Jamaica Plain Pianist Olivia Perez-Collelllmir’s Latin Jazz Album Debuting Sept. 15

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Jamaica Plain pianist and composer Olivia Perez-Collellmir debut album Olivia is debuting Sept. 15 and features musicians from all around the world.

Perez-Collellmir fielded questions from Jamaica Plain News about her new album, her musical style, her creative process, and more.

Q: What do you like best about your album?

Perez-Collellmir: This album has allowed me to branch out to musicians all over the world. Eighteen of today’s finest international artists can be heard collaborating on this recording. Musicians include instrumentalists: Barcelonian Aleix Tobias (percussion), Boston-based John Lockwood (bass) and Bertram Lehmann (drums), Miami-born José Moreno (cajón), Palestinian Naseem Alatrash (cello), Israeli Amir Milstein (flute),Argentine Fernando Huergo (electric bass),French-Mexican Leonardo Prakash (guitar), Indian Giri Subramaniam (tabla), Turkish-born Bengisu Gokce (violin), UK-born Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin), Boston-based Josh Wareham (viola), and Australian James Heazlewood Dale (acoustic bass); vocalists Judit Neddermann, Loreto de Diego, and Shradha Ganesh; and Spanish flamenco artists Ismael Fernández and Sonia Olla.

Q: How would you describe your album?

Perez-Collellmir: A diverse and nuanced collection of music spanning many of my own musical interests, that explores the marriage of flamenco music and Latin jazz with Spanish folk traditions and classical music, creating a universal sound with no musical boundaries. 

Growing up in Barcelona amongst the sounds of flamenco, along with my training studying classical piano, I have had a lifelong passion for the fusion of musical styles, including jazz. 

My album Olivia (from Adhyâropa Records) is a statement of my Spanish influences that have shaped my artistic sound and identity as a musician; the recording also makes some exotic escapes to India and the Middle East.

Q: How would you describe your creative process and how it directed the album's creation?

Olivia Perez-Collellmir: My compositions and arrangements were awarded with the Berklee Faculty award Fellowship Grant Award 2021-2022. The award gave me the springboard, the recognition and the opportunity to go to the recording studio to create my first album. It's my first full-length album! 

Produced by Grammy nominee Gonzalo Grau and recorded in 2021-22, the selections include a handful of my original songs, and arrangements of pieces by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) and Frederic Mompou (1893-1987), one of the most universal Catalan composers. The album’s emotional centerpiece, “Barcelona," is a tribute to my hometown. Classical music arrangements are performed by a small chamber ensemble laced with the rhythms of traditional flamenco music, vocals, and hand clapping.

Mompou was one of the first musicians I discovered when I was a child. My teacher Núria Bonells was her friend. So I grew up musically listening to the music of Mompou, performed by the composer's own entourage. Also Antoni Besses, who was my piano teacher later on, was from Mompou's circle. Mompou's music represents home, roots, identity, and my most personal voice -- my more Mediterranean and Catalan personality. It was clear to me that on my first record I wanted to pay tribute to him. 

The Promenades are short pieces-interludes that take you from one chapter to another of this journey, from one modality-tonality to another, from one character to another, from one style to another, from one energy to another, from one tempo to another, from one landscape of the journey to another. They connect the stages of the journey, and the different soundscapes. And they take you through an inner world of sensations and moods -- like the emotions of the human soul.

Q: What would you like people to know about the album?

Olivia Perez-Collellmir: This album is the realization of a dream, the achievement of 10 years since I started my journey in the USA, a journey of great dedication, delivery, sacrifice and renunciation dedicated completely to play, practice, study, research, compose and educate. It's the realization of a path of personal growth, and the result of the creative path of a lifetime. This record is the story of this journey. My identity, my voice and my language as an artist are on this record.

Q: How can someone get the album?

Olivia Perez-Collellmir: oliviaperezcollellmir.bandcamp.com/album/olivia or adhyaroparecords.com.I'm also performing an album release concert at Drom, New York, on October 4.