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Barcelona Traction - Barcelona Traction CD (album) cover


Barcelona Traction


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.84 | 12 ratings

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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.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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