This Tuesday May 22 sees the release of Big Band composer Àlex Casssanyes’ first album. Recorded in the Auditori municipal de Vilafranca del Penedès, The Garden of Eden —the title of this debut discographic work— comprises six works by the same composer and director, accompanied by the Alex Cassanyes Big Band Project, a lineup of musicians mostly from Penedès that brings Cassanyes’ work to life.
The album is proof of the work performed between the years 2013 and 2016 from Alex Cassanyes’ compositions, where music comes from vital experiences, from emotions, and also from a strong influence of the different arts, trying to depict different moments and sensations. The Big Bang lineup is the perfect conduit to show any sound environment, from a passage with a calm scent to a bombing of visceral emotions.
The Garden of Eden is the album title, and also the title of one of the four original compositions included in the work. A suite on three movements influenced by Ernest Hemingway’s literature that grants importance to a particular note (A, F and G), where each one of them acquires the main focus of the melodies, harmonies, and textures. The longed garden adopts the metaphor of that heavenly place where the composer finds himself doing what he most enjoys in life: writing music.
Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte, based on the painting by the post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat, shows the subtlety with which a pictorial work and its creation process can be explained through music. Vaekst and Drugstore are surely the hardest sounding songs, and not in a free way: in Vaekst, a musical cell has a malformation and gradually grows while in Drugstore, it becomes a small desire of freedom against the tiring and stressed society in which we currently live.
The Garden of Eden is edited by Temps Record seal, produced by Alex Cassanyes himself, recorded and mixed by Marc Palet with the collaboration of Dani Mayor, and it has the pulse of the 18 musicians who make up the Alex Cassanyes Big Band Project, a traditional Big Band lineup with a contemporary feel to it which, by the hand of its director, is currently living a more rejuvenated atmosphere that grants new aesthetic textures to the world of music. They’ve left the post-swing era behind to focus in the elaboration of new attractive material that adapts to the current era.
Alex Cassanyes i Sabater is an ESMUC graduate, teacher and Big Band conductor in the Escola Municipal de Música Mª Dolors Calvet de Vilafranca del Penedès. His work has been recognized internationally with the 1st prize of the European Contest for young Big Band composers in Copenhagen (2013), the 1st prize in the XXVII International Contest of Composition and Arrangements for Big Band in Barga Jazz Festival, in Tuscany, Italy in August 2014, and the 1st prize in the Composition and Arrangements for Big Band Contest in the XXXV edition of the Granada International Jazz Festival, in November 2014.
In 2017 he participated in Florida (USA) as a speaker in the ISJAC (International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers) symposium, where American jazz composer Maria Schneider commented on his music.
The Garden of Eden can be acquired on digital platforms as iTunes, Bandcamp and Temps Record website.