Jordi Diaz and his compañeros call themselves the new jazz emissaries. “We’re romantics, a crazy bunch who want to sell the best jazz for the best price to the whole world. Music is culture and we want to bring people closer to that cultural world.”
That’s no small ambition for a small, independent record shop but since Diaz opened Jazz Messengers – the name pays homage to jazz guru Art Blakey and his various hard bop Jazz Messengers bands – four years ago on the busy Rambla de Catalunya in Barcelona, it has become a place of pilgrimage for Catalan jazz lovers.
Jazz from the 1950s and 1960s is Diaz’s specialities – customers can sample Wild Bill Davis and Johnny Hodges, go straight for Miles Davis and Elmo Hope classics or dip their toes into some modern fusion, funk, soul or Latin jazz. The store stocks around 10,000 CDs and 2,000 LPs; the emissaries sell roughly half this every month. Books and DVDs also get shelf-space while international customers can buy albums online or through Jazz Messengers’ monthly music catalogue.
Although Diaz is afraid of the downloading onslaught that makes, in his opinion, many forget where songs originated, the romantic within him still believes most listeners are music lovers. “People grow with music. People live for music. Some even die for it.”
99 Rambla de Catalunya, 08008; Barcelona. + 34 93 215 88 46; www.jazzmessengers.com
Diaz’s summer recommendations
01 Paul Desmond Quartet, First Place Again
02 Art Farmer, Brass Shout: The Aztec Suite
03 Chucho Valdes, Jazz Bata
04 Bunky Green, Playin’ for Keeps
05 Johnny Hartman, The Tokyo Albums