This album was originally released in '96 and is being reissued with improved digital clarity by Milan. Barbarisimo finds the legendary Cuban pianist Frank Emilio Flynn with Miguel Angá Diaz and "Changito" on percussion, Orlando Valle on flute, Carlitos del Puerto on bass, and Enrique Lazaga on guiro and claves.
Though the first tune, "Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga," is clearly rooted in the rich musical traditions of the Cuba, the remaining tunes are a mixture of jazz and, on occasion, classical music. Tunes like "Midnight Theme," "Scheherazada," and "Zapateo Cubano" deceive with their knowledge and joyful execution of all three genres. This approach often finds the group encompassing several possibilities: several avenues to explore. From a musical point of view, this is a blessing, as it does not lock the listener into the often predictable and incessant beats of Latin jazz. Instead, we're allowed to wonder and access this rich musical tradition through a variety of channels. There is the gentle melody of "Hacia Donde," the free jazz-like sensations of "Encuentro," the folk feel of "El Manisero" and "Tony y Jesusito," and the percussive powers of "Leungó."
As the album progresses, each song becomes a possibility, a new opportunity to experience the rumba, the cha cha chá, the mambo, and other Latin styles. Of course, this is dance music and Frank Emilio Flynn and friends never forget to sway the imagination through the hips. Barbarisimo is infectious and imaginative, a great album in '96 and a greater and clearer treat today.
Track Listing: Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga; Midnight Theme; Scheherazada; Zapateo Cubano; Los
Amigos; Hacia Donde; Mambo In; Encuentro; El Manisero; Tony y Jesusito; Mi Ayer; Social
Club Buena Vista; Leungó.
Personnel: Frank Emilio Flynn: piano; Miguel Angá Diaz, Changito: percussion; Orlando Valle: flute;
Carlitos del Puerto: bass; Enrique Lazaga: guiro, claves.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.