Renaud García-Fons – Solo – The Marcevol Concert

The ingenuity of Renaud García-Fons knows no bounds. As a bassist his musicality is informed by the purest of techniques—whether he is playing pizzicato or con arco—and his expression and dynamic is so profound that he makes the contrabass a magical extension of a human voice. As such then, everything he plays becomes a magnificent aria and when he employs the harmonics of delays, loops and other devices on this live record, Solo – The Marcevol Concert, he appears to be accompanied by a choir of heavenly hosts. One thing is certain, when García-Fons plays music the air is fraught with excitement as melodies make unexpected turns, rising to great heights in the upper register—provoked by beautiful harmonies—then leaping suddenly to nether planes; or zigzagging their way through several registers before shooting out and dispersing its notes into a rarified atmosphere. His use of double stops, slapping of his fabulously toned French bow onto his marvelously tuned instrument—featuring its fables fifth string—is breathtaking and this makes his music all the more glamorous and bewitching.

García-Fons’ music sweeps across continents in its flavor and meets at the confluence of the bassist’s own background. This is a beguiling mix of European (gorgeous French impressionist sub-tones) and Mediterranean (Spanish and Middle overtones) influences and it is a joy to hear both dignified and wild ululations that “sing” amid melodies that sway and lilt toward their crescendos. However nothing is predictable and when García-Fons is powering his way, eyes closed and body bent forward, through one of his exotic melodies the result is quite breathtaking. The bassist’s use of delays and loops may not be new and the great Eberhard Weber used them on his solo ECM recording Pendulum several decades ago. However, García-Fons employs masterly technique to such effect that when he activates one of his enchanted pedals the result is absolutely heart-stopping. This is a frequent occurrence during the concert, albeit, comprised of beautifully impulsive harmonics. The striking accelerations on “Kalimbass” and the dramatic ritardandos on “Voyage à Jeyhounabad” are spectacular and unforgettable.

This CD package comprises an audio recording and a beautifully photographed video of the concert that was held at Le Prievré de Marcevol, a gorgeous medieval location in Pyrénées Orientales, in France. This was an expensive shoot and included three cameras plus a Polecam, operated by Bachir Benfaida, which provided some of the dramatic close-ups and heightened the view of Renaud García-Fons’ extraordinary technique. Between Director of Photography, Archibald Dekiss and project Director and Editor, Nicholas Dattilesi, this project has been turned into one as artistically designed as the music itself. This, in itself makes this a priceless acquisition for the avid Renaud García-Fons fan as well as simply a music aficionado. However, for Renaud García-Fons this appears to be par for the course as the majestic sweep of his playing and his music deserve nothing less. It must also be noted that his German label, “enja” appears to be lavishing great care in producing wonderful packages of music in recent times—both technically as well as aesthetically.

Tracks: Palermo Notturno; Hacia Compostela; Kalimbass; Marcevol; Bajo De Guía (Bulería); Voyage à Jeyhounabad; Yupanqui; Kurdish Mood; Pilgrim; Rock Wandering; Far Ballad.

Personnel: Renaud García-Fons: acoustic bass.

Renaud García-Fons – Official website:

Label: enja Records

Release date: January 2011

Reviewed by: Raul da Gama

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

Featured Posts

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

Pablo Ziegler: The Pianist That Caresses Our Listening

"Tango is a musical style that must constantly evolve and not be some ridiculous folklore to lure tourists" - Astor Piazzolla The celebrated Argentinian pianist...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more