CD REVIEW: New York Flamenco Jazz Project - Mosaico
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"World Class Flamenco Jazz"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: New York Flamenco Jazz Project
Label: Eureka Musik Produktionen
Andreas Arnold Website: http://www.andreasarnold.info/
New York Flamenco Jazz Project Link http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thenyflamencojazzproject
Genre: Classic Flamenco-Jazz- Fusion/Crossover Jazz
Sounds Like: Paco de Lucia. Camaron da la Isla, Tomatito, Manolo Sanlucar, Paco Pena, Sabicas
Technical Grade: 10/10
The New York Flamenco Jazz Project is a collective led by guitarist/composer Andreas Arnold. Their debut album MOSAICO has been recorded over the course of a year between New York and Spain, it features 15 musicians from around the world. Besides Flamenco and Jazz the music draws from many other sources such as middle eastern music (>> #3 'Dialogue' feat. Jordanian singer Farah Siraj) or Indian music (>> #9 'Harri Son', a tribute to George Harrison). Since Miles Davis there have been plenty of efforts of jazz musicians to add a flamenco vibe to their music just as contemporary flamenco became more and more jazz influenced since Paco de Lucia pushed the doors wide open in the 1970s. The New York Flamenco Jazz Project stands by itself: it is a true meeting of flamenco and jazz artists joining up and creating a common ground on which they showcase their creativity, virtuosity and ability to communicate outside their domain while staying true to their roots. Musicians featured: Andreas Arnold – flamenco guitar, Jose Moreno – percussion, vocals, dance, Petros Klampanis – bass, Maria Toro – flute, Yvonnik Prene – harmonica and Philippe Lemm – percussion.
The CD wastes no time getting g off the ground with gently takes to flight with Josemi (Rumba) an intoxicating intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition serving up impressive fretwork exuberance against atypical Flamenco vibe that gently leads you by the hand to Track 2 “Coleres Del MoaIco" a slamming follow up that serves up impressive flute-driven ballad against fluid guitar line and earthy jazz overtones. Track 3 “Dialogue" presents a more Arabic melody with it's methodical intro, meshed against mesmerizing melody and hypnotic mystical groove. The CD makes a great first impression providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of the typical Gold Standard Jazz, but there is an undeniable Fusion “full tilt” Flamenco flair to it these song. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are quite dynamic reminiscent of Camaron da la Isla, Tomatito, Manolo Sanlucar, Paco Pena and Sabicas. Each piece possesses crystal clear high end clarity, solid low end punch with chops that will make your head spin. The production delivers much in the way of Instrumentation as well as a bone crushing line-up of players mentioned above. Along the musical journey one will experience well-placed Percussive accents, impressive Harmonica, sizzling solo segment, solid rhythm section and world class bass and drum virtuoso. Now turning our attention over to Arnold. As far as his playing ability let me just go on record to say he brilliantly fuses all of the aforementioned via his guitar. This is not just World Class Flamenco Jazz but a fusion of many different types of playing styles built upon a traditional Jazz foundation. Arnold navigates through each piece flawlessly. If that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is. He clearly knows how to fill the sonic space with amazing playing that flows across the ears like fine wine. At times can be passionate, aggressive and tenacious, other times fluid and flowing. The music itself goes down smooth and fills the atmosphere with what I would describe as peaceful Jazz Tranquility. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments showcasing impressive playing, world Class songwriting, amazing rhythmic, chops and dynamic grooves all rich in melody and flavor. From grooving "You and Minou (Tangos)" to more traditional "Silla Guitarra (Solea por Bulena)" to melodic "Thomes" and "Hari Son" to dynamic "Eureka (Buleria)" to solitary "Necesisto El Mar" to heartfelt "La Laguna (Alegria)" this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “Solitaire - Solidaire" the prefect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
After spending some quality time with Andreas Arnold and The New York Flamenco Jazz Project it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with the production as a whole. What I like most about the CD is it refuses to try too hard. Mosaico is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The songs are infectious, catchy and cover a wide range of musical styles. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Mosaico delivers has everything the title implies and more.