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Conosur: Zonda

Jack Bowers By

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This is a rhythmically intense album of Latin compositions by Conosur (guitarists Hernán Romero and Tony Viscardo) augmented on occasion by vocals, percussion, bandoneon, cymbals, drums and/or bass. Romero wrote seven of the dozen tunes, Viscardo two. The others are “La Añera,” the familiar “El Condor Pasa” and Astor Piazzolla’s slow tango, “Oblivion.” Between them, Romero and Viscardo play a number of guitars — electric, acoustic, 12–string, nylon string — and Romero also plays charango, keyboards, cajón and sings (sometimes as a chorus) on five selections. Bandeonist Raul Jaurena is a welcome addition, splashing color and diversity whenever he appears (as on “City of Heaven,” even though he’s uncredited there). While there’s a lot happening on this date, much of it pleasing, I wouldn’t want to convey an impression that the music produced is, for the most part, Jazz, although it has undeniably been nurtured by and sprung forth from the same soil, and some improvisation takes place, notably by Jaurena and the co–leaders (precisely how much is hard to estimate). If you’re looking for an album of Jazz guitar, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you’re partial to rhythmic and tasteful Latin music, well–played by two congenial guitarists (and their companions) who obviously share your love and appreciation for it, Zonda may be a sure–fire winner.

Track listing: Riding the Waves; Más; City of Heaven; Little Dreamer; Oblivion; Yaka; Joelle; Zonda; La Añera; Poesia; Ven; El Condor Pasa (57:24).


Track Listing: Riding the Waves; M

Personnel: Hernan Romero: Guitars; Tony Viscardo: Guitars; Manolo Badrena: Percussion; Chris Meyer: Acoustic Bass; John Albanese: Cymbals; Raul Jaurena: Bandoneon.

Title: Zonda | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

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