Although the current jazz scene is truly exciting in terms of the large number and the quality of classical jazz groups made up of young Catalan musicians, we must not lose sight of the fact that this was a very different picture just twenty years ago. The work of the various schools and workshops where this style of music is taught has made its mark. But we believe that the greatest merit belongs to those musicians who, having begun their career in the latter decades of the 20th century and who didn’t follow the mainstream or get support from the media, chose to follow the path of classical jazz not through simple imitation but with a determination to make their own contribution to the renewal and revitalisation of the traditional language of jazz.
The Four Kats Jazz Quartet is probably the most remarkable example of this generation of daring, enthusiastic Catalan jazzmen who were then still quite young. The group was made up of musicians of truly exceptional quality, such as the versatile Oriol Bordas on vibraphone, Ignasi Terraza on piano, David Mengual on double bass and, from America, Jerry Moye on drums.
Some of them are today internationally recognised and highly prestigious musicians but during that first period as professional jazzmen, as reflected in this CD, the path they chose to follow against the mainstream was quite a risk, considering that the prevailing fashion during those years dictated that the formula for success had to come from the fusion of jazz with any other musical genre.
Leaving aside the circumstances of the time when the Four Kats first appeared and, while not forgetting the merit and courage involved in the choice they made, let’s now focus strictly on the music itself. Here we have to recognise that the contribution made by this quartet was truly remarkable and set a very high standard for those who would come after.
In the Four Kats we find the basic qualities of classical jazz: the warm expressiveness of their instrumental language (Don’t blame me, Bloi), an intense swing (Chega de saudade, Whispering / Groovin’ high, Invitation to initation) and, in the soloists’ improvisations, eloquent, attractive and consistent dialogues that are not just simple exercises in harmonic experimentation but rather that tell logical and meaningful stories that also often surprise us (Rainy day, Bloi).
In addition to all that we have said above, it is only fair to add that the group presents a sound of its very own, the result of arrangements where vibraphone and piano, often using the block chord technique, merge to produce an overall timbre of a very attractive personal quality, quite different from that of other groups with identical or similar instruments. (Modern Jazz Quartet, George Shearing Quintet). We can clearly see that the group went through a very intense and thorough process of preparation, an example of professionalism, talent and creativity.
The Four Kats Jazz Quartet is today an excellent example for our up-and-coming musicians and a focus of sheer jazz pleasure for all fans of this timeless music. (by Ricard Gili)
This is a reissue from this superb album called “Oriol Bordas – Ignasi Terraza: Four Kats”.
Recorded in Barcelona/Spain, at the Albert Moraleda Studios, on Dec. 3, 4 and 5, 1995
Oriol Borda (vibraphone)
David Mengual (bass)
Jerry Allen Moye (drums)
Ignasi Terraza (piano)
01. Chega de saudade (Jobim/de Moraes) 3.52
02. All The Things You Are (Kern/Hammerstein) 4.20
03. La Terra (Bordas) 5.43
04. Waltz for Auro (Terraza) 3.19
05. Pipo (Bordas) 2.47
06. Whispering / Groovin’ High (Schonberger/Rose/Coburn) (Charlie Parker) 5.19
07. Don’t Blame Me (McHugh/Fields) 5.23
08. Rainy Day (Bordas) 4.35
09. Burinons (Bordas) 3.41
10. Bloi (Bordas) 5.39
11. Gatush Is back In Town (Bordas) 3.12
12. Invitation To Initiation (Bordas) 3.56