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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Jerry Gonzalez - Y Los Piratas Del Flamenco *****

Jerry Gonzalez is probably best known for his Fort Apache Band, playing afrocuban jazz, but this album is something completely different. Intimate, contemplative, beautiful : a trio with trumpet, Spanish guitar and hand percussion. This is flamenco music with a jazzy tinge, or jazz (Monk, Charlie Parker) with a flamenco tinge. Singer Diego El Cigala joins on several pieces, adding his raw flamenco voice to the party and giving it some more Spanish ingredients. The music itself is far removed from the uptempo handclapping flamenco dance, but exists for its own sake, with slow, carefully crafted and distinct melodies, great compositional structures, offering space for improvisation. This is fragile, sensitive, respectful, authentic music, far removed from the kitsch of so much fusion. The percussion, the trumpet, the guitar, the voice : they fit perfectly.