11:45 – 12:30
Can jazz save lives?
The pianist Albert Marquès will discuss Freedom First, his groundbreaking collaboration with writer, activist and poet Keith LaMar, who has spent the past 30 years in solitary confinement on death row in Ohio for a crime he didn’t commit. Freedom First began as a concert series in 2020, in which LaMar performs live by phone from the Ohio State Penitentiary, melding his electrifying spoken word poetry with contemporary jazz played by a stellar group of international musicians. Since then, Freedom First has performed for audiences on three continents to wide acclaim, raising awareness of LaMar’s cause and to the wider issue of incarceration and the death penalty around the world. In 2022, Marquès and LaMar released Freedom First (Say It Loud Records, 2022), the first ever album by an artist from death row. This September Marquès published El jazz suena en el corredor de la muerte with the prestigious Editorial Planeta, which explains Keith’s situation, the genesis of Freedom First, and how jazz is the catalyst that will lead to his freedom.
[MUSICIAN AND ACTIVIST, SPAIN]
Albert Marquès is a pianist, composer and activist. Influenced by the local punk scene in his hometown of Granollers, Spain, as well as jazz recordings by musicians such as Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, Michel Camilo and Herbie Hancock, he graduated from the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona. In Barcelona he played with the best musicians in the jazz scene before moving to Paris, where he played with musicians such as Remi Vignolo and Pierre Perchaud as well as becoming the pianist in the American drummer Leon Parker’s quartet. At 25, he moved to New York City where he met his mentor Arturo O’Farrill, who hired him to teach at the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a non-profit organization that offers free Latin jazz music classes in underprivileged New York public schools. He has recorded four albums as a leader and regularly collaborates with rhythm master Ari Hoenig and flamenco singer and saxophonist Antonio Lizana, as well as with the saxophonist and composer Roy Nathanson, bassist Matthew Garrison, keyboardist Brian Jackson, double bassist William Parker and trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, among others.
CARLOS PÉREZ CRUZ
[CLUB DE JAZZ, SPAIN]
The journalist Carlos Pérez Cruz has, since 2001, been the director of the podcast Club de Jazz, a programme dedicated to jazz and improvised music specialising in in-depth conversations with some of the great national and international names. It is the only podcast dedicated to these musics which is actually financed by its listeners. He has also collaborated with the specialised magazine Cuadernos de Jazz and has directed a jazz section on the programme La Ventana on Cadena SER.
Between 2017 and 2021 he was a correspondent in the United States for the radio programme Carne Cruda and the newspapers Ara, La Voz de Galicia, and ABC, among others. He has a higher degree in music specialising in trumpet and undertook his jazz studies with teachers such as Chris Kase.