Gerardo Nuñez

Flamencos En Nueva York

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Flamencos En Nueva York Review

by Kurt Keefner

Everybody wants a piece of flamenco. Radio Tarifa wants to fuse it with medieval music; Juan Peña Lebrijano wants to fuse it with Moroccan music; Jesse Cook wants to fuse it with everything. And Gerardo Nuñez wants to fuse it with the music of Latin America. This actually isn't such a bad idea, since both styles have their roots in Spain, and since the latter, besides being great dance music, has enough jazz in its blood to provide a sophisticated counterbalance to flamenco. Still, there's bound to be some discord between a music that prides itself on its soul-shaking anguish and one that promises forgetful bliss. Unfortunately, Nuñez cannot overcome that discord. Sometimes he plays with a smaller group -- just bass and percussion, and maybe a touch of synthesizer -- and this jazzier combination works fairly well, especially on the thoughtful "Mi Patio" and "Sugar Cane Field," which sounds quite Mexican (actually it sounds like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, but led by guitars instead of brass). On other tracks, Nuñez uses a Latin band, and that makes his contribution on guitar more problematic. On the title cut, he and his guitar provide little more than commentary from the sidelines. Usually, though, he does occupy center stage, but the occasional use of horns, saxes, synthesizers imitating a chorus of Latino children, and the like becomes very distracting. Flamencos in Nueva York is an album that might interest the fan of "flamenco nuevo" or those who enjoy stylistic experiments. But if you're looking for "duende," you'll have to look elsewhere.

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