If you are looking for gentle but musically pure swing albums don’t overlook Enric Peidro. He’s downright prolific, producing several worthy albums of live or studio material a year while finding time to appear on the albums of friends. And what a set of friends he has.
From his roost in Spain, he invites musicians from America and elsewhere to join him on tours of the continent. His Swingtet has backed American vocalists including Diane Witherspoon, and under his own banner he has hosted Australian singer Jessie Gordon and American vocalist Randy Greer.
In February he was joined for several shows by Glenn Crytzer and a live album will be released this June. As I write in mid- March, he is touring with American trombonist Dan Barrett, American bassist and vocalist Nikki Parrot, French drummer Guillaume Nouaux, and London based pianist Richard Busiakiewicz. He plans yet another album from the venture.
As a saxophonist, Peidro was once thought of as a backward-looking outsider with an approach and phrasing tied to the swing era. He still is- but now it’s considered a good thing. He has earned the respect of both the jazz establishment and fans who appreciate his feel for the music, big rich tone, and the obvious love he brings to his performances. He works regularly in a quartet consisting of him and a rhythm section, a quintet with sax player Ray Gelato, and his “Swingtet” of 6 to 8 musicians. It is the Swingtet that has brought his name to an appreciative audience across Europe.
And the Angels Swing was recorded at the end of Dan Barretts first tour with Peidro in spring of 2018. There were no liner notes with the release so I asked Peidro to explain their relationship and the album. His words (slightly edited for clarity), speak for themselves:
I got in touch with Dan three years ago although I’ve been listening to him for years. I have always admired his lyrical way of playing and his flawless and sophisticated sense of swing, as well as his ability to play beautiful melodic lines on his solos. I decided to invite him to perform in Spain, and after listening to some of my stuff over the internet, he accepted. Right from our first gig together we went along like bread and butter, which I have to say is very easy with a musician of his stature and knowledge.
We found out that our respective tones blend pretty well and also our musical tastes are very similar. We also share an interest in playing and discovering lesser known material, so the whole tour went along very smoothly and a great friendship developed.
When the tour was coming to an end, we thought it was a good idea to do a quick recording session, barely 5 hours at the studio. It was so easy to record with him in the old fashioned style that we both love, that is: all the musicians together in the same room, very few takes, very good vibes, and friendly atmosphere all through the session.
It’s hard to believe such a successful album was produced in so little time, and obviously without much time to plan the session.
Nine thoroughly enjoyable five to seven minute rides on titles like “Limehouse Blues” and “Deed I Do” show a roomful of veteran musicians on fine form. Peidro and Barrett are joined by Richard Busiakiewicz on piano,
Lluis Llario on bass and Carlos Gonzalez on drums. The rhythm section floats, “If I Didn’t Care” is a rhythmic highlight as is the brushwork on “Serenade to Sweden”. Barrett’s trombone is beautifully expressive throughout, and Peidro plays with amazing warmth.
The piano stretches out on “My Blue Heaven”, and a few other places, but is not very prominent overall. The title track is a highlight, and I can see why the chose it. Everything came together perfectly, on that one and on the album as a wholeAbout the upcoming release with Glenn Crytzer he had this promise of great things to come:
Regarding Glenn Crytzer, the story its a bit shorter. I invited him to come tour and record with us because lately, I was feeling the need to round out the sound of the band with a specialist on the rhythm guitar styles of the 30s and 40s. Needless to say, my now dear friend Glenn has been a more than appropriate choice: he blended with the band like he had been playing with us for years and both on a personal and musical level we’ve been along simply great.
He toured with us as a guest and recorded with me as a sideman, a live recording over two nights at a jazz club. I couldn’t be happier with the recording. Needless to say, Glen will be invited back to play with us regularly.
Enric Peidro is a man who knows how to live the good life and bring others along for the ride. It all shows through in music that expects nothing but that you smile and swing. With 14 CDs and rapidly counting he’s worth digging into.