May 24, 2024

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The search for Jazz in the footprints of Don Quixote: Video, Photos

Who would have thought that the figure of Don Quixote would have inspired the world of jazz so much.

This is what is included in the latest issue of the magazine Anales Cervantinos of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), which, in its publication last December, offers an article that revolutionizes knowledge about the enormous impact of Don Quixote on music.

In the study entitled “Don Quixote’s Adventures in the World of Jazz: 200 Examples and a Few Remarks”, the Cervantes and Germanist Hans Christian Hagedorn of the University of Castilla-La Mancha demonstrates that the deep imprint of Cervantes’ work on music It is not limited to classical music, opera and ballet, but has also been very significant in popular music, and especially in the field of jazz.

In this work developed over the last six years, 200 jazz compositions from a total of 39 countries are detailed, with the United States in the lead with 56 pieces, followed by France (26), Great Britain (22) , Germany (18), Brazil (15), Italy (14) and Canada (11). In Spanish jazz, on the contrary, the fact that only eight pieces inspired by the masterpiece of the most universal of Spanish authors has been identified. In addition, recordings of songs and even complete albums dedicated to Don Quixote have been found in jazz from countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Korea, Cuba, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela, apart from many other places in the world.

Apart from the high number of examples, the study reveals other surprising data such as the great presence of Don Quixote in current jazz, with 66% of the compositions belonging to the 21st century, compared to 34% that correspond to the 20th century. Thus, in the last five years alone, more than 25 jazz recordings related to the Knight of the Sad Figure and the other characters and various episodes of Cervantes’ masterpiece have been published, among which, for example, Quixote by Christian Artmann stands out. (in Our Story, 2018), Folli e folletti by Simona Colonna (2018), Don Quixote – Il cavaliere dalla triste figura by Stefan Corradi Matheric Quartet (2018), Sancho Panza by Colin Edwin and Robert Jürjendal (in Another World, 2018) , Dulcinéias by Sylvio Fraga Quintet & Letieres Leite (in Canção da Cabra, 2019), Dulcinea by Ekkehard Wölk Trio (in Pictures in Sounds, 2019), Don Quixote by NÉ-K Trio (in Exit, 2020), Rossinante by Daïda ( in La passion du cri – Kyrielle, 2021), Don Quixote by Eli Degibri (in Henri and Rachel, 2022), or Quixote by Sam Kirmayer (in In This Moment, 2022).

Among the composers mentioned in this work, great names of the genre stand out, such as Egberto Gismonti, Tom Harrell, Krzysztof Komeda, Michel Legrand, Vince Mendoza and Kenny Wheeler. On the other hand, the list of musicians who participated in the recordings of these pieces includes famous jazz figures such as Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Charles Mingus, Oscar Peterson , Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Tomasz Stańko and Sonny Stitt, among many others.

One of the most notable findings of Hagedorn’s study is the striking number of jazz suites based on the Spanish novel, from Kenny Wheeler’s Windmill Tilter (1969) – with the famous Sweet Dulcinea Blue -, A Song of Don Quixote (1981) by Mitsuaki Kanno and The Ingenious Gentleman of the Lower East Side (1997) by Chris Kelsey to the works of Ron Westray (2005), Tom Harrell (2014), Simona Colonna (2018) or Stefano Corradi (2018), among others. Finally, the studio brings from oblivion great compositions that were never recorded, such as Ouverture pour un Don Quichotte (1929) by Jean Rivier and Chivalrous Misdemeanors (2005) by Ron Westray.

The work published by the prestigious CSIC magazine changes the perspective on the formidable influence of the great novel of the Spanish Golden Age in the field of music, and lays the foundations for future research on the impact of the classics of universal literature on the Jazz. And this is probably one of the greatest achievements of this innovative study on the traces of Don Quixote in jazz: there are many studies on the influence and image of jazz in literature, but until now we hardly had any major research on the echoes of literature in the world of jazz.


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