Gerardo Nunez, Perico Sambeat
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Gerardo Nunez, Perico Sambeat
Esperanza FernŠndez, George Colligan, Javier Collina, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Marc Miralta

Cruce de Caminos
Resistencia, Spain

cd cover This live recording contains eight pieces that were presented in Seville in September 2000 as part of the "Jazz Viene del Sur" series of concerts. In a way, the idea of combining flamenco and jazz seems straightforward enough. Both forms have a rather formal presentation that is nevertheless based on popular expression. Both also are quite loose and improvisational, so there is an extended scope for merging them.

The credentials of the participating musicians are of the highest caliber and they surely deliver. The playing is excellent throughout this record and there are truly transcendent moments.

The choice of material is also inspired as the texts (by the Spanish poets Josť Bergamin and Pablo Neruda) are truly wonderful, as is the cover of "In walked Bud" (originally by Thelonius Monk) and Siguiriya (a traditional flamenco). Even more so, the production is among the best I have come across recently: the spacious and clear sound helps this music, which is based in great part on an attention to detail, to come across. The bilingual liner notes are also very helpful and precise and offer a much-needed insight in this collaboration.

The only problem with this record is that it never quite manages to truly merge the two traditions in a straightforward way, with the exception of the middle part of one song, "Calima." Most of the time this feels like either a wonderful jazz recording or a quite traditional flamenco one, never quite a new, third idea. Although great care has been taken by the jazz musicians to be informed by the traditional rhythms and structure of the flamenco, this results in a rather esoteric approach. This does not necessarily steal from a highly enjoyable listening, but it does leave something more to be expected from this excellent group of musicians.

Still, this is a record that will be much welcome by fans of both jazz and ethnic music and should plant ideas into other people for similar fusion projects of such quality. - Nondas Kitsos

At cdRoots

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