego: double bass
  • Josema Martín, Oriol Roca: drums and percussion
  • Roser Farré, Maria Ibáñez: violin
  • Alicia Domínguez: viola
  • Margarida Mariño: cello
  • Marcel.lí Bayer, Jordi Santanach: clarinet
  • Pau Domenech: bass clarinet
  • Alfonso Fernandez Vargas: bassoon 



Vertrebrats awarded for Best Jazz Album of the Year by Enderrock magazine (December 2014)


Another thrilling session from Mengual, who always seems to make the motions of huge liftoffs and exquisite soaring a part of every one of his recordings. His newest features a series of different suites and performed by different ensembles, and the way they shift from a chamber elegance to a bop liveliness to a jazz-rock burn is a terrific series of events to follow along with. Some familiar names to this column are a part of Mengual’s group, including drummer Oriol Roca, trumpet Natsuko Sugao, saxophonist Gonzalo Levin, and clarinetists Marcel li Bayer and Pau Domenench. A good idea to go exploring Mengual’s discography, and this one is a good place to start. Dave Summer, Wondering Sound (September 2014)


I’ve always had a thing for the music of David Mengual.  The term “free spirits” is very applicable to his music.  No matter the size of the ensemble, it possesses a lightness and a flowing motion that I always take to.  His newest, Vertebrats, an album that incorporates both an octet and big band formation, holds true to form.  Consisting of six different suites that all snap neatly into place, Mengual displays his ability to convey an orchestral grace to music with a pop music sensibility.  With pianist Toni Vaquer given the role of arranger and, in some instances, composer, the David Mengual Free Spirits Big Band eases its way through 32 tunes, originals and interpretations, short pieces and extended, and covering the expanse of jazz, rock, and classical. The album opens with the eminent grace of “Canicas,” “En Patufet i sa lletuga” and “L’Ira del Bosc.”  All short pieces that have a lightness and flowing motion that accentuates a humble beauty.  It’s a quality that I associate most often with Mengual’s music. Not uncommon are the dramatic shifts into a sense of urgency.  This happens here with fourth track “El Resumen,” which signals the beginning of surges of intensity, bouts of dissonance and thick introspective drifts. The ensemble shifts into a new gear, starting with “Dimonis fent foguerons.”  They retain much of the intensity developed in the previous section, but now come together and focus on patient, lovely expressions of melody while taking the care to wrap them up carefully in thick, warm harmonies.  There’s no less drama than the previous section… it just coalesces where the previous section dispersed or collided. After a short interlude of a straight-ahead jazz tune (“Plaga de ratas siguiendo a flautista enfermo”) and one more of the free variety (“Las crónicas de Saturno”), the album settles back into one of orchestral grace.  And, then, typical of Mengual’s sense of adventure, this ensemble begins a medley of classic rock tunes from Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix and The Beatles, before ending the album with the New Orleans inspired “Himne.” Fun moments, beautiful moments, both, to be discovered on this enjoyable recording.  Go check it out. Dave Summer, Bird is the Worm (January 2015)


This is a bit of a monster. The David Mengual Free Spirits Big Band is a big Big Band—27 musicians—with impressive musical scope, mixing improvisation with written charts, original pieces with tunes by some of the best known and most respected composers of the last 300 years. Vertebrats is the band’s third album—a richly varied, ambitious recording. There’s almost 90 minutes of music across these two CDs. It’s organised into a series of six suites each of four to eight distinct tracks with individual tracks generally lasting for less than four minutes. Mengual, a Barcelona-based musician and educator, is the musical director, but arranger and pianist Toni Vaquer takes the vast majority of the writing credits.
Opening tune “Canicas” is a pretty, warm, composition featuring the horn section in aGil Evans-like arrangement. By “El Resumen” the tempo and the tension has racked up: the emphasis remains on the horns but the dominance of the lower-register instruments beefs up the rhythm and the power.
The brief Suite No. 2 begins in more contemporary territory, with an altogether freer and more angular style showcased on “La Colonia de Formigues.” The rest of the suite is calmer, combining warm, soft-toned horn parts with Vaquer’s contrastingly brighter piano. The mood continues into the opening tunes of Suite No. 3, although things move up-tempo with the drive of “Climbing The Robles Peak.” Mengual’s “Toni Melassa” features The Octet: the (relatively) small band feel of the tune contrasts appealingly with the full-on sound of the Big Band. These early moods are repeated through Suites 4 and 5. “Plaga de Ratas Siguendo a Flautista Enfermo” is another up-tempo tune, one of the most immediately enjoyable pieces on the album as Vaquer’s piano evokes the darting and scratching of the titular rats. The energetic, prog-like “Las Cronicas de Saturno” hints at things to come in the final suite, “Free Spirits Groove” makes it clear that the band can deliver a danceable rhythm when called for. The band’s left-field side is showcased on the pretty “Teo,” which features the always welcome squeaky toys as well as the voice of an excited infant (presumably Teo?). Following on from the original compositions of the preceding five suites, “Suite No. 6″ doesn’t quite work out. It’s the Free Spirits Big Band’s take on some classic rock—includingLed Zeppelin‘s “Black Dog” and “Heartbreaker” and Jimi Hendrix‘ “Little Wing.” The band certainly compete on volume with the originals (Enric Reinado lays down suitably heavy guitar on “Heartbreaker” and tuba player Amaiur Gonzalez brings a new harmonic and rhythmical approach to “Hey Joe”), but it lacks the punch of those classic rock bands—and the vocal talents of Robert Plant or Hendrix. In the company of these rockers Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Bouree en Mi Mineur” might seem out of place, but there’s a version of this to be found on Jethro Tull‘s Stand Up (Island Records, 1969) and of all the parts of this suite it’s the one that best fits Vertebrats as a whole. Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz (January 2015)


Trumpet player Iván González gathers again 17 improvisers for a conducting session that will take place on May 12th at Sala Fènix, Barcelona. A second session after his excellent album Crisis (Discordian Records 2014).


Sonia Sánchez: danza
Agustí Fernández: piano
Ramón Prats y Oriol Roca: baterías
Marc Cuevas y Àlex Reviriego: contrabajos
Julián Sánchez y Pol Padrós: trompetas
Oriol Fontclara, Tom Chant, El Pricto: saxos
Marcel·lí Bayer: clarinete bajo
Aram Montagut y Frédéric Filitrae: trombones
Amaiur González: tuba
Albert Cirera: saxo y Conducción
Iván González: Conducción


Album notes by Agustí Fernández:

“Memoria Uno es un ensemble de músicos del cual forman parte algunos de los mejores improvisadores de la Barcelona actual bajo la batuta de Iván González.
Crisis es su primera grabación.
Medio en serio, medio en broma, podríamos decir que no podía empezar mejor esta Memoria Uno que con una buena crisis.
Pero entendida en el sentido que dan los chinos a la palabra crisis.
Crisis en chino se dice wēijī y esta palabra consiste en la unión de dos caracteres, dos sílabas: wēi y jī.
Por separado estas dos sílabas significan “peligro” (wēi) y “momento incipiente o punto crucial (jī)”.
Es decir, crisis para los chinos denota el momento en que algo empieza o cambia, con el peligro que arrastra consigo este inicio o cambio.
En esta ocasión, Crisis sería el momento en que se crea Memoria Uno y graba su primer CD, y a su vez sería el momento en el que algo cambia o está a punto de cambiar en la escena improvisadora barcelonesa. ¿Qué se encuentra uno al escuchar este CD? Tres conducciones, numeradas como 4, 5 y 8. La conducción es un método para improvisar colectivamente inventado por el músico norteamericano Lawrence D. Butch Morris (1947-2013).
Conducción, o conduction en inglés, es una palabra que resulta al combinar las palabras “conducted improvisation”, improvisación dirigida.
El método consiste en una serie de signos y señales que el director hace a los miembros de la orquesta para que estos reaccionen creando una música acorde a los deseos del director.
Como los músicos tienen bastante margen de libertad para interpretar las señales del director, el resultado está siempre abierto a la inspiración del momento.
Así pues, el director también tiene que estar abierto y receptivo a lo que los músicos le propondrán para poder continuar.
Y de esta manera se produce una especie de diálogo creativo totalmente imprevisible entre los músicos y el director.
Las conducciones son el resultado musical de este diálogo.
Las conducciones de Memoria Uno en este disco ofrecen una música que está completamente viva, llena de intensos colores, altamente energética, con mucha atención al detalle, bien dirigidas y tocadas.
En ellas se combinan la complejidad con la simplicidad, la densidad con el espacio, los tutti con los soli, el caos con la estructura, el refinamiento musical con la brutalidad de la masa sonora, las capas de sonido con la nitidez de los instrumentos solistas.
La suma de 40 imaginaciones musicales coordinadas ha dado como resultado unas conducciones impresionantes. Crisis, retomando a los chinos, es un serio primer paso hacia algo que puede llegar a ser muy interesante si goza del tiempo que necesitará para desarrollarse.
Materializa algo que estaba ahí, en el aire, y que se tenía que concretar en algún momento, unas ganas, un anhelo musical, una manera de hacer música, una visión.
El tiempo de la crisis es el de la decisión, la inteligencia y la valentía y Crisis muestra en este sentido una mutación importante en la música improvisada que se hace en Barcelona.
Un paso hacia adelante muy valiente.
Hasta hace poco la improvisación en esta ciudad se hacía con la táctica de guerra de guerrillas: un concierto aquí, un pequeño ciclo allá, un disco acullá.
Pero ya no es así, ahora hay una escena bien consolidada, conciertos y ciclos semanales, sellos apoyando en su difusión, con muchos músicos participantes de diversas procedencias y generaciones.
Y Crisis es un ejemplo superior de ello. Las fuerzas improvisadoras de Barcelona se han aliado en esta Crisis.
Bienvenida sea Memoria Uno.”


Martes 12 de Mayo / 21:30h at Sala Fènix 

C/ Riereta 31, Barcelona

Photo by Elena Márquez