Various ‘Iberico Jazz. The productions of Antoliano Toldos 1967-1972’ (Vampi Soul) 4/5

Jazz and Spain have enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration and this has ranged from pianists such as Pedro Iturralde and Chano Dominguez, flamenco-fusion such as Jorge Pardo, through to enterprising labels such as Fresh Sound out of Barcelona and its championing of homegrown talent like Perico Sambeat. The Discos Calandria label, however, is far well less known to the public save for a few connoisseurs and it is therefore a welcome discovery to find the sides contained within this compilation that are the brainchild of Antoliano Toldos. After settling in Madrid at the age of twenty, Toldos had a break into the music industry after Spanish national television placed him in charge of composing and recording duties for the test patterns between programmes. Toldos recruited top musicians such as Iturralde and began producing a series of singles on his Calandria label. The first jazz sides were recorded in 1967 and this is serves as the starting point for ‘Iberico Jazz’. Clearly Spanish jazz musicians at the time were influenced by American jazz and in particular the Blue Note label, and more generally the genre known as Latin-jazz. This is reflected in the superb grooves of the Conjunto Selif on ‘Tom Jazz’, which has a catchy rhythm in the same vein as ‘Watermelon Man’, with an impressive Freddie Hubbard-like trumpet solo to accompany it, and the percussive-heavy ‘Trompeta Loca’ with Wes Montgomery-influenced guitar licks and the feel of ‘Cantaloupe Island’. Equally impressive are Quinteto Monteliro with the compilation’s title track that takes a leaf out of the Les McCann piano book while ‘Opaco’ offers a decidely flamenco feel on trumpet and hints at what Miles Davis might have sounded like if surrounded by the cream of Spanish jazz musicians. Big band bossa permeates the length of ‘Flauta ‘blue’’ from Quinteto Diamont alongside more mainstream jazz from the collective. Conjunto Segali provide a modal flavour to the floating ‘Jazz Progressivo’ and brass a la Roland Kirk on ‘Jazz a las tres’. All in all, this is an excellent jazz compilation that will appeal to fans of jazz-dance, funky jazz and plain old opened-minded jazz alike.

Tim Stenhouse