Jorge Pardo y
Chano Dominguez,
10 de Paco
(Nuevos Medios, 1995)

People might not expect flamenco on an album featuring piano, soprano and tenor sax, flute and double bass. 10 de Paco, an album featuring 10 well-known songs composed by Paco de Lucia, has no Spanish guitar on any of its tracks. Still, this recording by Jorge Pardo and Chano Dominguez is one of the most flamenco-oriented albums I've ever had the chance to listen to.

Of course, there is more than flamenco to it, taking into account who is involved in the project. There's jazz, or let's say flamenco-jazz (that thing that Pedro Iturralde started as a very experimental jam-session). There's improvisation, there's some type of "classical" style at particular moments in the way that Chano develops and harmonizes the melodies and in his interpretation, and there is a bunch of unusual development on the percussion side of things.

But, despite all that, you can feel that very Spanish feeling in each and every song. This very flamenco air does not lie only in the fact that the original melodies were composed by a flamenco guitarist or in the scales used in the improvisations, but in the absolute mastery all of the musicians have of the style. They know how to play their instruments so to sound as flamenco as a Spanish guitar would do.

Jorge, especially performing on flute and soprano sax, has become a point of reference for all flute and sax players trying to play in the flamenco style. Chano is one of the most relevant pianists in the style, so there's not much more necessary to say about him. He's just brilliant. And Javier, a double bass player performing flamenco songs? Weird, isn't it? Just pay a bit of attention to his job on the bass and you will understand what I mean.

Anyway, the most important thing of all in this recording is the very special mood -- a state of grace, I would say. I have several albums of each of these musicians playing together or with others, but this is a very special recording in a lot of senses. This is no mere performance and repetition of the original songs, but a deeper interpretation and personal view of the material. And Jorge and Tino, who played them before with Paco de Lucia himself, must surely have a clear view of what he intended in every phrase.

This is a highly recommended album from all points of view.

- Rambles
written by Daniel Berlanga Ramos
published 29 May 2004

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