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Jaume de Viala — Caleidoscopi Embruixat
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-10-29

Caleidoscopi Embruixat Cover art

Spanish composer, guitarist, and bandleader Jaume de Viala is back with a second helping of inspired material following up on his 2020 debut Sonoritat de Mil Miralls. This time out, six of the album’s nine songs were written back in the 1978-79 timeframe when he was a member of the Barcelona based group Celobert Màgic, a fusion and progressive rock outfit, with one of those written by fellow band member Salvador Avià. The remaining three compositions were written in 2020-21, with one of those, “Les Jordies,” presented twice, once with Spanish lyeics and again, as a bonus track, with English lyrics (and a different singer). Jaume de Viala’s crew this time includes numerous players who should be familiar to regular readers of Exposé, with guitarist Dušan Jevtović doubling as co-producer. Drummer Asaf Sirkis, bassist Bernat Hernandsz, keyboardist Vasil Hadžimanov, percussionist Aleksandar Petrov, and lead singer Judit Cucala on the three cuts that feature Spanish lyrics (male singer Arnal Giordani does the English language version of “Los Jordies”). In  addition there are a number of guests joining on this track or that, on backing vocals, flute, clarinet, flamenco  guitar, bass, electric guitar and more. Much of the album is either instrumental or instrumentally oriented, though the opener “Sota el Sord Embat del Mar” is a beautiful reworking of a piece from ‘78, with Cucala singing and lyrics by Elvira Pascual. “Cavalcada per la Nocturnitat Arabiga,” another one of the older pieces, takes off after that, a powerful fusion number featuring a strong Spanish flavor and wordless voices. With the third track “Llangardaixos a les Portesde l’Alba” we finally get to one of the tunes written in the relative present, again with a light fusion flavor, piercing guitars, and backing wordless vocals. “Mel I Fel” is a relaxed jazzy piece again featuring Cucala’s voice and lyrics by Pascual, one of the album’s many standouts, with the rest of the group firing on all cylinders. The eight minute “Calvet 1979” is another standout of the progressive rock variety, as it flows through a number of changes that reflect its unique Spanish heritage. No question about it, Calidoscopi Embruixat is an outstanding collection of superb tunes reflecting de Viala’s compositional prowess.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Dušan Jevtović, Vasil Hadžimanov, Asaf Sirkis, Jaume de Viala

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