Andrea Motis and Joan Chamorro CDs Reviewed by Paul Goddard

Andrea Motis, Joan Chamorro & Scott Hamilton

I consider myself fortunate to have had two CDs featuring Andrea Motis amongst my Christmas presents, and think them so good as to deserve to be better known,
hence this joint review.

Joan Chamorro and Andrea Motis ‘Feeling Good’

The earlier release with 16 tracks recorded in 2012
Andrea Motis/Joan Chamorro Quintet featuring Scott Hamilton‘Live at the Jamboree’. The more recent, with 12 tracks on both CD and DVD, recorded in 2013. My initial reaction was to feel slightly disappointed with the former, which has few long tracks and too  many very short tracks, a mix of live and studio recordings with various groups and bands. But sheer delight with ‘Live at the Jamboree’, which I immediately felt would make my own personal ‘top 100 CDs’.
The Artists
Joan Chamorro is a Catalan Jazz musician and educator, and the driving force behind Barcelona’s Sant Andreu Jazz Band, from which he has introduced quite a number of young proteges to the Jazz world. He  himself mostly plays Bass and Saxaphone.
Andrea Motis is the first of those proteges to emerge on to the European Jazz scene. She considers herself a Trumpeter first and a Vocalist second, but in my view has also long been good enough to be a jazz professional on her third instrument, the Saxaphone!
The Andrea Motis/Joan Chamorro Quintet have now played together for a number of years and are featured on both CDs. Three fine musicians, Ignasi Terraza (piano & organ), Josep Traver (guitar), and Esteve Pi (drums), make  up the quintet.

American Scott Hamilton (Tenor Sax), a truly international star, has been described as “a brilliant swing musician, unfortunate to have been born just as  Swing was pronounced dead and buried”!  Judged by his  longevity and popularity, a pronouncement he has proved premature!

“Feeling Good” CD
Featuring 15 songs in 16 tracks, with Lover Man repeated with very different backings. I guess it is no bad thing to hear the closing bar wishing for more. “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You”  are each of a length typical pre-war 78rpm singles, which may help if you wish to compare Andrea with either Ella’s or Billie’s recordings as teenagers, but both leave me desperate for more of these delightful songs.
Whether somewhat ‘pop’ such as Feeling Good, or Hallelujah, or a-possibly-best-ever-version-of Moon River, or standards such as Lover Man, this CD includes some absolute gems. The studio version of  Lullabye of Birdland  is worth a special mention for the double tracking  with Andrea backing her own vocals on Trumpet and Joan on both bass and sax. More of the same, please?
Oddly, having stated that singing comes second, Andrea only plays trumpet on three tracks!

I suspect it’s by now evident this CD has grown on me. Not quite ‘all-time top 100’ but not that far short, and certain to be much played. Right to have both versions of Lover Man – I too could not choose!

The cardboard and plastic CD sleeve is effective, and the CD sleeve-notes booklet reasonably comprehensive, considering they were written in Catalan/Spanish with English translations added. It is good to see all  the backing artists  named and depicted, and the production team also given credits.

‘Live at the Jamboree’  CD and DVD
Great value when you take the included DVD into account, with (including applause) over 72 minutes of richly-varied high-quality ‘modern-mainstream’ Jazz, with every single track deserving to be included.

I like the entire content of this CD, with my choice of stand-out tracks being Summertime (here a lullabye, as originally intended by Gershwin to open his Jazz-Opera ‘Porgy and Bess’);  Lullabye of Birdland with it’s wonderful solos, even if the piano intro (which seems to owe more to Bach and Jacques Loussiere than to George Shearing) may be over long at nearly two minutes and the excellent version of My Baby Just Cares For Me. The tracks that took a little time to warm to were  Some Day my Prince Will Come and the quirky Moody’s Mood for Love.

On the instrumental All Too Soon, both Andrea (alto sax) and Scott Hamilton (tenor sax)  play masterfully. Throughout the CD,  Scott, evidently enjoying himself, has never played better. The entire CD is peppered with excellent solos, with some of the trumpet solos by Andrea compatible to those of Miles Davis around the time he cut Kind of Blue.

So has my initial opinion changed at all?  Yes, this CD  now makes my personal top 20 and is a joint favourite with the likes of the award-winning  ‘Ella in Berlin’.

The cardboard sleeve is my one gripe, with the CD and DVD not retained within it and nowhere for the sleeve-note booklet to reside; solved somewhat crudely by an elastic band. The dual-language sleeve-notes include these quotes from pianist Ignasi Terrazo ‘it is for me,  the best and most Jazzy recording so far’ and ‘the best is yet to come’. 

Where to buy ?
A word of warning! Some internet sellers offer these CDs at prices bordering upon daylight robbery.

Prior to postage, the CDs are offered at reasonable prices in Spain, namely 14 Euros for the ‘Feeling Good’ CD, and 17 Euros for the ‘Live at the Jamboree’ CD + DVD. You could get two of each sent from Spain for the price charged for ‘Live at the Jamboree’ by one Amazon supplier. See what I mean – sheer daylight robbery!

Of course, some UK suppliers charge a quite reasonable mark-up for doing the importing for you, but please check first.

Alternatively, if you do not require next-day delivery, go to where you will be buying from the Motis family’s own website with some of the profits being fed back to the Sant Andreu Jazz Band to help develop more upcoming Chamorro proteges. Live music is the Motis family’s first priority and helping to present concerts may occasionally delay dispatch for a day or two.

Paul Goddard
([email protected])
March 2017

Editor’s Note: It is not usual practice to feature CD/DVD reviews on Jazz&Jazz, but in this case, I was persuaded by Paul to make an exception in view of Andrea’s remarkable talent and Joan Chamorro’s wonderful work with his talented, young Sant Andreu stars – regularly featured here on Jazz&Jazz and on Jazz&Jazz YouTubes. The photos used in the post are freeze frames from Joan Chamorro/Andrea Motis YouTubes.

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  1. Doug Potter says:

    I have several CDs and DVDs of this wonderful group, you are correct sir they are simply brilliant and Andrea’s latest “Emotional dance” is a knockout.

  2. Paul Goddard says:

    If I have a regret, it would be that I do not have them all, though these two may well be the best so far.
    There are a few tickets left for the UK Album Launch of ‘Emotional Dance’ at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on the 20th and 21st of this month. Hope you will be there: I shall be on the 21st..

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