Music is a collection of sound waves arranged in a way that affect the body cognitively as well as physiologically. The structural elements of music are usually defined by pitch, timbre, key, harmony, amplitude, rhythm, meter and tempo. Classical music is the epitome of structural perfection and basis for most music theory. Rock music and blues often follow this structure as well although simplified. However, musical structure is not as strict as once believed. Jazz and progressive jazz is a perfect example of structure re-structured. Though containing most, if not all of these elements, it is arranged in a unique way, defying theory and the traditional way of listening to music. Jazz evokes feelings of improvisation and spontaneity while still reflecting unmatched musical skill. The evolution of jazz has come a long way since the early days of jazz sensibility. Hailing from Puerto Rico, bassist and composer Joan Torres is on the forefront of progressive jazz.
Joan was recognized early in his musical career by the Berklee College of Music. They offered him several opportunities in the form of scholarships to attend their esteemed academy. He studied under several great musicians and performed in a colorful array of genres such as salsa, rock, reggae, Latin jazz, funk, classical choir and Brazilian Capoeira music. Tasting all the delicious flavors of a multi-faceted musical buffet, his mind was expanded and his skill was diverse. Ultimately, he curated his ideal group of talented musicians who comprise the band Joan Torres's All Is Fused. With Sergio González and Gabriel Vicéns on guitar, Fernando García on drums, Jonathan Suazo on alto sax, and Joan Torres on bass, they achieve a depth and fullness that vibrates deep within our auditory cortex. They also added musicians Emanuel Rivera on piano and Gerson Orjuela on drums for a few tracks, adding new spices to their already tasty recipe.
In April of 2014, they performed a few tracks from their new album at the Heineken Ventana al Jazz Fest in Condado, Puerto Rico. With the fire of performing live igniting their motivation, they started an Indiegogo campaign to fund the completion of their album. Five days after their performance at the JazzFest, they received the funding needed to record. Their album titled The Beginning was released on August 21, 2014 marking a meteoric ascension in their career. The Beginning is a genre-bending album that is heavily based in jazz but also borrows from funk, blues, classical, and even psychedelic rock. Joan's early experimentation in musical styles is apparent in this album as he takes all the sounds in his brain and arranges them into one cohesive musical journey.
The track "There Was You" pulls you in with a melancholy melody and a seductive sax. It then takes you on a 10 minute odyssey of soulful bass solos, ethereal piano, and a cadence that ebbs and flows. About halfway through, the tempo escalates, quickening its pulse like the heartbeat of a lover who catches a glimpse of his paramour. "Disruption" seamlessly follows "There Was You" as you go careening into another 10 minute journey of dizzying piano solos and funky bass lines. After "Disruption" comes "Nightmare," a dark and psychedelic song with moments of Spanish style guitar and a haunting melody. "Nightmare" is extremely cinematic in its rhythm and timbre and show's the group's open-minded approach to experimenting with sound.
Joan Torres's All Is Fused is a dynamic collection of musicians and minds. The Beginning is a timeless album, where sensibilities of the past and sounds of the future are manifested in the present. Listening to the album from start to finish is an emotional journey of melancholy moments, exciting experiences and dark discoveries (much like life, in fact). There is something deeply seductive about this album as it flows by the irregularity of human emotion. Constantly redefining genres and pushing boundaries reflects the evolution of art in all its forms. Joan Torres and his band of mystics will soon play their way into the ever-evolving history of Jazz music.