Valencia has much to recommend it; astounding architecture, rich history (good and bad, but always interesting), it's own language, great food, a beautiful beach, baking 35 degree Celsius heat, very cheap beer, and best and most surprisingly of all, a vibrant and flourishing jazz scene. Three venues should be at the top of your list of places to see live music, including Black Note and Cafe Mercedes, but the winner for the week spent there is clearly the excellent Jimmy Glass.
A superb venue, it's a narrow slither of a place, that oddly doesn't feel small or cramped, and comes with a well-stocked bar that even does it's own cocktails named after famous venues. I tried a good deal of them, and can definitely recommend 'The Blackhawk' (home of one of my favourite Miles live recordings).
But enough about the venue. On the night of July 19th we manage to catch Palau Cesarini Asensio, a local piano trio, live in the act, and despite me being the group jazz fan, they effortlessly won over the remaining four members of our party in no time at all.
Palau Cesarini Asensio are made up of Albert Palau, Alex Cesarini and Miguel Asensio, on piano, bass and drums respectively, and they clearly have been playing together for a very long time, such is the effortless interplay and joy that emanates from the stage when they play. Playing mainly from the book of standards, classic tunes come with familiar and recognisable melodies, but the group expand on everything adventurously in a lightly yet hugely infectious swinging style, ensuring they keep everything concise and fast-moving.
In terms of style they tried out a little bit of everything, but kept it light and zippy ensuring the audience were hooked, but with two notable and more adventurous exceptions. The first was the set-one closing tribute to Brad Mehldau, whom Cesarini through my tenuous grasp of Spanish I was able to make it is clearly a fan of. Playing Radiohead's 'Exit Music (For A Film)', they played it close to the original Mehldau interpretation, and garnered a rousing round of applause from the packed club.
The second highlight though was a pure killer. Albert Palau, though clearly the lead solo player, was for the most part of the show interplaying as part of the collective, rather than dominating the stage, but for just over five perfect minutes he laid down a beautiful solo performance that held simply wowed the audience. Almost like a condensed Keith Jarrett performance, it moved through distinct and different increasingly romantic passages, that just built and built until gently winding down, first to pure silence, and then rapt applause. Even the two dragged-along non-jazz fans in our group loved the piece.
Great venue, great band, dangerously unmeasured cocktails, a perfect night out. All three come highly recommended.
You can check out Jimmy Glass's website for more details at : http://www.jimmyglassjazz.net/