Andrea Motis, Loopholes Review
by Jeff Becker
Andrea Motis is back with her latest solo project, Loopholes. Motis is a central part of the Spanish jazz scene, and on this new album, she embarks on a search for a completely new, unconventional style with her own compositions and those of her comrade-in-arms Christoph Mallinger. The compositions borrow from electric jazz, funk, and neo-soul. The twelve tracks feature Motis singing in Catalan, her mother tongue, as well as in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and German, and comments on her vocal expression alternately – trained on both instruments – with trumpet or saxophone. Joining Motis is Christoph Mallinger, guitar, mandoline, violin; Magalí Datzira, bass; Adrià González, keyboard; and Juan Berbín, drums.
“El Pescador” brings Latin American folklore into today’s sound with a hip feel and Motis’ passionate singing. The energy and passion of Motis’ love of culture and different styles are embodied in her version of the cumbia “El Pescador,” by José Barros (popularized in the performances of Totó la Momposina and Los Folkloristas). The ensemble performs exceptionally, especially Mallinger, with his sensitive accompanying and thoughtful leads.
Motis sites “Babies” as being inspired by the jazz standard “Honeysuckle Rose,” though the influence is not directly evident. Motis composed the song with Mallinger, and the two have a chemistry that is heard and felt in this song and throughout the album. Motis’ playing is expressive, and her singing is impassioned. The English lyrics and R&B groove set this track-up to be a crowd-pleaser and show her broad-ranging talent as a vocalist and performer.
Though traversing a new path in her music, the beauty and innocence of her voice still resonate throughout. Loopholes highlights her ability to enliven a freshness within the music while still maintaining the essence of what has captured so many listeners to date. Motis continues to push her artistry, resulting in an impassioned listen.