Gustavo Cortiñas – Live in Chicago (ENG review)

Desafío Candente – Street date : February 9th 2024
Gustavo Cortiñas – Live in Chicago (ENG review)

A new album by a composer, and not just any composer, but Gustavo Cortiñas, performing live with the musicians from his sextet, all based in Chicago. The sextet includes trumpeter Drew Hansen, renowned saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and educator Artie Black, trombonist Matthew Davis, bassist and composer Kitt Lyles, and pianist Joaquin Garcia.
If you were to ask Gustavo Cortiñas, he would say, “I think it’s essential for every jazz artist to release a live recording.” Throughout the history of this art form, live jazz albums have acted as a means to capture some of the purest, truest, and most organically beautiful moments of music. The mark of a truly great live recording is that it goes beyond its initial intention as a mere documentation of a performance and captures a musical moment that transcends time. This is the case with Cortiñas’ “Live in Chicago.”
For Gustavo, the sounds of his childhood in Mexico remain in his soul and heart, but don’t expect to hear Mexican jazz. Chicago has deeply influenced Gustavo, and he expresses it by saying, “The title superficially means a live performance in Chicago, but more than that, it celebrates over a decade of my presence in Chicago and the growth and imprint it has had on me, my music, and hopefully, vice versa. It’s no coincidence that the incredible album artwork created by Sam Kirk is a fusion between Mexico and the city of Chicago, representing this complicity and relationship between these two cities that mean a lot to me and that I have come to call home.”
For Gustavo, live performance is paramount, and his compositions are calibrated with that in mind. They pique the listener’s curiosity. It is music to be listened to, music that makes us dream, smile, full of generosity. The concept of the album stems from Cortiñas’ desire to explore the magic of live performances and treat his original compositions as living standards. The live recordings were captured at Constellation in Chicago, IL, on the evening of December 15, 2022. They are raw and unedited, attempting to capture the spirit of the moment—an snapshot, a moment in time.
Unedited and remarkably recorded, this ensures that we receive all the musicians’ intentions without the filter of the studio. It’s an ideal condition for a live album from my point of view, given that it is performed by exceptional musicians who have a keen sense of rhythm and orchestration. Therefore, this is a rich and remarkable recording that deserves to be among the “Essentials” for the editors of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, January 19th 2024


This album will be on sale here



Disc 1:

  1. Overture
  2. Hanaki
  3. Wish I Could Be There Now
  4. La Balada Del León
  5. Arete

Disc 2:

  1. Dialectics of Freedom
  2. Timing Is Everything
  3. The Man of Flesh and Bone
  4. La Ruta de Regreso a Guinea está en la Arcoiris
  5. Pax Britannica

Live Dates:
Feb. 1 – Merrimans Playhouse, South Bend, IN
Feb. 7 – Jazz Showcase, Chicago IL
Feb. 8 – Zinco Jazz Club, Mexico City
Mar. 8 – Merrimans Playhouse, South Bend, IN
Mar. 9 – Blue Stem Jazz, Madison WI
Mar. 15-16 – Zinco Jazz Club, Mexico City