Thursday, April 05, 2012

Chano Dominguez - NYC Jazz Record

Chano Dominguez - Flamenco Sketches

All jazz fans have their own idea of sacred recordings.
Regardless of age or era, most would agree that Miles
Davis’ Kind of Blue is an untouchable. Recorded in
1959, every musician and tune on that album has been
debated and dissected a thousand times over.
Nonetheless Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez has
not only tackled that modal bible but has brought a
new and, most importantly, entertaining angle to the
material with his most recent album, recorded live at
Jazz Standard.

The album opens with “Flamenco Sketches”. After
a two-minute solo piano intro (aside from the clattering
of silverware) bassist Mario Rossy and percussionist
Israel Suarez enter with a gentle roll. Dominguez
winds through a string of uninterrupted lines before
vocalist Blas Cordoba enters with strained melismas.
Dominguez takes a two-fisted solo that manages to
incorporate Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas”, eventually
building into a funky vamp aided by handclaps from
Cordoba and Tomas Moreno. Straightforward blues
“Freddie Freeloader” gets a 6/8 feel; on the melody,
Dominguez’ winding left hand lines are indebted to
piano great Ray Bryant before he launches into a
shimmering solo loaded with octaves and a driving
cowbell calling from somewhere deep in the mix.
Naturally “So What” is a bit of a bass feature with the
percussive handclappers carrying the bulk of the
rhythmic work. Rossy thumps hard over Dominguez’
choppy accompaniment. The constant blur of
handclaps drives the tune, summoning a fleet-fingered
solo from Dominguez. “All Blues” finds its groove
early with Dominguez taking a swinging solo. As on
other tracks the sound of dancing is clearly audible
with the clacking of shoes taking a couple of choruses
towards the end. The album is rounded off with two
Davis compositions that do not appear on Kind of Blue.
“Nardis” finds Dominguez dipping into a more
forceful Bill Evans bag before muffling the piano
strings to get a beautiful guitar-like quality while
“Serpent’s Tooth” shows off Dominguez’ chops with a
fast-paced romp.

Ultimately the Davis material is a loose reference
point for the incorporation of flamenco into a swinging
setting. These two disparate genres blend well in
Dominguez’ hands and based on the audience reaction
there was a lot to love in the room beyond just the
band’s musical homage.

Chano Dominguez @ NYC Jazz Record

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