For a long time, the composer and pianist Alex Mercado has practiced the profession of writing. In addition to his musical catalog (one of the most recognized within Mexican jazz), among his works stand out the books Art, consciousness and life (2018) and The sublime musical language process (2020). “I have always had the concern to express myself through the word.”
For him, words and music are two sound languages that pass through time, rhythmic and organized in phrases. Mercado finds the same artistic satisfaction when expressing himself in both arenas. Thus, he decided for the first time to start a project where the facets already mentioned are discussed. The result of this exploration is the album My verses in songs (2023)of which the first four singles can already be heard through digital platforms.
“What I’m trying to do is create fresh molds of contemporary original song, pouring improvisation and a lyrical narrative. What I do is obey the natural, rhythmic, spatial discourse of the poem. That is to say, in this composition, for me the word, the poem, the verse, the writing that I am putting to music is more important and letting this writing, through its own eloquence and fluency, indicate to me what the ideal way to put it to music is. ”.
The musician answers the call of El Siglo de Torreón from Mexico City, where last Saturday night he presented his album at the National Center for the Arts. There he was accompanied by the singers Jenny Beaujean, Ingrid Beaujean, Valentina Marentes, Lucía Gutiérrez and Maria Katzarava. The project is made up of nine writings, taken from previously existing poems by Mercado, where the jazzman’s natural improvisation also impregnates the words.
“When I write I also let myself be carried away by improvisation, by spontaneity. I don’t code the words that come to my mind, they don’t go through a reasoning filter. I simply write them and I give them shape as they are being written. I take this influence from jazz and transfer it to the profession of writing with the conviction that an improvised idea has its own strength, its own freshness, it has that nature of being a scoop that comes out of creativity”.
But in this tributary of ideas, the writing also veers towards jazz. When improvising, Mercado tries to be eloquent. He considers that no element carries more eloquence than language. Specifically, he says, oral language is the reliable example of improvisation. However, due to its characteristics of naturalness and daily life, the human being fails to realize the level of improvisation that is implemented every day.
“And only it is not a marvel of improvisation, but of composition. When we express ideas through words, in oral language, they are already structured, which is not the case in jazz. Many times the jazz player improvises in an impulsive, somewhat uncontrolled way and forgets the part of organizing his own ideas over time, by means of pre-established structures that language already provides”.
Alex Mercado has a tradition of rehearsing the pieces that will make up an album beforehand, to then go into the studio and record everything in a single session. However, the process was a little different in My verses in songswell it was recorded in two sessions and in two different studios in September of last year.
“It was difficult to coordinate the teachers so that they recorded in the same session. I usually record all my albums in a single day, having previously rehearsed. I try to control that freshness at the time, recording only two, maximum three shots and of those I choose the best”.
The musician highlights the professionalism and dedication of each of the performers at the time of recording, as they arrived at the studio with the pieces learned and matured., ready to be recorded by a microphone. Factor that facilitated the consolidation of a musical discourse. “It flowed, it flowed quite well and I’m very happy with the result.”
My verses in songs consists of Mercado’s ninth album and is a project financed by the System of Support for Creation and Cultural Projects (SACPC). The author has decided to release it by singles, one every month, so will finish this process until the five missing pieces of music are published. So far, the songs can be enjoyed digitally Return, It’s raining, the poet of the moon and It’s sad.
“It is the first album that I release in this new modality, which has become a trend, somewhat due to digital platforms, towards the consumer.”
The composer tries to put his own identity first through the work. The most important thing for him is to compose honestly. Not only use his influences from jazz, but also from other music to be able to build his proposal and that this is what is heard, what is appreciated independently. The triumph for every composer is that his music transcends style.
In addition to the singers already mentioned, the album also includes the participation of Denisse GutiérrezVocalist of the band Hello Seahorse!, a single that will be released in March. At the end of the publication of the singles, a disc will be presented in physical format.
“I did an investigation, a count, a listening session of various voices, mainly female. Yes, there was an intention to select female performers for the simple reason that I really like the female voice instrument. It’s totally different than the male voice instrument in terms of register.”