Imitation is often said to be the highest form of flattery, but independent inspiration forged into similar styling is a much higher art. That's the case here with guitarist David Broza, whose admiration for flamenco icons led to a marvelous album holding many delights.
After living in Spain during some of his teenage years, Broza's focus over the decades on Spanish guitar comprised various formative influences from folk, blues and acoustic rock, recently melded even tighter with the flamenco sensibility. Whatever strumming or picking method he's employed over a long career, Broza plays at an optimal level and that's the rare air this entire record inhabits. The Israeli singer-songwriter lists a basic goal to elicit "oles" from listeners in that traditional sign of approval, and it's easy to imagine many such responses.
Percussionist Isreal Suarez and bassist Dany Noel provide admirable support throughout. "Flor en Masada #3" illustrates the trio at their best, on a ballad that unfolds into layers of emotion. While the supporting crew is top-notch, some of the record's finest moments come on the two songs with Broza on solo guitar, "Nili's Waltz" and "Autumn Longing." "Saturday Morning Jig" is a cheerful, whistle while you work type tune featuring Tali Rubinstein
on recorder, complementing the guitar with parallel notes.
"Burleria" and "Asi Mi Corazon" are stirring examples of the sensibility Garza employs with his light touch, and also show just how effective some hand-clapping accompaniment can be. "Tears for Barcelona" is an anthem for Catalonian political issues, including a string quartet. The lighthearted "I'll Never Ride a Horse Again" is reminiscent of a Stephane Grappelli
jaunt down memory lane and "Stolen Kiss #2" winds into another 1970s-style shuffle, shifting speeds before returning to the opening tempo in a crisp demonstration of how precision-based licks may be slight but very significant.
Broza's sensibilities have been listed with other craftsmen like Django Reinhardt
and such comparisons are quite accurate. The tone-based soul of any such string-theory equation is clearly derived from Paco De Lucia
, one of flamenco's ultimate icons. Perhaps fittingly, Broza became the first person to play some of that late master's guitars (listed on every song but one), and indeed those instruments seem to sing in approval as this album proves worthy of its rare origins. Accenting touches harken back to previous masters but there's never a derivative moment.
Broza is also recognized for his work involving relations between Israel and Palestine plus other humanitarian efforts like founding the One Million Guitars project that provides instruments and instruction to less fortunate children. While his discography includes multiple collaborations and formats, this marks his first venture into strictly instrumental compositions. It is one of the strongest projects in his varied catalogue and indeed a case of inspiration, not imitation. Ole!
Guitar Confessions; Tom's Song; Saturday Morning Jig; Burlería; Nili’s Waltz; I'll Never Ride A Horse Again; Así Mi Corazón; Flor En Masada #3; Autumn Longing; Tears For Barcelona; Stolen Kiss #2; Too Old To Die Young #2