First Listen! Ezel – Origins (Original Mix) (Bayacou Records)
There are undoubtedly countless reasons why we all love music. With the first of them without a single doubt being its versatility. And, as a result, its ability to suggest so many different images. Then, in the meantime, to get us into so many different moods.
Whenever asked about the ‘Origins’ (ours), each of us will most likely come up with his/her own answer. And this answer will be like our aural DNA from which we’ll build up our own evolution. This, probably explaining why we hardly could go any further without knowing them, whatever we may be doin’.
‘It began in Africa’, used to sing Tribal House back in 1990 on the memorable ‘Motherland’. And it’s obviously in that continent that the ‘Origins’ of Ezel are to be found. The man takin’ us into like an instinctual trance. Meanwhile blending deep keys around some tribal vocal hook over a slammin’ primitive rhythm pattern.
Let yourself go and therefore get back to the origins of the groove. Chances are great it’s gonna get you…
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– A sort of contraction of the nickname his parents gave him after his birth (‘Es El’ meaning ‘That’s Him’ in Spanish)… Ezel is one of the most creative minds and attaching faces one might think of.
Ezel first evolved as keyboard player at a local church back in 2001. There, he started in a initial romance with Gospel vibes that led to deep search and desire to understand and express the groove. This became a life purpose. He became progressively and naturally a very active musician. Thus playing in local Funk and Soul bands in his native Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was thru jamming and doing late night shows where Funk and R&B met Deep House that his path as an electronic soul oriented performer was lit.
In 2007, he came to meet Osunlade at an event in Santo Domingo. The latter instantly became an inspiration for him. That introduction led him to later meeting and working actively with Ocha Recordings label head Carlos Mena. A label where Ezel released the majority of his early working including his album, ‘Secreto’. An album which features the memorable ‘In My Lifetime’ which he recorded with Tamara Wellons. This song became a top hit at the time. Mostly due to an incredible remix by the likes of Deetron which everyone would play. From Gilles Peterson to Jimpster, Joey Negro, Osunlade, and the list goes on…
It was then that Ezel decided to move somewhere where he could build up a fan base, network and keep raising his flag in the music movement. He first moved to the United States. There, he extensively played in the hottest clubs and parties. From Miami to New York, Chicago, Boston and the likes.
This experience also brought some essential transformations to his being. It was during this trip that Ezel started his path in the African based tradition of Lucumi. He received his elekes and guerreros. And from then, he began defining his way though the guidance and work of the Orishas and spirits.
In 2011, Ezel returned to the Dominican Republic. He soon after managed to be selected for a full scholarship to study Audio Engineering at the prestigious SAE School in Barcelona, Spain. An opportunity which allowed him to relocate to Europe and play in clubs and parties. Be it in Spain, Greece, France Belgium or Holland. He eventually went to Japan, where he played at the 2011 edition of the Tokyo Crossover Jazz Festival. There, he shared the stage with the likes of Paul Randolph (Jazzanova). But also Navasha Daya (Fertile Ground) and Kyoto Jazz Massive among other artists.
He soon after delivered one of his most beautiful compositions by the likes of ‘Call My Name’. A cut which he composed and produced with DJ Fudge, with French singer Mani Hoffman reaching a rare degree of emotion.
Transformation also came in times of uncertainty. The illness and subsequent departing of his beloved grandmother in early 2013 made him return back to his Dominican Republic facing troubles to re-adapt to his old reality.
These were very difficult times in which virtually no work was done. But very valuable lessons were learned in terms of acceptance as a means to move forward.
Now, with a refreshed attitude and more weight to his vision and sense of self, Ezel oozes the initial excitement that brought him close to greatness in the past. Just like on the firing remix he did of ‘Behind The Veil’ for Tamara Wellons back in 2015 for instance.
Willing to join the conversation again, he recently released a brand new EP thru his own bandcamp page. Itself showcasing deeper and more brave sounds following none other than the light of his own.
His growth process allowed him to reach out and collaborate with other artists in more intimate and personal ways. Some of this collaborations are almost breaking out, some of them should see the light in future months/years.
Ezel has changed. Although his vision and ambition continue. Meanwhile, he refined his desire to reach and connect with his audience.
As a matter of fact, it would seem like he has reached that time in his life where all the tools are put in place to fully grasp his full potential. To some, that’s maturity. Meanwhile to others, that’s growth. But whatever you call it, if you have felt this before, you know its an exciting place to be…
With the launch of his own label, Bayacou Records, Ezel strives to seek even higher grounds in terms of music. This with the help of a strong spiritual vibe behind. Regardless of what shape or form the music takes, the voice that resonates from within is instantly recognizable. It is the one of creating without limitations and always from the heart. A reflection of what true art is all about.
No wonder why he felt like he had to get back to his ‘Origins’ when reopening his account back in 2017…