Guitar: José del Tomate. Second guitar: Cristóbal Santiago. Voice: Kiki Cortiñas. Violin: Bernardo Parrilla. Electric bass: El Maca. Percussion: Jony Cortés. Special collaboration: Tomatito. Flamenco Viene del Sur. Teatro Central. Tuesday, February 19th, 2019. One-third full.
Elegant, with a certain shyness and visibly nervous, José del Tomate came on in Seville to deliver his first recorded work, ‘Plaza Vieja’, in which he pays tribute to his hometown of Almeria and his maestros, from his own father Tomatito and his uncle Niño Miguel, to Paco de Lucía and Sabicas, with a relatively small audience.
Certainly, in the young guitarist’s hands were influences of all of them, in his sense of taste, his rhythmic capacity, his musicality and the friendly luminous sound that marks his guitar, as was especially evident in his extensive repertoire of tangos and bulerías where at times the strings seemed to sing.
Nevertheless, his guitar still lacks power and a sound of its own – the hardest thing to achieve, of course – and moreover, he needs to quest. In other words, right now José del Tomate seems to be mostly centered on reproducing what he knows rather that in experimenting and losing himself. Thus, what he does is somewhat unsurprising and repetitive, even becoming boring at certain moments. As if we’d heard all of that before.
In fact, being young, he erred on the side of caution and appeared to hide behind the musicians who accompanied him, allowing them most of the spotlight, particularly the very flamenco and inspired violinist Bernardo Parrilla.
For this reason, he came off best in the taranta with which he opened the recital, and the zambra, in the style of his uncle Niño Miguel, and in the facing-off he carried out with his father, recalling the precious melancholic piece of Michel Camino, Two Much. Because it was here, in the way he held back, that we could sense the artist he is, where he pushed the emotion and appeared more sincere. Let’s hope that on the path that awaits him, he continues in that vein.