Chano Domínguez
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments.

Paco de Lucía
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments.

Jorge Pardo
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments.

Gerardo Nuñez
Biography, discography, Real Audio and readers' comments.


VIDEO
Esperanza Fernández, Gerardo Núñez and New York Flamenco Reunion.
Bienal de Sevilla. Teatro Central, 25th September 2000

Real Video


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Chano Domínguez
"Mira cómo viene" (DVD)


VV/AA
"Pasajes"


Jorge Pardo
"Nuevos Medios Colección"

 

 

 

 




Blending sounds across cultures

Ezequiel Paz. Madrid, February 2003
Translation: Gary Cook

Experiments in musical fusion have made their mark on the start of the third millennium, firmly establishing flamenco within the new global culture. These cross-genre dialects, experiments and blends of different sounds have also made their mark on flamenco jazz, a niche of flamenco that's enjoyed something of a revival in recent years in terms of recordings, collaborations and master-classes. Maybe there's a scientific explanation for it: intercultural curiosity serves as the driving force for changes in artistic trends. Whatever the cause, this breaking down of national barriers within music brought about a convergence of discourses, as well as a prolific process of cross-fertilization. Within the territory of flamenco jazz, this fusion has given rise to unique combinations, brilliantly conceived interactions and a hotbed of talented creativity, as demonstrated in the vigorous activity of musicians like Chano Domínguez, Gerardo Núñez, Jorge Pardo, Jerry González...


Chano Domínguez (Photo: Anahí Cármody)

Within this process of renovation, flamenco has taken on board influences as diverse as swing, be-bop, or cool jazz, as well as from rock, pop, Latin flavors like son, timba and Latin jazz, and even from rap or funk. Incorporating a rhythm from another genre might be the mainstay of experiments in musical fusion, but flamenco jazz doesn't frown upon the use of subtler elements borrowed from alien genres. Just because an element of Arabian andalusí or contemporary music doesn't occupy center stage in a composition, it doesn't make it any less pertinent. The Spanish market is brimming with new creative offerings, reminding us of the fine line between blends of different styles that might fall into the 'easy listening' category, and more dignified and serious projects. Pianist Chano Domínguez from Cadiz is a shining example of how a rigorous jazz approach can benefit flamenco. His ample discography features outstanding titles such as '10 de Paco' (Nuevos Medios, 1995), 'Imán' (Karonte, 2000) and the recently released live recording 'Oye cómo viene' (Lola Records, 2002), with a DVD of almost the same name. Chano is suspicious, as is Paco de Lucía, of the term 'fusion', but he comes to a compromise, preferring to speak of the fusion of musicians during this, the adolescence of flamenco jazz. To him, this music is a salvation brought about by the integration of diverse sources of influence, a world with room for Afro Cuban influences, just as it has room for Arabian andalusí musical styles.

What started as a flirtation between flamenco and Latin jazz is growing and growing, fueled partly by "the finest Latin jazz label" Lola Records, brainchild of Spanish film director Fernando Trueba. The label has made some delicious contributions to the catalog of this latin+jazz+flamenco strand of music. The movie 'Calle 54', and the soundtrack of the same name, featuring Chano Domínguez. 'Spain' by pianist Michel Camilo and guitarist Tomatito, winner of the Grammy for best Latin jazz album of 2000. The recently issued 'Jerry González y los piratas del flamenco', which features the trumpet player alongside guitarist Niño Josele and percussionist Piraña, with vocals from cantaor Diego el Cigala.


Michel Camilo and Tomatito, winners of the Grammy
for best Latin jazz album of 2000

When it comes to plucking strings, there are three quintessential Masters of toque and guitar improvisation: Juan Manuel Cañizares, Agustín Carbonell El Bola and Gerardo Núñez. Cañizares, who played second guitar for the almighty Paco de Lucía, led an inspired project two years ago entitled 'Punto de encuentro' (EMI, 2000), firing straight and true to the listener's ear with bolts of electronic sound which evoke golden memories of the Chick Corea Electric Band. El Bola, on the other hand, after the end of the nineties when he brought us albums like 'Alegrías de Cascorro' (Nuba, 1998) and 'Vuelo Flamenco' (Karonte, 1999), devoted himself to his Brazilian love affair, set off for Brazilian shores, and decided to slip bossa-nova beats and instrumentation, and a partido alto samba style into his approach to flamenco.

In 1999 guitarist Gerardo Núñez from Jerez forged a relationship with two giants of contemporary jazz: bassist John Patitucci from New York and Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez. The album in question is entitled 'Calima' (Karonte, 1999), and features Danilo Pérez in the hitherto unheard of role of accompanist. A year later Núñez continued on his quest to square the circle, bringing together musicians from different backgrounds and putting them to work with a single common denominator: taking their spontaneous discourses and melting them together. The project was issued in 2002 on the Resistencia label under the title 'Pasajes', although it was recorded for the II Seminario de Jazz y Flamenco, held in Seville two years previously (which incidentally is the only event in the world dedicated exclusively to flamenco jazz). The concert was a showcase of eminent figures from both genres. Jeanne Lee, Paolo Fresu, George Colligan and Marc Miralta, as well as Esperanza Fernández, Perico Sambeat, Javier Colina and Gerardo Núñez himself, gave an elegant performance, which served as a musical test case. And in a similar vein 'Cruce de Caminos' (Resistencia, 2001) finds Núñez conversing with the playful sax of valenciano Perico Sambeat, who rises admirably to the occasion. On the disc, Nuñez plays with Javier Colina (double bass), Arto Tuncboyaciyan (percussion) and Marc Miralta (drums). Recently on 'Andaluciajazz.com', Perico Sambeat made a reference to the motives behind this change of direction from his staunchly jazz roots toward flamenco: "Flamenco is an incredibly rich form of music, and it was inevitable that we moved further and further in that direction. I've tackled flamenco in terms of rhythm, but at a harmonic and melodic level I'm still doing my thing - jazz. I like flamenco, just as I like Gregorian chant or gnawa music."

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