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Various Artists: Miles Espanol: New Sketches of Spain (2011)

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Various Artists: Miles Espanol: New Sketches of Spain How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In the days of the so-called Young Lions jazz wave—which lasted roughly, from 1981 to 1992—instrumentalists and singers were all the rage. At the tail end of that period, South Carolina-born saxophonist Bob Belden
Bob Belden
Bob Belden
b.1956
arranger
was making waves for his comprehensive and compelling arranging chops. Over the last two decades, Belden has brilliantly re-imagined the music of Sting, Puccini, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
b.1950
keyboard
, and, most notably Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
. Devotees of the Prince of Darkness also know that Belden is one of the world's most astute "Milesologists," as evidenced by the Grammy-winning Miles Davis Sony box set compilations he produced.

Belden's genius for going beyond musical and cultural borders is on full display on this invigorative and inventive, two-CD exploration of Davis' flamenco- and Spanish-tinged pieces, largely selected from his legendary collaboration with arranger Gil Evans
Gil Evans
Gil Evans
1912 - 1988
composer/conductor
, Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960), and Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959)—two towering recordings that formed a fertile crescent where the Old and New worlds met on equal terms. Comprising sixteen tracks, Belden has recruited a diverse array of over forty musicians, from ex-Davis sidemen including drummer Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
, bassist Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
and über-pianist Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, to name a few, to Spanish masters like guitarist Niño Joseles and Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
b.1960
piano
, arguably the most proficient jazz piano interpreter of flamenco genre, along with Belden's longtime band mate, trumpeter Tim Hagans
Tim Hagans
Tim Hagans
b.1954
trumpet
. On this profound project Belden used Davis' Afro-Iberian musical tapestry to weave a rooted, yet revelatory new hybrid that sizzles under the heat of the Andalusia sun, and on the Manhattan bandstand.

Belden's re-rendering of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" and the "Saeta/Pan Piper" is a more Latin American/Maghred-oriented affair, courtesy of Edmar Castaneda's Colombian harp, Rabih Abou-Khalil
Rabih Abou-Khalil
Rabih Abou-Khalil
b.1957
oud
's mournful Lebanese oud and Cristano Pato's piercing, Hispano-Celtic bagpipe. The Afro-Cubanized "Flamenco Sketches" burns with New York trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez
Jerry Gonzalez
Jerry Gonzalez
b.1949
trumpet
's dark, lovely and Davis-tinged flugelhorn, peppered by Dominguez's Segovia-meets-Bud Powell
Bud Powell
Bud Powell
1924 - 1966
piano
pianism. Havana-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
b.1963
piano
's rhapsodic lines illuminate his own "Fantasia por Miles y Gil," pulsed by the formidable footprints of Carter's sorcerer-like bass lines and accented by Peruvian drummer/ex-Weather Report
Weather Report
Weather Report

band/orchestra
sideman Alex Acuna. Corea gets to wear his Spanish heart on his sleeve on the self-penned "Trampolin," with Carter and Mexican drum phenom Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez
b.1971
drums
, contrasted by DeJohnette's Caribbean-cadenced, "Spantango," with Puerto Rican pianist Edsel Gomez
Edsel Gomez
Edsel Gomez
b.1962
piano
and Venezuelan percussionist Luisito Quintero.

With this daring and diverse recording, Belden shows how Spanish and Spanish-speaking artists have easily absorbed the Davis/Evans Brujera Brew, and how jazz instrumentalists have adapted to the ancient, African/Moorish and Gypsy/Jewish Flamenco strains in swinging fashion, without the need of a translator.


Track Listing: CD1: Comcierto de Aranjuez; Trampolin; Just Three Miles; Duende; Momento; Brujo y Cayo; Paisaje; Saeta/Pan Pipe CD2: Spantango; Flamenco Sketches; Tirititran; El Swing; Fantasia por Miles y Gil; Teao/Neo; Beautiful Love; Solea

Personnel: Bob Belden: co-producer, arranger, marimbas, timpani; Ron Carter: bass; Jack DeJohnette drums; Sonny Fortune: flute; Eddie Gomez: bass; Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano; John Scofield: guitar; Rabih Abou-Khalil: oud; John Clark: French horn: Tim Hagans: trumpet; Jerry Gonzalez: percussion, conga, flugelhorn; Adam Rudolph: tabla, caxixi, cajon, sintir, qarqaba; Jorge Pardo: flute; Alex Acuña: percussion, bongos, drums, maracas, bells, cajon, quinto; Carlos Benavent: bass; John Benítez: bass; Chick Corea: piano; Sammy Figuerova: percussion, conga, ganza; Scott Kinsey: synthesizer; Lou Marini: flute, bass flute; Michael Rabinowitz: bassoon; John Riley: timpani; Antonio Sanchéz: drums; Vince Wilburn Jr.: drums; Mike Williams: trumpet; Chano Domínguez: piano; Luisito Quintero: conga; Charles Pillow: English horn, oboe: Edsel Gomez: piano; Jaco Abel: guitar; Dominick Farinacci: trumpet; Victor Prieto: accordion; Cristina Pato: bagpipes; Edmar Castaneda: harp; Brahim Fribgame: dumbek, cajon; Niño Joseles guitar.

Record Label: Entertainment One


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