SPANISH SYMPHONIC JAZZ
The Spanish National Jazz Orchestra Foundation (FONJAZZ) was born from Ramón Farrán’s desire to preserve the heritage of Spanish and Latin American music. He looks to musicians and composers whose music is in danger of being forgotten, as new genres enter the international market and change our musical landscape within the ever-changing infrastructure of the music industry.
The Spanish National Jazz Orchestra (ONJAZZ) is the tool through which the Foundation aims to change all this. Its main objective is to offer a fresh new look at Spanish and Latin American jazz creators, while enriching their work with musical exchanges with other cultures. This orchestra presents a new way to explore this musical language, and is living proof of the incredible amount of talent Spanish and Latin American jazz artists offer today.
Ramón Farrán sees this orchestra as a great platform for this new language, Spanish symphonic jazz, from which to introduce itself to the rest of the world.
For Ramón’s biography, go HERE
The ONJAZZ orchestra consists of the following instruments:
5 saxophones (one doubling up with flute + ney, African flute)
Flamenco vocalist (cantaor)
Mezzo-soprano jazz vocalist (soloist)
2 double basses
There is also a smaller group formed by the ONJAZZ soloists, known as Solistas de la ONJAZZ and Grupo de Cámara de la ONJAZZ.
Their live repertoire includes the following titles:
Jaleos (El Sur- Al-Andalus- Pau- Loa-nana), Jardín de Granados (Homage to Enrique Granados: (El Sol-El Jardín-La Mar-Despedida), Albenizada (Homage to Isaac Albéniz: Presto-Adagio- Presto), Entre dos orillas (Magreb-Verdiales), Orgía de Líbar (Andalucía Blanca-Mi soleá- Baile- Sueño), Astur (Homage to Isaac Albéniz: Neblina-Tormenta-Calma-Tierra-Recuerdos de un marinero), Laia (Africa-Blues), Alhambra (Homage to Granada), New Latin (Homage to Latin America), St. Petersburg Blues (inspired by the Neva River), Old Havana (Homage to old Cuba), Alma (Dedicated to my Girl), Albenizada (written for Albéniz on the centenary of his death), Lulu (Dedicated to my Girl), Medley of 1940s standards, Medley of Cuban boleros.
The ONJAZZ includes many of the top musicians in Spain. Stars in their own right like Horacio Icasto, Jaime Muela, Carlos Carli, Kevin Robb, Alejandro Pérez, Paco Ibáñez, José Pardal, Miguel Angel Chastang, Chris Kase and Chema Sáiz have all performed with the orchestra. The ONJAZZ has also invited various guest stars to perform live with them (Flamenco dancer Antonio Canales, rock star Miguel Ríos, violinist Ara Malikian, the iconic Jerry González, Flamenco-jazz pianist Chano Domínguez and percussion legend Roberto Pla) and to take part in recordings (Alain Pérez, Paquito d’Rivera, Jorge Pardo, Luisito & Robert Quintero, Nono García, Anxo Lorenzo, Jaime Vázquez, Germán Díaz and Randy Brecker amongst them).
Ramón Farrán founded the ONJAZZ in 1999. It was presented officially to the media in the SGAE Auditorium (Spanish Society of Authors) in May 2000. On June 15, the first concert took place in the striking amphitheatre of the Ilustre Colegio de Médicos de Madrid, with Chano Domínguez as a special guest. They performed pieces by Ramón Farrán, Miguel Blanco and Chano Domínguez.
Since then, the ONJAZZ has performed in a variety of settings. There are too many concerts, presentations and events to mention – below are a few highlights.
They have played at the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid several times and they closed the Ciudad Lineal Jazz Festival in de Madrid in 2000. In 2001 they performed at Madrid jazz venue Clamores, barely fitting on stage and premiering the piece “Agur Jaunak“ by Iñaki Askunze. That year they also played at the spectacular Bellver Castle in Palma de Mallorca, where they debuted the piece “Entre dos orillas” (a journey through Majorcan folk music) and “Jardín de Granados”, in memory of the great Spanish composer Enrique Granados. In 2002 there are concerts in the Real Coliseo Carlos III in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the Coliseo de la Cultura de Villaviciosa de Odón and in the Teatro Cervantes de Alcalá de Henares, as part of the Festival de Otoño. In 2003, the ONJAZZ performs in the Casa de Cultura Carmen Conde, in Majadahonda, and in the Auditorio Municipal in Alcobendas.
2004 sees them going on a Latin American tour (“Encuentro Cultural de España con Colombia”) and performing in the stunningly beautiful Teatro Heredia in Cartagena de Indias and in Amira, in Barranquilla. They organise workshops and talks with Colombian composers, music students and teachers of the Universidad del Atlántico. 2006 and 2007 are mostly taken up by the planning, arranging, rehearsing and recording of Jaleos, their debut album, produced by Ramón Farrán and Clarissa Farrán.
In 2007-2008, the ONJAZZ soloists take part in an international congress in the University of Málaga and in various acts at the U.N.E.D. (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) with a special commission written for the University. There is also an outdoor concert in Madrid, “Pleno de Jazz”, as part of the all-night cultural event “La Noche en Blanco”, on a huge stage built especially for the occasion on the stairs to Congreso de los Diputados. About 15,000 people attended. In 2009 they take part in a charity event for the Women’s Association Federación de Mujeres Progresistas in the Gran Casino in Aranjuez. Later that year, there is a concert in the Leganés Auditorium of the Universidad Carlos III University in Madrid, where the piece Albenizada, dedicated to Spanish composer Albéniz on the centenary of his death, is premiered. Various courses, lectures and concerts in the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid follow, as well as concerts at various Paradores Nacionales around Spain.
On April 28, 2009, SONY Classical/Legacy Recordings launches the ONJAZZ’s first album, the double album and DVD Jaleos.
In 2010, the ONJAZZ records and releases Mujeres en el Jazz (Women in Jazz), a charity project, with the support of the Women’s Association Federación de Mujeres Progresistas and Paradores Nacionales. It’s a compilation of songs about women, full of positive and uplifting messages, and includes original songs by Natalia Farrán and Ramon Farrán (No dejes de bailar, You Don't Have to Be a Man and Nunca más), as well a few original instrumentals and some unusual cover versions of iconic songs made popular by women, such as Respect (Aretha Franklin’s sublime manifesto), These Boots are Made for Walking (a Dixieland version of the Nancy Sinatra song) or Feeling Good (an unusual Flamenco arrangement of the Nina Simone hit).
In 2010, the soloists of the ONJAZZ take part in various concerts in the Auditorio Municipal of the Ayuntamiento of Tarancón. Between 2010 and 2016 various outdoor concerts take place in the historic Medieval town of Buitrago del Lozoya, with international guests such as Ara Malikian and Jerry Gonzalez. The group of soloists continues to perform in small jazz venues like the Café Berlín, in Madrid, and the ONJAZZ in Paradores Nacionales across Spain, amongst other venues.