A Shaky Marriage
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 04/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The liner notes to this CD promise great things to those who listen to Jazzpana with an open mind. Well, musically my mind is very open yet repeated listening failed to convince me that this supposed marriage of American jazz to Andalucian cante hondo is anything but a shaky one. The CD has its moments and its merits, its just not something either the average jazz fan or the average flamenco fan could stand to listen to on a regular basis.
Though this originally was released in 1992, I had never heard of it until the other day when I saw it listed here under Al DiMeola. It is cheap and there are other musicians on it like Los Jovenes Flamencos I enjoy, so I took a chance on it. Well, the verdict is that it is a CD you really have to be in the mood for.
Di Meola's participation was the main selling point for me. His virtuosity in the world of jazz and world music guitar is so great, that I knew that there would be at least something I would like and there is. Those familiar with Los Jovenes Flamencos will recognize the distinctive voice of "El Portugues" right away. Di Meola's guitar stands out on the two songs which coincidentally happen also to be the two best: Tangos (in which there is precious little trace of any tango) and Buleria. Those who like the big band sound should be pleased with Suite Fraternidad and El Vito En Gran Tamano. That last one I find reminiscent of the soaring, blaring jazz of Chuck Mangione's Bellavia album.
In addition to Di Meola and Los Jovenes Flamencos, Jazzpana features such jazz luminaries as Michael Brecker, Steve Khan, and Peter Erskine as well as the WDR Big Band.
Overall, I like Jazzpana, but its not going to be in frequent rotation. Like I said, the promise of a new musical idiom to be consummated in the marriage of jazz and flamenco never came to fruition."