Two islands that dialogue. A voice, a piano and a double bass for an unprecedented trio that sails on the waves of the Mediterranean through melodica. From the Algherese Catalanism of Franca Masu to the rhythms of the Canaries brought as a dowry by Marco Mezquida (who now lives in Barcelona) passing through the Portuguese fado. A set of poetic thoughts composed in a poetic journey into history that feeds and consumes itself between the perimeter of the island coasts. An insularity which is the language and sound of the Mare Nostrum.
Franca Masu is the most international exponent of the Catalan language and ancient culture who still lives in Alghero, a land that preserves the legacy of the medieval splendor of the Catalan-Aragonese Crown. Appeared on the scene in 2000, she has released seven albums in which she denotes great versatility by experimenting with different musical pieces in style, genre and even in languages. His artistic-musical journey is particularly rich and varied, marked by a musical selection open to contamination, with compositions often aimed at the exploration of new sound territories that coexist with the strong link to the sense of tradition. In fact, from jazz to traditional Mediterranean singing, the Sardinian singer has built, disc after disc, her own highly original artistic identity that has made her appreciated by international critics. Many prizes won and participation in international festivals and reviews. Franca Masu has performed (and continues to perform) with public success in many European countries: in Spain (where she performs frequently between Barcelona, Madrid and the Valencian country), in Vienna for the Akkordeon Festival and for the ORF, in Warsaw, Hungary for the MediaWave Festival in Szombathely; in the Neumster Cathedral in Luxembourg, in the MuzikCentrum in Vredemburg, in Germany in the Festivals “Jazz around the world” in Puccheim and at the Bardentreffen in Nuremberg, in Ukraine at the Jazz Carnival Festival in Odessa and in Vinnitsa for national television; in Istanbul for the PeraFest. She toured Canada for the JazzCoast Festival circuit and for two consecutive years was invited to Argentina for concerts in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and La Plata. In 2011 she was in the 11th place of WORLDEUROPECHARTMUSIC with the cd 10ANYS (GalileoMusic).
At only 33 years of age, Mezquida shines equally as composer, pianist, improviser, accompanist and bandleader; that he is eclectic and versatile, is to name the obvious. Above all, Marco is a playful and unpredictable artist, who creates a world of his own that is at once inviting and fascinating.
Mezquida is creative and resourceful, blending influences of Keith Jarrett, Schubert, Bill Evans, Rachmaninov and Paul Bley. He lets them all in, invites them to play in his music, integrates them into his stream of consciousness.
Mezquida plays in a large variety of constellations including solo piano, accompanied by orchestras, duos and trios. His music crosses genres, including jazz as well as his original approaches to Ravel, Handel or Chopin, flamenco, or popular Latin American music. One of his most successful projects in the last few years has been Chicuelo y Mezquida, a trio that blends jazz and flamenco together.
The list of artists with whom Mezquida has shared the stage and studio is extensive. Among them, renowned figures like Lee Konitz and Bill McHenry. He has played at venues in 24 countries, including Marciac, Budapest Music Center, Conde Duque of Madrid, Jazzaldia, Jazzahead!, Kölner Philharmonie, ORF Auditorium in Vienna, SFJazz and Jazz in the Factory in Sao Paulo. The Association of Jazz Musicians and Modern Music of Catalonia have awarded him «Musician of the Year” four times in five years.
Born in Cagliari, Manolo began his musical studies at the age of 11 as a classical violinist at the Conservatory. He soon took over the bass and obtained his first high school diploma in Jazz in Siena, also attending several lessons with masters such as Dave Holland, Mirouslav Vitous and Palle Danielsson, among others. His professional career took him from Bologna to Holland – where he obtained his second high school diploma, a Master’s degree at the Hague Conservatory – to finally settle in Brussels, where he became an integral part of the Belgian jazz scene. Performs with: Ben Sluijs Quartet, ‘Toots Thielemans Quartet’, Manuel Hermia’ trio, ‘Chris Joris Quartet’, ‘Frederik Desmyter Quartet (feat. John Ruocco)’, ‘Pierre Vaiana Quartet’ and ‘Erik Vermeulen trio’, Eve Bouvens Heptatomic, and many others. Throughout this time, Manolo has appeared at various jazz festivals in Europe and Asia alongside Enrico Rava, Toots Thielamans, Charles Gayle, Marshall Allen, Roswell Rud, Marc Murphy, Jasper Blom, Ack Van Rooyen, Jesse van Ruller, Wolfert Brederode , and many others. He currently leads his own projects such as the ‘Manolo Cabras Quartet’ (J. Estievenaert/N. Andrioli/M. Patrman), ‘Thelenyon Theory’ with visual artist Claudia Ignoto and ‘Flying Nimbus’ with Lynn Cassiers. He has been part of groups such as: Gayle/Barcella/Cabras, Orange Moon, Manu Hermia Freetet, Maak Eletrik, Erik Vermeulen Trio, Lynn Cassiers ‘Imaginary Band’ & ‘YUN’, Wheels, Oriol Roca Trio, Giovanni Di Domenico New Movement, Daniele Martini Quartet, Gaspard Sicx Trio, BLOOM.