T he Racalmuto sextet is a project created by spanish saxophonist and composer Miguel Malla initially dedicated to the recreation of the music by composers Raymond Scott and John Kirby, with a growing number of original pieces and arrangements by some members of the band.
Miguel founded Racalmuto in 2002 in Madrid when he was introduced by Nacho Mastretta to the music of Scott and Kirby.
Kirby’s and Scott’s bands were very popular in their day (mid 1930?s), although they also suffered incomprehension and rejection by some critics and musicians.
In their original compositions, Racalmuto has sought to absorb all these influences and to recreate a wonderful music that seems almost to be forgotten these days. Raymond Scott’s purpose was to “write music people would like the first time they heard it” and today it is difficult to find music as sophisticated and yet as amusing as his.
The original spanish line up has experienced some changes since its foundation consisting now of David Herrington on trumpet and vocals, Juan Luis Ramírez on clarinets, Javier López on piano, Pablo Navarro on contrabass and Daniel parra on drums, as well as Miguel on saxes, clarinet and vocals. Former members include Pascual Piqueras who played trumpet and piano since the beginning as well as penning some of the best pieces of the repertoire, Marco Cresci who was also a founding member and played clarinets as well as composing some of the tunes of their first cd, Santiago Rapallo who played drums from 2004 to 2008 and Tony Heimer who was the first pianist for a short time.
The six musicians have a wide experience in the jazz, pop and classical fields and have collaborated with artists and bands as diverse as Barry Harris, Jorge Pardo, Perico Sambeat, Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra, David Murray’s Big Band, Macy Gray, Ned Rothenberg, Kenny Wessel, Los Panchos, Nacho Mastretta, Big Band de Jerry González…
In 2006 they released their first album with music by Scott, Kirby plus six original tunes with the independent label Subterfuge Records. In 2010 a second recording followed edited by Zakopane Records with collaborations by Nacho Mastretta and Norman Hogue. During all these years they have toured extensively throughout Spain and abroad and have recorded several film soundtracks composed by Miguel Malla.
Miguel moved to New York City in 2012 and after meeting and playing with some of the city’s finest musicians decided to start a NYC edition of the band. The NYC line up comprises six experienced and creative players who are very familiar to Scott’s and Kirby’s music.
ew York Line up
Miguel Malla – Tenor Sax / Alto Sax / Clarinet / Vocals
Dennis Lichtman – Clarinet
Gordon Au – Trumpet
Art Bailey – Piano / Accordion
George Rush – Contrabass and tuba
Clem Waldmann – Drums