Jazzy usual suspects

At first glance, Pep Sala, co-founder of the band Sau with the much-missed Carles Sabater, and one of the most representative names in Catalan rock, and Raynald Colom, an extraordinary jazz trumpet player, might not have much in common in terms of musical style. The Covid lockdown, however, prompted Sala and Colom to come together to make what ended up as Usual Suspects (L’Indi), an album with basically piano, trumpet and voice versions of songs such as Jealous Guy (John Lennon), Absolute Beginners (David Bowie), Just Like a Woman (Bob Dylan), America (Paul Simon), Ol’ 55 (Tom Waits), Echoes (Pink Floyd) and All Things Must Pass (George Harrison). “We meet often in Santa Eulàlia de Riuprimer, where I have my studio and Raynald’s parents live” , Sala explains. Whenever we saw each other in the bar we would say: “One day we have to get into the studio and have some fun”. During the pandemic, we were both quite bored, and I guess it was time to do it.”

Sala had played with Colom’s father - “an excellent clarinetist, a true master” - in the show Cants de pau at the Forum of Cultures in 2004, but never with his son Raymond, who was born in France but came to live in Terrassa at 10 and now lives in Paris most of the time. “When I arrived in Catalonia in 1988, Catalan rock was about to explode, and obviously my adolescence was quite marked by that. At the time, however, I would not have imagined that I would end up making an album with Pep Sala.”

They entered the studio not knowing what would come out of it. “It was like one of those meetings with colleagues in which you play a song and then someone plays another one”, Colom recalls. “We ended up with a list of eighty songs, but we went for those with a rich enough harmony to turn them around.” While Sala played the piano and sang songs by artists who have always accompanied him in English, Colom wanted, above all, to highlight the melody, “which is something I miss in the world of jazz”, he said. Sala and Colom will do a small presentation tour offering mini-concerts in venues throughout Catalonia.

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