Chilean jazz composer and bassist Daniel Gazmuri will release his first record, Camino, on November 26, 2020.
By T. G. LaFredo @tglafredo
Camino, Spanish for “road” or “path,” has indeed led through difficult terrain—namely, civil unrest and a pandemic.
In October 2019, Gazmuri and his fellow musicians gathered to record at Estudios del Maipo in Santiago, Chile. Just days later, estallido social, a civil uprising, erupted across the nation. Chileans took to the streets, demonstrating against increased transit fares, the rising cost of living, and social inequality.
“Only 3 percent of Chileans earn more than $1,000 per month,” Gazmuri says. “The rest live in total poverty. Our country is fraught with corruption, political thieves, collusion among big businesses, and tax evasion for millionaires.”
The composer remembers receiving the initial mixes of Camino, listening to the music against a backdrop of chanting crowds and burning buildings.
“It was a shock,” he says, “seeing all that was happening and feeling a new connection with the compositions and the lyrics.”
Those lyrics speak of looking within, returning to one’s roots, and longing to reconnect with the simpler things.
Estallido social raged over days and months, and soon the situation became more complicated, not just in Chile but everywhere, as COVID-19 swept the planet. Gazmuri had hoped the opportunity to perform would create a sense of unity, but the pandemic closed venues around the world and forced people into isolation.
“It has been a catastrophic time for art and culture,” he says. “We’ve been unable to perform, and we’ve had no support from the state.”
Despite these myriad problems, Gazmuri remains hopeful.
“This time has given us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and look for new ways to continue growing, collaborating, and teaching,” he says. “We are living in a historic moment. I hope this awakening brings the people better conditions and greater dignity.”
Joining Gazmuri on Camino are guitarist Mauricio Rodríguez and drummer Daniel Rodríguez. The Rodríguez brothers, well-known veterans of the Chilean jazz scene, have recorded with Kenny Kirkland and Camila Meza, among others. Javiera Abufhele also collaborates on the record, singing and playing piano. Her lyrics, written in Spanish and Portuguese, bring new color and texture to Gazmuri’s musical canvas.
Camino captures a moment in history, but it also recalls the musicians’ range of longstanding influences, including Fulano, Pat Matheny, Hermeto Pascual, Margot Loyola, Victor Jara, and Michel Petrucciani. The result is music that could be called Latin American jazz fusion—or even jazz folk.
Camino was mastered at Space Blues Studio, São Paulo, Brazil. The record will be available on all streaming platforms. CDs and downloads will also be available for purchase at www.danielgazmuri.com.