Niño Josele ‘Española’ (Warner Spain) 3/5

Flamenco guitarist Juan José Heredia to give him his real name has always had an interest in jazz and this is reflected in the fusion of the two genres found herein. In fact he has even played as second guitarist on a recent album by Paco de Lucia and as such is greatly respected in the Madrileño music scene, having accompanied singer-songwriter Juan-Manuel Serrat, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes and even flamenco great Enrique Morente. This album is partly recorded in Madrid and otherwise in New York where the guitarist has enlisted the services of some of the cream of jazz musicians in the Big Apple including saxophonist Phil Woods and trombonist Angel ‘Papo’ Vazquez. Produced by film director Fernando Trueba, who has been behind several excellent Latin jazz projects in recent years, the music oscillates between instrumental flamenco and flamenco jazz. An obvious homage to Paco de Lucia comes in the shape of ‘Camino de Lucia’ while the title track is a beautiful guitar reworking of the famous McCoy Tyner composition. For jazzistas, ‘Waltz for Bill [Evans] provides a showcase for Woods to excel musch in the way Paul desmond did way back on the Spanish-tinged pieces by Dave Brubeck. The catchy rumba ‘Gloria bendita’ has definite crossover potential and trombonist Vazquez takes an excellent solo here. An interesting album with plenty of avenues to explore in the future for Josele.

Tim Stenhouse