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Barcelona Traction biography
Barcelona Traction was a Spanish Jazz-Rock trio from Barcelona whose origins are to be found in the NEW JAZZ TRIO who in the early 70?s played in the Barcelona jazz clubs circuit and became a regular in perhaps the most famous venue La Cova Del Drac.

The pianist was Lucky GURI (real name Joaquim Lluis GURI) who incidentally in 1972 together with German saxophonist Peter ROAR from MAQUINA! (who?s real name spelling was Rohr but adapted it because Spanish people had trouble to pronounce it correctly) and support from other MAQUINA! members recorded the album We Are Digging The Beatles with jazzified covers of The BEATLES songs. The original vinyl of this album is quite valued by collectors because shortly after its release it had to be removed from the market due to pressure from The Beatles management because the authors rights had not been properly handled (nowadays it has been reissued in CD by the Catalan label Picap).

Around 1974 NEW JAZZ TRIO?s pianist GURI and contrabassist Jordi CLUA decide to change their acoustic instruments by electric ones and recruit drummer Francis RABASSA who was coming from the rock band Los Gatos Negros, and in May 1975 they recorded their eponimous debut album ?Barcelona Traction?.

The music is regular instrumental Jazz-Rock with the keyboards (piano, lots of Rhodes and Moog) taking the leading role on a very solid rythmic section supported by 2 guest percussionists. Nothing particularly groundbreaking but very good compositions combining strong melodies with great improvisation sections, and exquisitely performed.

Highly recommended for listeners who enjoy the jazzier and more accessible side of Jazz-Rock/Fusion.

In July 1975 they performed at the mythical (for Spanish standards) 1st Canet Rock Festival with very good critical acclaim (a short excerpt is available in YouTube).

However in 1976 Lucky GURI left to MUSICA URBANA and while BARCELONA TRACTION continued playing concerts with replacement keyboardist Josep Maria DURAN they did not record any new album and finally disbanded in 1977 with CLUA and RABASSA moving to the band of Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel SERRAT and later to the Fusion band TEVERANO with whom they released their eponimous only album in 1981.

In 1982 the original line-up with GURA, CLUA and RABASSA rejoined to release a last album ?Nano? which moved away from the rock side of Jazz-Rock and instead focussed on proper jazz with some elements...
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3.85 | 14 ratings
Barcelona Traction
2.17 | 5 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nano by BARCELONA TRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.17 | 5 ratings

Barcelona Traction Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In JazzArchives I would rate this 2nd and last album by this Spanish trio with 3 or 4 stars, this is a good Jazz album but judged as a Prog album it is neither a good one nor bad one, it's simply not a Prog album.

Their 1975 debut had also a clear Jazz foundation but it was enough soaked in the Prog- Fusion of the epoch to deserve being considered as a genuine Fusion album. Soon after releasing the debut the band's mastermind keyboardist Lucky Guri left to Musica Urbana and although Barcelona Traction continued playing for a while in the Barcelona Jazz Clubs circuit with replacement keyboardist Josep Maria Duran, they eventually disbanded without having recorded any other album.

In 1981 the three original members Guri, bassist Jordi Clua and drummer Francis Rabassa reunited to release this last album in 1982, with collaborations by Josep Maria Duran and guitarist Josep Maria Bardagi.

By the early 80's the Prog atmosphere was gone and Guri was essentially a Jazz pianist, and so it reflects in this album. The Rhodes and Moog are mostly replaced by classical piano and soft synth patches. The bass and drums are much simpler, with the bass replaced by contrabass in a couple of songs. There are a few supporting guitar solos but always in a rather muted low-pitch sound, quite in the background.

To further make it clear that this is a Jazz album, only the first three songs are original compositions by Guri while the last three are covers of classic Jazz standards.

The opener Pista Libre has a very funky and groovy constant bass line on which the syncopated piano melody and several solos develop.

Traction Rhapsody No.1 is the kind of music you could hear in the lounge bar of a cruise boat, it starts with a very good melancholic piano intro and grows in intensity, towards the end it even has an interesting energetic section which can be considered as a short drum solo on the base of the other instruments.

A Trio is pure pre-bob Jazz. Piano, contrabass and drums played with brushes, transporting you to some dark Jazz Club in a basement of New York in the late night hours, the air filled with cigar smoke and scents of bourbon. Very good but certainly not Prog-Rock.

The next three songs are covers. Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard has the trumpet replaced by Rhodes for the melody and acoustic piano and some guitar for the solos.

Yesterdays is a standard from the 30's by Jerome Kern extensively performed by the likes of Art Tatum, Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitgerald. In the beginning it respects the original slow tempo but then shifts to a faster latin-like rhythm.

Finally Blues In Elf by Don Ellis is a quintessential blues with only the particularity that it's on a 11/8 beat. Like all good Jazz covers these last three pieces are played with an own take at them, not just recreating the originals.

If you like melodic Jazz this is a good album, but you will not find any Prog in here.

 Barcelona Traction by BARCELONA TRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.85 | 14 ratings

Barcelona Traction
Barcelona Traction Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Uncomplicated and melodic Jazz-Rock can still be a great listen.

The eponymous debut album by this Catalan trio can be probably better defined as Electric Jazz than as Jazz-Rock, partly because there are no guitars, but it can still be very groovy and nearly rocking at times. We have a very solid rhythmic section with Jordi Clua at the bass and Francis Rabassa at the drums supported by 2 guest percussionists, while all the melodic and soloing work is taken care by keyboardist Lucky Guri, with predominance of acoustic piano and Rhodes and some Moog here and there for the atmospheres and some lead lines. It is completely instrumental.

The music is very accessible and melodic and conforms for the most part to classical jazz structure with alternating melodical lines and improvisation, but it shows strong and tasteful musicianship and it is performed skillfully. Actually Lucky Guri continued his career focusing on proper jazz and became perhaps the most respected jazz pianist in Barcelona.

The opener 'Has vist passar els ocells' (You have seen the birds passing) is perhaps the worst song from a prog listener perspective, with a very sweet and accessible, relaxed- tempo melody and improvisation in Rhodes. This could be played in a cruise boat. Still it contains quality details in particular in the apparently simple but subtly great rhythmic section.

'Modulacions' is proper modern jazz. It starts with 2 minutes of groovy piano introduction after which powerful and syncopated drums and bass join, and gradually develop into a fast jam with a great piano improvisation ending in typical jazz structure with a coda to the melody for the last half minute.

'Estudi en Afro' has another beautiful piano intro until the rhythm section enters to form a pattern of alternating 7/8 and 4/4 beats on which Guri deploys more the synth for the melodical lines and soloing. Around the middle it gets groovier with the addition of latin-like percussions and a Rhodes improvisation and ends again with a coda back to the main melody.

'Sudamerica' has many interesting tempo changes, it starts with soft Rhodes and soon drums and bass join forming an accessible mid-tempo tune alternating melody and improvisation, but as from 2m00s the structure gets more complex with constant tempo switching between slow and fast, some wah-wah bass soloing and a gradual crescendo ending up with frantic piano soloing. Great stuff.

The closer 'Foc I Pluja' (Fire and Rain) is a very loose interpretation of the song by James Taylor and probably the most adventurous track. After an atmospheric introduction the bass starts a simple and repetitive but very catchy line and the melody is introduced in Rhodes, but quickly develops into a long improvisation. Around 5m15 we have a melodical break and a return to improvisation, this time with added percussions, and a final melodical break returning to the atmospheric introduction theme and song melody line.

There is nothing groundbreaking in this album and it will not appeal to listeners looking for the more complex or heavy side of Jazz-Rock, but I find it a real pleasure to listen to and I highly recommend it to those who can enjoy straightforward but impeccably composed and performed Jazz-Rock leaning more to the Jazz that to the Rock.

Shortly after this album Lucky Guri moved to Musica Urbana and although the band continued playing for a while with Josep Maria Duran as keyboardist they did not release any other album and eventually broke up around 1977. The original line-up with Guri rejoined and released a 2nd and final album in 1982 titled Nano which I do not have but reportedly moves further away from the Rock side and deepens in proper Jazz with some funky and Cabaret music elements.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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