After graduating with honors in Castilla y León Conservatory, one of the leading music schools in Spain, Daniel García Diego was awarded with a scolarship by AIE (Spanish Artists Association) to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In Berklee Daniel expanded his concepts on Jazz and improvisation, thanks to the tutelage and good advise of masters Danilo Pérez (Wayne Shorter, Dizzy Gillespie...), John Patittucci (Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter...), Johanne Brakeen
(Joe Henderson, Stan Getz...), Ray Santisi (Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon...) or Dave Santoro (Jerry Bergonzy). Daniel is awarded with Berklee´s Best Jazz Performance Award in 2011 and invited by the great Danilo Pérez to preset his music as a main artist in Panama International Jazz Festival where he receives rave reviews by critics and audience.
It was Danilo who encourages Daniel to explore the fields of his most close-to-the-heart music worlds: Flamenco and Spanish traditional music, wich he always listened as a child and grew up with. And Jazz, wich he always loved and studied. So, Daniel started an exciting and deep journey to the cores of those musical worlds to research how those two musical arts can be blended and fusioned to a deeper level beyond the apparent.
Daniel García Diego presents his first release as a leader “alba”, the result of
this research, with collaborations from some of the best Spanish based musicians as Jorge Pardo (Pacode Lucía, Chick Corea...), Alain Pérez (Paco de Lucía, Irakere...), Ariel Brínguez (Irakere, JavierColina...) among others. The foundation of this work is try to redefine the concept of fusion between Spanish Traditional Music, Jazz, contemporary music and even rock, all from scratch. The result is an eclectic but full of coherence work in wich the boundaries between all those kinds of music become blurred, with improvisation as the thread that tights everything up.
Daniel has played and plays with some of the greatest musicians in America and Europe, as Arturo Sandoval, Greg Osby, Jorge Drexler, Javier Colina, Jorge Pardo, Antonio Serrano, Guillermo McGill, Perico Sambeat, Alain Pérez, Eguie Castrillo, Ariel Brínguez and Maureen Choi among others, being one of the most in-demand names in vibrant Spanish jazz scene and becoming “the supernova that is going to set the path of the present and future of flamenco-jazz”, according to the words of guru Spanish music critic Pere Pons.
Daniel is presenting “alba” (wich means “dawn”), in trio, along side with fellow musicians Reinier Elizarde (Avishai Cohen, Alfredo Rodríguez) on bass and Michael Olivera (Alfredo Rodríguez, Iván Melón) on drums, two of the most talented and creative musicians in Spain scene. In words of Daniel:
“I like to think of the trio as a tridimensional space in which each of us is an axis and through which you can move freely. When we are playing, we try to focus in the “intense listenig” of the music we are making. We are constantly changing information and reacting to that. It is like making a musical
sculpture in real time. A very intense experience, and we think we can make audience participate of this intensity. When this connection between music and audience happens, it is really a magical moment very hard to explain with words. The process of making music with Reinier Elizarde and Michael Olivera is evolving constantly. Each concert is an adventure that you don´t know where is
going to take you, like a road to nowhere. What matters is the journey...”
Daniel Garcia Trio
Michael Olivera / drums
Daniel García / piano, Fender Rhodes, synths
Reinier Elizarde "El Negrón" / bass
"Flamenco and jazz are brothers,” says pianist Daniel García, one of the most exciting voices of the new generation of Spanish jazz. “They have some essential things in common: self-expression, a total engagement at the instant of making music, plus the deep experience of the moment". That is how he sums up what "Travesuras" is all about: Garcia has delved deeply into the music of his homeland and has combined influences from it with the vocabulary of the modern jazz piano trio. What emerges is music which is expressive, stands on its own terms, and in which rhythmic intensity is allied with melodic richness, harmonic finesse and exceptional virtuosity.
His musical interaction with long-time band-mates bassist Reinier Elizarde "el Negrón" and drummer Michael Olivera takes place at the highest level: "When we play, we try to concentrate on 'intensive listening' to the music we are making. We constantly exchange information and react to it. It's as if we are making a sculpture in real time, a very intense experience, and we think it is possible to let the audience in on that intensity. On two of the tracks, Spanish flautist Jorge Pardo complements the trio. Pardo is a veteran of flamenco jazz who has played with Spanish musical legends such as Paco de Lucía and Camarón de la Isla, as well as Gerardo Núñez and Chano Domínguez.
Daniel García was born in Salamanca in 1983. As a student at Berklee College in Boston he was taught by Grammy-winning Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Pérez. Pérez became a mentor for García and had a decisive influence on his musical development."Music is about truthfulness and self-knowledge, says García. “Only then can you penetrate deeper into things and find your own artistic expression, and Danilo showed me the way." García's success was not long in coming: in 2011 he received the award for the best jazz performance in Berklee. He subsequently played with renowned musicians such as Arturo Sandoval, Greg Osby and Perico Sambeat.
Western classical music also helped to pave García's way to becoming an artist: before he went to the USA, he studied classical piano at the Castilla y León Conservatory in his native Salamanca, one of the top institutions for advanced music education in Spain: "While jazz is all about the WHAT, classical music focuses on the HOW,” he says "And good technique gives me the freedom to express exactly what I feel". It’s fascinating to hear how García's music sparkles and shimmers with the cadenzas, harmonies and timbres of classical music, but will then unexpectedly take a flamenco turn, dissolve into jazz harmonies or flow into a powerful improvisation. A very direct reminiscence of classical music comes in the four versions of "Dream of Mompou", based on the Musica Callada by Spanish composer Frederic Mompou.
Flamenco, jazz, classical music... and there is yet more to Garcia’s musical substance. He describes himself as an eclectic who has also ventured into rock, electronica, music of the Middle East, Cubanism, and even medieval music and Gregorian chant. "So much has influenced Spanish culture – and also left its mark on me. Pieces like ‘Vengo de moler’ and ‘Travesuras’ reflect this development."
"Travesuras" is anything but a musical patchwork. Nothing sounds randomly put together here. García often takes as the starting point for his explorations underlying harmonic-rhythmic structures and melodic phrases which derive from flamenco: there is a soleá in "Dream Of Miles" and a tango in "La Comunidad". "My goal is to bring original Spanish music into a new context through improvisation and to make all stylistic dividing lines invisible," he says. And the album’s title is to be understood in that sense. “Travesuras” means pranks, or mischief, and describes the kind of innocent, naïve, unconstrained behaviour that is often observed in children as they discover the world. “It is a lovely metaphor for what I'm trying to do: to look at the music from a naïve angle. Free yourself from expectations, let yourself drift, and just watch out whether or not something new and interesting emerges."