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Jarka - Ortodoxia  CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.64 | 12 ratings

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3 stars Ortodoxia is the title of Spanish jazz-rock ensemble Jarka's 1971 debut. Jarka is led by keys man Jordi Sabates, with the main focus being on his piano playing. A cohesive rhythm section completes the trio and forms a solid basis for his solos. The nine-track set list is an eclectic mix of styles, although the emphasis is on the acoustic jazz idiom.

Track 1, Osceli Rescaldat, is quite bluesy and features an infectious melody with a boozy midtempo groove. The electric guitar of guest musician Danny Somoza features prominently on this and the final track, making these two the most rock oriented cuts on the album. Sabates's pivotal organ, playing sustained chords, carries the fairly simple guitar melody along nicely. Around midway saxophone joins in with the guitar and we get a brief unison passage, before the sax brings it home. Great start to the album.

The next track, Popiada, is more urgent but equally catchy. Jordi's fingers glide over the piano keys supported on a bed of upright bass and rock-inspired drums. Resposta is very impressionistic in nature, featuring a sparse arrangement and airy themes. Piano trills, clean guitar and intermittent bass create feelings of space and repose. Track 4, Sube La Silla Roja, is another fast paced track and is one of the main highlights on the album. The piano lopes along on a swinging rhythm that includes probably the best drumming of the set. This is the longest piece on the album at 6.28, so there's even room for short drum and bass solos.

L.I.A.I is another ambient piece, featuring eerie saxophone along with splashing cymbals and subterranean drums. Noche De Pez consists of a speedy rhythm of hi-hat semiquavers and upright bass, with piano and guitar chiming in occasionally. Track 7, Retorna, is a contrapuntal dialogue between piano and organ. The melody is bright and cheeky, with it bouncing and winding continually between the two keyboards to good effect. The penultimate No Estes Cohibido is played at a relaxed tempo, with lilting piano and West Coast-inspired guitar. The album closer and title track is a real surprise, featuring dissonant, distorted guitar in the mould of Robert Fripp.

This is a fine album that deserves to be given some attention. It contains some excellent compositions that strike a good balance between acoustic jazz and electric rock. As such I feel this album would work well as an introduction to jazz for those wanting to test its waters for the first time.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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