Descarga for Bud
Release date: May 28, 2021
Descarga for Bud is the exhilarating new album from Spanish pianist and bandleader Alex Conde. A bold reimagining of compositions by one of jazz’s most enigmatic figures, Bud Powell, this illuminating 9-track set uses these bebop landmarks as blueprints for an exciting fusion of Caribbean and Iberoamerican musical lore. Available everywhere on May 28, 2021 via Spanish label Sedajazz, Descarga for Bud is the second installment in Conde’s Descargas series, the first of which was his widely-acclaimed 2015 release Descarga for Monk (Zoho).
For over a decade, pianist Alex Conde has maintained a fruitful and versatile career as a bandleader and composer. His dazzling technique and unique musical presentation has brought him to some of the most prestigious stages in jazz. Revered critic Raul da Gama says “[Conde] is a pianist whose music is sustained by the fecundity of his Spanish roots. Through it all, Mr. Conde is absolutely thrilling.” On record, Conde has cemented a reputation as an accomplished performer with an astute approach to unifying Latin jazz with music traditions from his native Spain. His adventurous tribute to iconoclast Thelonious Monk, Descarga for Monk, received unanimous praise, as did his 2018 release with Ropeadope, Origins, which explored the roots of Afro-Cuban music and jazz from a flamenco perspective. With Descarga for Bud, Conde reunites with multi-Grammy nominated percussionist John Santos and acclaimed bassist Jeff Chambers, and adds drummer Colin Douglas to the mix. These seasoned and versatile players beautifully adapt to Conde’s astute arrangements of Powell’s compositions.
On tracks such as “Oblivion”, “Parisian Thoroughfare” and the time-tested “Bouncing with Bud”, Conde’s arrangements revolve around traditional flamenco forms such as Bulerías or Soleá, on which he employs the talents of fellow countrymen Sergio Martínez on cajón and claps and flamenco guitarist Jose Luis de la Paz. Paz’s unique contributions bridge the aesthetics of both bebop and flamenco music in a particularly astounding and affecting way. The album also features Mike Olmos on trumpet who effortlessly lays bona-fide bebop lines over the bulerías arrangement of “The Fruit” and the complex and brisk “Tempus Fugit”. “Hallucinations” leans toward the classic Latin jazz idiom, while the rhapsodic melody of “Wail” is played as a joyous calypso with Jeff Narrell doubling the melody on steel pan.
In his liner notes for Descarga for Bud, Grammy nominee Julio Martí declares, “[this album] is his best work to date. Alex makes the musical universe of this bebop genius his own, and adds to it a rhythmical richness, that is at the same time sophisticated and very refreshing.”
Throughout this brilliant new release, Alex Conde demonstrates his incredible prowess as a pianist, taking inspired solos and skillfully supporting his bandmates. In his acknowledgement notes he dedicates this album to the fathers of jazz, the black American composers who created this music and who he has admired since an early age. Desacarga for Bud is a loving tribute to one of the architects of jazz, one which explores the massive stylistic potential of Powell’s oeuvre.
MORE ABOUT ALEX CONDE
Alex Conde is a highly acclaimed pianist from Valencia, Spain. He graduated from the Conservatorio Jose Iturbi in Valencia before graduating from Berklee College of Music in the mid-2000’s; he subsequently received his Masters in Jazz Piano from Queens College in New York City.
Conde has performed at esteemed venues throughout the United States and abroad, ranging from the Blue Note in New York City to the Panama Jazz Festival. He has collaborated with flamenco companies such as Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco (with whom Conde was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award in 2012) and the New York Flamenco Festival, among others. He is the director of the Piano Flamenco Institute in New York City.
His discography includes five albums as a leader: Jazz and Claps [Matt Music 2006], Barrio del Carmen [2013 AC records], Descarga for Monk (2015, Zoho), Origins (2018, Ropeadope) and now, Descarga for Bud [2021, SR]. All of Conde’s works twist jazz and flamenco piano in the form of original music and/or new arrangements.
Conde has composed music for orchestras such as the Miami Chamber Orchestra with violinist Federico Britos and guitarist Jose Luis de la Paz; the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in California, directed by Omid Zoufonoun; and his arrangements of Franz Schubert have been performed at the Symphony Space and at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.
Alex has shared stage with artists such as Vicente Amigo, John Patitucci, Eddie Palmieri, Tomatito and Diego el Cigala, among others at national and international festivals.
On Descarga For Bud (Sedajazz), pianist Alex Conde brilliantly extrapolates the complex beats and duende-suffused ambiance of flamenco music onto the sublime, turbulent compositions of Bud Powell, who transferred the linear innovations of Charlie Parker onto the piano. Read this. feature here.
" Throughout Descaraga For Bud, Conde demonstrates his prowess at the keyboard, each note landing right on top of the beat in an inspired fusion of the classic bebop lexicon with traditional Caribbean and Iberoamerican stylings. " Read the review here.
RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NET
"Mr Conde is an exceptional artist, whose musicianship and pianism are redolent of a shimmering sense of sonority and the ability to find a keen balance between poetry and intensity. With these unique qualities And an ensemble so completely attuned to his vision and artistry, it’s no wonder that we have with us an album to die for." Read the review here.
MAKING A SCENE!
"Interestingly, just for the heck of it, checked Chick Corea & Friends Remembering Bud for the selections and count “Bouncin’ with Bud,” “Dusk in Saudi,” “Oblivion,” “Tempus Fugit,” and “Celia” in the repertoire/ It might be fun to listen to each album to more fully appreciate how Conde has used the flamenco forms to breathe even newer life into Powell’s music. Conde’s piano playing throughout is so astonishingly smooth, as sensitive as any on “Dusk in Saudi” and as free flowing vibrant as any on most others." Read this review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"This is music that explores Powell’s brilliance, but also showcases the sparkle and genius of Alex Conde and his band of wonderful musicians. They bring a fresh perspective to jazz music with their own cultural beauty." Read this review here.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"..the inventive treatments and creative piano solos mostly keep the melody intact even when the tempo and rhythms are different than one would expect. The results are enjoyable and consistently surprising." Read the full review here.