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Arc Records

Tino Contreras - Musica Infinita [LP]

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Gilles Peterson announces the launch of his new Arc Records imprint with a reissue of cult record “Musica Infinita” by Mexican drummer and composer Tino Contreras. A psychedelic, experimental jazz record, originally released in 1978, it marked a daring step forward by the Mexico City-based musician, and is now re-released for a chance to get the widespread dues it deserves. A limited private press, copies of the original are highly sought after, despite the drummer being much overlooked in both his home country as well as abroad, with a career that started in the 1950s, and which has seen him share stages with many of the greats – including Dave Brubeck, Cannonball Adderley and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Explaining his connection to the record, Peterson says, "This was the first record I heard from that region which had that amazing psychedelic, cosmic jazz sound. It's somewhere between a David Axelrod record and a release on Saturn. I've always had it as one of my secret gems."

The story behind Peterson re-releasing the record is serendipitous. Several years ago, he bought a copy before a gig in Japan, and it soon became one of his most cherished discoveries; he was awed by its otherworldly blend of jazz fusion and psychedelia. Years later, booked to play at a festival in Mexico, Peterson was introduced to Carlos Icaza, a record collector and musician, who also had a copy of the record – in fact, he has two – and to whom it was also an extremely special album. To Peterson’s delight, Icaza suggested they meet up with Contreras who, at 95, is still active and based in Mexico City. Soon enough, the three of them were sat down together and agreed upon a plan to re-issue “Musica Infinita”.