“Extreme in ambition, expansive in vision and expressive in emotion, the album is a sonic boom, its forceful reverberations announcing an important new voice in jazz composition.”
“Gurría’s music stands as a reconfiguration of what Gunther Schuller termed “Third Stream Music”,…Schuller would have loved.”
“Three Kids Music is nothing if not ambitious and a bit over-the-top. It’s a large scale production that tapped the creative energy of dozens of contributing musicians, writers and artists. The fact that it’s executed so well, with such obvious passion is, in itself, rewarding to witness. But, in the end, it’s the success of Gurría’s music that will make one return to Three Kids Music for a deeper listen.”
SEA OF TRANQUILTY.ORG
“For complex avant-garde jazz look no further that the Gurrisonic Orchestra. The best part is there are moments of accessibility when the madness stops allowing the musicians and the listener to breathe until the next mind blowing excursion.”
THE BUFFALO NEWS
“In the tradition of truly extraordinary and very rare music, this is terrific music that is a marvelous musical genre all to itself. Gurria is clearly a man intimidated by nothing and not overly impressed by anything but his own inspiration. Bravo.”
“A whirlwind of colliding sounds and moods [,…] that leave you both exhausted and asking for more.”
“Gurria is a superb, forward-leaning composer.”
“En el ámbito de las despiadadas transformaciones provocadas por la globalización, ser un creativo o un artista o un inmigrante –o las tres cosas al mismo tiempo, como en el caso de José Gurría- supone un componente contracultural cuyo desarrollo implicará ingenio, valentía, sacrificio y fuertes convicciones para poder hacerse escuchar, pensar por sí mismo y elaborar una identidad representativa de la propia visión del mundo. En Three Kids Music su autor ha pensado a lo grande y, para dar salida a las exuberantes ideas composicionales que pergeñó a favor de este proyecto orquestal -en donde se dan cita el avant-garde, el jazz y la nueva música contemporánea– constituyó a la Gurrisonic Orchestra.”
COMPLETE LINER NOTES FROM OUR DEBUT ALBUM
JAZZ TIMES ASSOCIATE EDITOR ON THE MUSIC OF GURRISONIC ORCHESTRA
There are many ways one can listen to the self-titled debut recording from José Gurría’s Gurrisonic Orchestra, but casually is not one of them. This is music that demands your undivided attention; its generous spirit of sound envelops you, seduces you and electrifies you. It bathes you in vivid, dynamic splashes of color and texture and traverses many dispositions and emotions, from raucous, cacophonic eruptions to calming caresses. It’s not merely involving, but virtually exhausting in its embracement of the listener’s senses. This is not music to be played once or twice and filed away, as each new exposure to it reveals greater, hitherto concealed depths and layers. Surrender to it; you won’t regret it for a moment.
Everything about Gurrisonic Orchestra exudes majesty. Even at its most minimal, José Gurría’s compositions and the musicians’ immaculate execution of the countless twists and leaps, lulls and bursts project a certain indefinable eminence. Of course, a 22-piece orchestra will naturally tend to use up more airspace than a smaller ensemble but, as Gurría—who serves not only as composer but also arranger, orchestrator, director of the orchestra and, of course, powerhouse drummer—puts it, it’s an “organic” and “otherworldly” work, deliberately designed to showcase each member’s artistry to the fullest. “The listener will hear the entire ensemble’s facility with improvisation and experimentalism while simultaneously navigating every detail of the score that was written specifically for each player,” Gurría says. “I enjoy pushing the players to a point where they didn’t know they could go, and this creates excitement among them as well. There’s a challenge going on: the symbiotic power of the interpreter to the composer; it transcends style so that each and every listener can feel the intimacy and relate to this very personal music.”
From the frenzied volley that introduces the intriguingly titled “Constant Deprivation of Monetary Funds (The Beast),” the opening track, it’s apparent that Gurrisonic Orchestra is music to be experienced and absorbed wholly, not just heard. “It’s about being epic and passionate,” Gurría says of the track. Throughout the often frantic piece, brass and woodwinds, piano, bass and strings bob and weave, toying with one another, skittering and cajoling, locking into and falling far out of sync—punk-rock meets Stockhausen. It contrasts vividly with “Three Kids Music,” the lullaby that follows, “to be sung with love, compassion, empathy and all the goodness every kid in the world deserves,” as Gurría says. Then comes the appropriately titled “In Your Face,” with its stacked non-stop triplet figures within every section of the orchestra, its intensive lead playing in the string section, and its mid-tempo half-time shuffles—a wealth of flavors coming right at you.
“Ishuakara” is a self-contained world unto itself, alternately swinging and turbulent, garrulous and utterly kinetic. “It’s very sinuous, with time signatures changing constantly and difficult melodic jumps,” says Gurría. “And yet I have always heard it as a pop song—a pop song with a fanfare, that is.” That tour de force is followed by “The Finger,” which Gurría describes as “an oasis of solitude and compassion for my soul.” The text comes from José’s brother, Angel Gurría. “I asked him to do something that portrayed injustice and people taking advantage of other people,” says José. “I underscored his text with a more sublime vibe than an obviously angry one, especially as the subtext is the sadness of people looking at the glass ‘half empty’ most of the time.”
Keeping it familial, “Aquí,” featuring the orchestra’s woodwinds, is a “very pointillistic and energetic piece written for my son Camilo,” says Gurria, while “Oso” is written for his other son, Nicolás. “It was so fun to perform,” says José of that track. “Every time I listen to it, it gives me the giggles.” And wrapping up the program is “Caballo Viejo,” cinematic in scope and rich in sonic surprises. It features vocalist Dorian Wood, about whom Gurría says, “I am almost in disbelief of what a special performer he is; his frantic energy is tangible in performance and recording.”
Of course, pulling all of this together was no simple task. It fell to “Gurri,” as his friends call him, to summon up all of the knowledge and insight gained over his 25-year career and focus all of the various components of the music. Collaborating with conductor Marc Lowenstein, engineer extraordinaire Greg Curtis and co-producer Valeria Palomino, Gurría relied first and foremost on the trust he has in his team of virtuosic players. “I am not afraid to say that these might be 22 of the finest musicians on the planet, skilled in session work, orchestra and improvisational/experimental music,” he says. “Their adaptive skills are so outstanding that it allowed me to happily go back to my drumming duties during the recording process.” Which, it should be pointed out, amazingly took place within the course of a single day!
“This is exciting music for the heart and the mind,” says Gurría in summation, “brilliant musicians playing out of their comfort zone. It’s blissful music that has been life-altering to write and, I hope from the most humble of places, also life-altering to listen to.”
Exciting, blissful, brilliant, life-altering: That’s a lot of adjectives to throw around, but they all ring true. And as you absorb this music, many more will come to mind; in fact, an entire range of emotions and sensations may just wash over you. And at some point, whether at the very beginning or deep into the experience, you realize that, for all of its complexity, for all of its many nuances, there is also a surprising, welcoming accessibility to the sounds produced by Gurrisonic Orchestra. These musicians, as they go through their paces, exude an enormous amount of warmth, inviting you without hesitation to join them on their thrilling ride. You’ll want to accept that invitation—again and again.
Jeff Tamarkin is the Associate Editor of JazzTimes Magazine.
5-PAGE ARTICLE ON GURRISONIC ORCHESTRA’S DEBUT ALBUM (English)
Recording Magazine September 2014
IMPACTO USA (on-line journal edition) ON GURRISONIC’S MUSIC (Spanish)
More to come…..