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Musica Urbana - Musica Urbana CD (album) cover

MUSICA URBANA

Musica Urbana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.72 | 6 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gerinski
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Super-Classical-Fusion by this short-lived but highly influential spanish band.

Band leader Joan Albert Amargós was a classically trained musician and after the Musica Urbana prog adventure in the mid 70's his career has been dedicated to contemporary classical music, mainly as composer and as arranger for many artists. His "Northern Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra" was nominated for the 2007 Grammy in the category of Best Composer of Contemporary Music.

But in 1975 he was 25 years old and the music world around his generation was Prog and he wanted to have his own take at it, so he set to assemble a supergroup (within the limited scope of the local spanish scene, that is) to play the ultimate Fusion, a real blend of Jazz, Rock and Classical music. He recruited 5 ex-members of Maquina!, one of the most acclaimed Catalan bands in the early 70's, but keyboardist Enric Herrera and guitarist Emili Baleriola quitted after a few rehearsals, while bassist Carles Benavent (who would later play with Chick Corea and extensively with Paco De Lucia), guitarist Lluis "Luigi" Cabanach and drummer Salvador Font stayed for the project. Amargós was a multi-instrumentalist and a very fine keyboardist himself but in order to get everything right he also recruited the great pianist Lucky Guri from Barcelona Traction as guest for their debut album and live tours.

Musica Urbana fused Jazz-Rock with traditional Spanish music and Classical music and quickly became regarded as the most serious and professional catalan band of the time. The album cover already gave some hints with excerpts from the scores of several operas and zarzuelas, but there is also a lot of genuine electric Jazz-Rock in here as well. The instrumentation is dense, with assorted keyboards, winds, strings, clavinet and the distinctive castanets, the hand percussion instrument played by flamenco female dancers, played here by Amargós sister Aurora which enhance the spanish feel. The result is a highly eclectic type of Jazz-Rock with strong Classical music influences, played with outstanding skill. Their virtuosism is not shown via ultra-fast scales or solos but by the precision and deep musicality they constantly display and the thoroughness of the arrangements.

All the compositions are by Amargós except one track "Font" by bassist Carles Benavent, and all of them are amazing, with similar spirit although each one has its personality, full of tempo changes, fills and breaks, shifting from energetic electric Jazz-Rock to gentle Classical atmospheres to mediterranean popular music.

This is a Fusion masterpiece and I have no doubts in giving it the top rating.

Their 2nd and last album Iberia is even more eclectic with an even stronger contemporary Classical music component, some big-band music and what we could call film-music, another masterpiece in my opinion even if still more detached from conventional prog-rock.

Gerinski | 5/5 |

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