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Hugo Fernandez: Origenes

Bruce Lindsay By

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Madrid-based guitarist Hugo Fernández began playing guitar in his native Mexico. Later, he studied at Berklee, where he gained his Bachelor's degree in 1998 and completed his Masters at the University of New Orleans in 2005. After gaining his Masters he moved to Spain in mid-2006 but maintained his links with the Mexican music scene. Despite a wealth of experience—he started his life as a professional musician in the Mexican pop scene of the late '80s—Origenes is his first album as leader.

Fernández favors the seven-string guitar—a preference he shares with Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden among others. His playing is characterized by precise intonation and a graceful flow, creating a full, rich, sound whether he's playing single note solo runs or taking on more of an accompanist's role.

Bassist Ander Garcia and drummer Mariano Steimberg form a solid rhythm section. In the front line, saxophonist Ariel Bringuez joins Fernández. The guitar and saxophone combination works well. Both players have warm tones to their sounds, with Bringuez' tenor having a mellow quality that complements the richness of Fernández chordal playing.

The lovely "Brauni" showcases the quartet's ability to play a ballad, all four men delivering restrained and delicate performances. Bringuez' soprano is the lead instrument on the tune, but Fernández also adds his own well-judged solo. Other compositions range from the smooth grooves of "15 Minutos" and "Remedium," the gentle swing of "Salida" (which features some lovely unison playing from Fernández and Bringuez) and "Kiki" and the shifting pace and rhythms of "Rana" and "Ollín."

Track Listing: Kiki; Ollín; Brauni; 15 Minutos; Rana; Salida; Remedium.

Personnel: Hugo Fernández: 7-string guitar; Ariel Brínguez: saxophones; Ander García; double bass; Mariano Steimberg: drums.

Title: Origenes | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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