Hristo Yotsov speaking about "the jazziest jazz" and Jazz Cats 2 album


On March 14, in Sofia Live Club, Hristo Yotsov and his quartet will present Jazz Cats 2 - a sequel to the group's highly successful first album. "Cats" is the nickname the jazz musicians use themselves, as they see similarities between the lords of rooftops, nightlife, being inspired by spring and each new beginning, curious and spontaneous...

“We started out as a club project - we just played together, united by common interest in bebop. A specific reason to assemble this formation became saxophonist Arnau Garrofé Farràs, a Spanish who has been living in Bulgaria for several years now. I heard him playing one night and decided that we should work together," drummer Hristo Yotsov, who is author of the music in both albums, says. The Jazz Cats have already been well known to the club audience in Bulgaria. The songs from the first album have been performed at almost all major Bulgarian festivals. Recently, the project has been included in the catalog of a major American company with representation in Europe.

“I knew we had to record a second album," Hristo adds. “It is more fusion-oriented, so to speak. The music, in my opinion, is understandable, meaningful. I'm also proud of the sound we achieve in my studio. There are bright prospects ahead of the project, and this is very inspiring to me, confirming my belief that when a person is stubborn enough, there is always a way to get things done. There are many good musicians in Bulgaria who make quality products and it is high time the world learned about them. For some time I have been chairman of the Bulgarian Music Association – an association of performers in Bulgaria. My main goal and dream is getting in touch with major world networks and becoming integral part of European processes.

We recorded this album in February. It took us 2 days of work. There is a big difference between recording jazz and pop albums. Jazz musicians either get it right in 1 or 2 attempts or do not do it at all. The sound is absolutely natural, concert-type sound and studio processing was delicate. Musicians are the same: Arnau Garrofé Farràs – tenor and soprano saxophone, Lyubo Tsanev – piano, Mitko Karamfilov – double bass and me. The program is entirely new. It would be difficult to distinguish only a few titles, but if I had to do it, I would first choose Giant Cats - a typical swing tune, the style that brought the band together. This is the ‘jazziest jazz’.

The piece ‘Red Moon Cats’ sounds a little bit like R&B, but at the same time it reaches the level of ecstasy and is the most theatrical piece of music. Imagine a cat, hypnotized by a red moon, and a mantra bringing it gradually to ecstasy. The third piece plays on the theme of oriental dances. Jazz musicians experience aesthetic disagreement with this type of music, but in fact, it's the rhythmic formula of the world. We will find it in music all over the globe - in Cuban, Indian, African, European music, Rumba, Bolero... Last year, at a gathering in the village of Varvara, I listened to music in a similar rhythm performed by the fire. The atmosphere it created was like nature had manifested itself into through this natural rhythm. I think Belly Dance Cats is a good piece. Moreover, we were slightly criticized over the first album sounding too American. Well, here's an ethno piece now.”

Producer of Jazz Cats 2 is Hristo Yotsov. The album will be presented at the jazz festivals in Haskovo, Burgas, Bansko, and in April and May the musicians will make two "club tours" in Burgas, Shumen, Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse, Bucharest and others. At the beginning of July, the band will play at the Jazz in the Park in Cluj, Romania. As chairman of BMA and leader of "Cats", Hristo Yotsov, together with other Bulgarian performers and producers, will participate in the Womex Festival, as well as at the Jazzahead Festival in Bremen, Germany.

English: Alexander Markov

Photo: private library

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