Produced by Ultra High Flamenco for Bost Espacio Creativo
by Juan Vergillos
The golden age of instrumental flamenco
The idea isn’t new: instrumental flamenco has been around for a long time. From Albéniz to Diego Amador, passing through Paco de Lucía and the history of guitar in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there is a tradition of creating new flamenco melodies which are not as fixed and digested as the melodic repertoire of flamenco singing. What is new is a group of five musicians in which the guitar is on the same level as the rest of the instruments. In this case, we’re talking about the guitar of José Quevedo. This guitarist from Jerez, who has backed up cante, now presents his own musical themes along with Pablo Martín and Alexis Lefevre. Together they authored 80 per cent of the band’s debut recording. There are only two pieces not written by these interpreºters: a percussion solo with Cepillo and Paquito González, which shows the solidity of the former and the taste for detail of the latter. And the other, “Carretera del Soniquete”, a composition by the whole group, although Quevedo stands out. In addition to the nine long pieces, the record includes a video track with a live performance of of “Carretera del Soniquete” made during a recital of the quintet in 2007 at the Festival Encuentros in Cuenca.
As far as the quality of the numbers, my favorite is “Alter Ego” by Pablo Martín. In actual fact, we already heard this piece on Martín’s solo debut recording “Doméstica” released three years ago. At that time the piece was enveloped in elegant arrangements and variations of the quartet of strings, piano, percussion, etc., and was given a more jazz-like treatment. Here it’s cleaner, rounder, although with the same melodic brilliance as before. You can tell this record was made live because of the flow and dynamic of each of the pieces, including of course the one we’re talking about. The rest of the compositions are derived from grand instrumentalists like Quevedo and Lefevre. The latter offers a solo piece which is the umpteenth demonstration of his virtuosity, and a catchier tune titled “Calle Levíes 18” to the rhythm of fandangos. Quevedo’s pieces are straightforward and friendly, evanescent in certain passages. Tangos and bulerías are the bulk of this record, which also includes the splendid soleá “Taxdirt” by Quevedo on his own, a classic, solemn and direct. On one record we are taken from a street in Seville, full of rhythm, to another in Jerez of great solemnity.
The record is produced by Ultra High Flamenco for Bost, a label created by Pablo Martín which previously released José Manuel León’s wonderful debut recording, as well as Martín’s own.