Diego Amador - Piano Jondo
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Diego Amador
Piano Jondo
World Village (www.worldvillagemusic.com)

The piano is hardly the first instrument you'd associate with flamenco, but Seville-based Diego Amador has the chops and vision to shake up conventional thinking on the matter. If you want to put it in simplest terms, call this a flamenco album that puts piano where guitar ought to be. It's not mere supplanting, though. There are tracks in which Amador sweetens the piano with guitar and mandola in order to assist its twisting and turning through the flamenco styles covered here, as well as some clear stretching of flamenco's possibilities. A foundation of upright bass and percussion (mostly cajon) frames arrangements that often ease into jazzy interaction (as on the lengthy "Vivan los Gitanos," and the too-short Jaco Pastorius cover "Continuum") without dropping the Iberian grandeur. The masterful way Amador tickles the ivories can truly take on the feel of guitar picking and strumming, but he also utilizes the piano's decidedly non-guitar timbres to bring his own freshness to the proceedings. Though not as radical as what some of his fellow Spaniards are doing with flamenco, Amador still makes Piano Jondo thoroughly enjoyable. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdRoots

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