Marta Sánchez’s long-standing quintet will return to The Jazz Gallery this week for the release of their latest album, “Danza Imposible” (Fresh Sound Records). The quintet, highlighting intricate melodic work and rich arrangements, features Roman Filiú and Jerome Sabbagh on saxophones, Rick Rosato on bass, Daniel Dor on drums, and of course Sánchez on piano and compositions. In a prior Jazz Speaks post, we spoke with Marta about her quintet work on Partenika, her previous album, which was included in New York Times journalist Ben Ratliff’s ‘Top 10’ list for 2015. Sánchez was additionally awarded a 2017 MacDowell Fellowship, where she composed new works for prepared piano. We spoke at length with Sánchez about her textural and contrapuntal approach to composing for quintet.
The Jazz Gallery: Your album titles and artwork are always intriguing. Could you tell me a little about both the title and the art for Danza Imposible (Fresh Sound/New Talent), the new record?
Marta Sánchez: The title is actually from one the pieces, meaning “Impossible Dance” in Spanish. Iit has a triplet-based groove, but it’s in 11/8, so it’s good under the hands, but something’s still weird there. The artwork is by Alicia Martin López, a friend I met in New York. We both came over with Fulbright grants. When we met, I didn’t know what she was doing on her Fulbright, but when she returned to Spain she posted some of her work, and it was beautiful. She did my previous record, Partenika, and I loved that, so I asked her to do this one too.
TJG: What do you like about this cover for Danza Imposible?
MS: Well, I think it represents the music, and now that you ask, it has this weirdness as well. It’s beautiful and attractive, but at the same time mysterious. There’s some strangeness there, and we don’t know where it comes from. My music has a bit of that too.
TJG: Is there something about the concept of impossibility that excites you as a jazz musician? A challenge to break through or overcome?
MS: I don’t think in terms of breaking through the impossible. With my titles, I’m usually thinking of something in the moment. It might be trivial, but I try to be honest with what I feel, and use what I have in sight. Yes, you have to challenge yourself and discover your music, but what attracts me most are the unexpected things. I like when I hear music and it doesn’t sound exactly how I expected. I like the unexpected, but not impossible things [laughs]. Things that surprise you.