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Jose Gurria Gurrisonic OrchestraLos Angeles, CA
Gurrisonic Orchestra is a 22-piece chamber ensemble that brings together some of the most creative and innovative improvisers in Los Angeles. Gurrisonic Orchestra performs genre-bending original music, pushing the boundaries of instrumentation and style with a mix of spoken word, poetry, and multi-media, framed by through-composed orchestral landscapes with tinges of avant-garde, jazz, and classical contemporary music.
Los Angeles-based drummer/composer Jose “Gurri” Gurría, holds a BM from Berklee College of Music, and an MM and DMA in Jazz Studies from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) where he studied drums with Peter Erskine, and composition with Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer, John Clayton, and Morten Lauridsen. Gurri’s many projects have taken him to China, Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Peru, Cuba, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, and Guatemala. As drummer/percussionist, José Gurría has played with Abraham Laboriel, Howard Alden, Putter Smith, Bill Watrous, Martha González (Quetzal), Peter Erskine, Robert Gupta (L.A. Philarmonic), Vardan Ovsepian, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Moira Smiley, Mark DeClive Lowe, She-e-Wu, Daniel Rosenboom Septet, Ciaramella Consort, Debra Nagy, Victor Goines, and Justo Almario. With the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra he has played with The Yellowjackets, and Maria Schneider.
Gurri has recently been recognized as a composer/arranger of note, by the Jazz Education Network for the year 2013. In 2016, José Gurria has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society to compose a large-format, multi-movement piece to be performed in the world-prestigious Angel City Jazz Festival in the fall of 2016.
Sabian cymbals, Remo drum-heads, and Sibelius (Avid) are sponsors of Gurri’s career.
José Gurría runs a private studio for advanced composers from all over the world.
Three Kids Music Gurrisonic Orchestra’s debut album, Gurri’s primary project, was released in the spring of 2016 to wide acceptance from the specialized press.
In additions to his performances, he is available for commissions, residencies, master classes, clinics, and pre- and post-concert lectures.
A brief selection of José Gurría-Cárdenas/Gurrisonic Orchestra reviews:
“Gurrisonic Orchestra projects a sort of hugeness and importance whose portent is completely fulfilled by the quality of the music therein.” AllAboutJazz.com
“Gurria is a superb, forward-leaning composer.” Jazziz
“An important voice in Jazz Composition.” LA Weekly
“Everything about Gurrisonic Orchestra exudes majesty. Even at its most minimal, José Gurría’s compositions and the musicians’ immaculate execution of the countless twists and leaps, lulls and bursts project a certain indefinable eminence. These musicians, as they go through their paces, exude an enormous amount of warmth, inviting you without hesitation to join them on their thrilling ride. You’ll want to accept that invitation—again and again. ” Jeff Tamarkin, Jazz Times associate editor.
“Anyone who thinks that the only hugely ambitious jazz orchestras successfully mixing jazz and classical music are located in Europe needs to know about this phenomenal bunch from California and their composer and leader Jose Gurria. This is music that stays fresh no matter how many times you hear it.” The Buffalo News
“For complex avant-garde jazz look no further that the Gurrisonic Orchestra. The best part is there are moments of accessibility when the madness stops allowing the musicians and the listener to breathe until the next mind blowing excursion.” Seaoftranquility.org
“In the tradition of truly extraordinary and very rare music, this is terrific music that is a marvelous musical genre all to itself. Gurria is clearly a man intimidated by nothing and not overly impressed by anything but his own inspiration. Bravo.” The Buffalo News
“A whirlwind of colliding sounds and moods [,…] that leave you both exhausted and asking for more.” Jazz weekly.com
José Gurría: Composer, Arranger/Orchestrator, Drummer, Music Director
Mike Stever: Trumpet/Piccolo Trumpet/Flugelhorn 1
Daniel Rosenboom: Trumpet/Flugelhorn 2
Allen Fogle: French Horn
Peter Connell: Tenor Trombone/Bass Trombone
Blake Cooper: Tuba in C/Tuba in F/Cimbasso
Christine Tavolacci: Alto Flute/Flute 1
Daniel Weidlein: Flute 2/Soprano Sax/Tenor Saxophone 2
Justo Almario: Flute 3/Clarinet in Bb3/Tenor Saxophone 1
Gavin Templeton: Flute 4/Alto Saxophone/Bass Clarinet 3/Baritone Sax 1
Brian Walsh: Bb Clarinet 1/Bass Clarinet 1/Baritone Sax 2
Rory Mazzella: Bb Clarinet 2/Eb Clarinet/Bass Clarinet 2
Daniel Szabo: Piano
Alexander Noice: Electric Guitar/sfx
Jose Gurria: Drumset
Tylana Renga: Violin 1/Viola 2
Eric KM Clark: Violin 2/sfx-loops
Lauren Baba: Violin 3/Viola 1
Aniela Perry: Violoncello 1
Tara Atkinson: Violoncello 2
Dave Tranchina: Doublebass
Karina Kallas: Voice
Dorian Wood: Voice
Areni Agbabian: Voice
Esperanza Rodríguez de Cárdenas
Ángel Gurría Quintana
Liner notes from our released debut album from Associate Editor of JazzTimes Jeff Tamarkin.
Everything about Gurrisonic Orchestra exudes majesty. Even at its most minimal, José Gurría’s compositions and the musicians’ immaculate execution of the countless twists and leaps, lulls and bursts project a certain indefinable eminence. Of course, a 22-piece orchestra will naturally tend to use up more airspace than a smaller ensemble but, as Gurría—who serves not only as composer but also arranger, orchestrator, director of the orchestra and, of course, powerhouse drummer—puts it, it’s an “organic” and “otherworldly” work, deliberately designed to showcase each member’s artistry to the fullest. “The listener will hear the entire ensemble’s facility with improvisation and experimentalism while simultaneously navigating every detail of the score that was written specifically for each player,” Gurría says. “I enjoy pushing the players to a point where they didn’t know they could go, and this creates excitement among them as well. There’s a challenge going on: the symbiotic power of the interpreter to the composer; it transcends style so that each and every listener can feel the intimacy and relate to this very personal music.”
From the frenzied volley that introduces the intriguingly titled “Constant Deprivation of Monetary Funds (The Beast),” the opening track, it’s apparent that Gurrisonic Orchestra is music to be experienced and absorbed wholly, not just heard. “It’s about being epic and passionate,” Gurría says of the track. Throughout the often frantic piece, brass and woodwinds, piano, bass and strings bob and weave, toying with one another, skittering and cajoling, locking into and falling far out of sync—punk-rock meets Stockhausen. It contrasts vividly with “Three Kids Music,” the lullaby that follows, “to be sung with love, compassion, empathy and all the goodness every kid in the world deserves,” as Gurría says. Then comes the appropriately titled “In Your Face,” with its stacked non-stop triplet figures within every section of the orchestra, its intensive lead playing in the string section, and its mid-tempo half-time shuffles—a wealth of flavors coming right at you.
“Ishuakara” is a self-contained world unto itself, alternately swinging and turbulent, garrulous and utterly kinetic. “It’s very sinuous, with time signatures changing constantly and difficult melodic jumps,” says Gurría. “And yet I have always heard it as a pop song—a pop song with a fanfare, that is.” That tour de force is followed by “The Finger,” which Gurría describes as “an oasis of solitude and compassion for my soul.” The text comes from José’s brother, Angel Gurría. “I asked him to do something that portrayed injustice and people taking advantage of other people,” says José. “I underscored his text with a more sublime vibe than an obviously angry one, especially as the subtext is the sadness of people looking at the glass ‘half empty’ most of the time.”
Keeping it familial, “Aquí,” featuring the orchestra’s woodwinds, is a “very pointillistic and energetic piece written for my son Camilo,” says Gurria, while “Oso” is written for his other son, Nicolás. “It was so fun to perform,” says José of that track. “Every time I listen to it, it gives me the giggles.” And wrapping up the program is “Caballo Viejo,” cinematic in scope and rich in sonic surprises. It features vocalist Dorian Wood, about whom Gurría says, “I am almost in disbelief of what a special performer he is; his frantic energy is tangible in performance and recording.”
Of course, pulling all of this together was no simple task. It fell to “Gurri,” as his friends call him, to summon up all of the knowledge and insight gained over his 25-year career and focus all of the various components of the music. Collaborating with conductor Marc Lowenstein, engineer extraordinaire Greg Curtis and co-producer Valeria Palomino, Gurría relied first and foremost on the trust he has in his team of virtuosic players. “I am not afraid to say that these might be 22 of the finest musicians on the planet, skilled in session work, orchestra and improvisational/experimental music,” he says. “Their adaptive skills are so outstanding that it allowed me to happily go back to my drumming duties during the recording process.” Which, it should be pointed out, amazingly took place within the course of a single day!
“This is exciting music for the heart and the mind,” says Gurría in summation, “brilliant musicians playing out of their comfort zone. It’s blissful music that has been life-altering to write and, I hope from the most humble of places, also life-altering to listen to.”
Exciting, blissful, brilliant, life-altering: That’s a lot of adjectives to throw around, but they all ring true. And as you absorb this music, many more will come to mind; in fact, an entire range of emotions and sensations may just wash over you. And at some point, whether at the very beginning or deep into the experience, you realize that, for all of its complexity, for all of its many nuances, there is also a surprising, welcoming accessibility to the sounds produced by Gurrisonic Orchestra. These musicians, as they go through their paces, exude an enormous amount of warmth, inviting you without hesitation to join them on their thrilling ride. You’ll want to accept that invitation—again and again.
Jeff Tamarkin is the Associate Editor of JazzTimes Magazine.
Three Kids Music: Gurrisonic Orchestra debut album
THREE KIDS MUSIC
For Camilo, Nicolás, and Amaro- the beginning and the end of everything
1. Constant Deprivation of Monetary Funds (The Beast) 9:40
2. Three Kids Music 4:37
3. In Your Face 7:35
4. Ishuakara 7:13
5. The Finger 9:03
6. Aquí 8:02
7. Oso 8:06
8. Caballo Viejo* 4:32
Total time: 59 minutes
GURRISONIC ORCHESTRA YOU TUBE CHANNEL-CONSTANT DEPRIVATION OF MONETARY FUNDS (THE BEAST)
Constant Deprivation of Monetary Funds (The Beast)
I have been very influenced by the vitality and grandiose aspect of musicians like trumpet player Daniel Rosenboom and woodwind player Gavin Templeton, two artists that have set the bar very high on what a consummate musician should aspire to be. I wanted to write some high-octane-string section playing to provide an environment in which Dan’s trumpet and Gavin’s sax could flourish weaving in and out of the arrangement.
Aquí provokes a composition style in me of high-energy imagery and movement, mixed with the twangy-sounds of the electric guitar of the mighty Alexander Noice. Every time we perform this piece, I am reminded of the ridiculously talented woodwind and brass sections of Gurrisonic Orchestra, whom interpret this music in a prodigious way. The winds of Bartok and Stravinsky were certainly beating my window when this piece was composed.