Steve Calafati's trail as a guitarist moved from classical music to jazz and on to rock. He released a rock album in the nineties, but when the Seattle rock scene put his music out of contention, Calafati began studying flamenco music, first in New York and then in Madrid. In 1999 he released his first flamenco album, Volume 1. The new Mediterra is the second, and if it proves anything, it is that Calafati was inspired when he decided to study the music.
Calafati's compositions are beautiful and have that lyrical quality which wafts across and envelops the listener. What's more, he has assembled a band that gives the soul to his music. One cannot discount Calafati's skill as a player. His notes are fluid and clean; they fall in a gentle rush; they shimmer and glow. "Rumba Nove" is one of the prime settings. The rhythm of the rumba flies on the strings of his guitar, but the tune is given a palpitating edge with Arturo Romay in tandem on the cuatro. And when Michele Ramo's violin sways in, her bowing agile and pithy, the allure is complete.
"Magdalena" sits comfortably in the lap of flamenco. The melody captivates, the playing is earthy, and the tempo dazzles. "Canzone per una Bella Moglie" is a slow tune painted in bold shades. Calafita plays the mandolin on this one overdubbed with the guitar, the two in perfect consonance, and Dave Smith's trumpet provides contrast with notes that are deeply etched yet melodic. A very enjoyable album indeed!
Track Listing: Intro to Mediterra; Rumba Nove; For Arturo; Magdalena; Road to Almeria; Tapas Dance;
Venezuelan Waltz; Spanish Funk; 1912; Canzone per una Bella Moglie.
Personnel: Steve Calafati: guitar, mandolin; Pete Corallo: drums, cajon, frame drum, percussion; Mario
Rodriguez: bass; Michele Ramo: violin; Dave Smith: trumpet; Dan Walsh: flute; Arturo
Romay: cuatro; Nerio Mateus Garcia: percussion.
Year Released: 2005
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Latin/World
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.