The American Songbook is alive and well in Barcelona. I arrived late in the city yesterday due to an American Airlines delay out of New York. Once at my hotel, I caught up with Joan Anton Cararach and his wife. Joan is the George Wein of European jazz festivals—his Barcelona International Jazz Festival runs from October through December, and concerts of all sizes are sold out. I'm here only a day but I can tell you that Barcelona residents of all ages are mad about jazz (along with food and wine).
Fortunately, I was able to catch the tail-end of a performance by the Sant Andreu Jazz Band, led by Joan Chamorro [above]. It's made up of male and female Barcelona students. It's not a high school orchestra but a band comprised of very young musicians who love the music. Joan is a saxophonist and bassist who motivates the kids and inspires them to work hard, building their passion for American swing and Songbook.
Toward the end of the gig, Andrea Motis went on. Motis is a young singer-trumpeter with enormous charisma and a sultry voice. More on Andrea Motis here. More on Joan Chamorro here. More on the Sant Andreu Jazz Band here. [Cell-phone photo above of Andrea Motis at the Hotel Gran Havana by Marc Myers]
JazzWax tracks: For albums by Joan Chamorro with Andrea Motis, go here.
JazzWax clip: Here's a clip of Andrea Motis and the big band at last year's Barcelona International Jazz Festival...