Chano Dominguez Quinteto Flamenco at Jazz Standard
The most daring move Domínguez made was to interject lyrics into this abstract music, in Blue in Green. Between the inaccessibility to many listeners of the Spanish language, and the melismatic vocal style of flamenco, for most of the audience the lines Blas Córdoba sang may have sounded simply like another melodic instrument. Domínguez made a point, however, of announcing the author of the texts: Gaditano poet Rafael Alberti. One of the grand figures of Iberian letters, his life (1902-99) spanned the 20th century almost exactly, and the very mention of his name seems a shorthand for resistance to the traumas Spain endured and is still struggling to grow beyond. Whether the audience could understand the words or not, the musicians were conscious of them, and that focus added an edge that brought the music into the realm of what Lorca aestheticized as duende. The texts employed, Domínguez said from the stage, date from the same era as Kind of Blue. The synchrony extended beyond the parallelism of the Spanish intellectual during fascism with the African American intellectual in the racist United States; the grain of the vowels, given gypsy-soul voice by Blas Córdoba, spoke in a direct way to a blue that was not kind-of.