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(65 min, Luna Negra)
TRACK LIST: 1. Escuela de Chirigotas 6:58 2. El Hombre Invisible 3:19 3. A Night in Tunisia 7:14 4. Mi Amigo Manuel 4:37 5. Armando Rumba 5:19 6. Chulerias 6:14 7. El Tiempo me lo Dira 7:24 8. Intro Baila Gitana 4:39 9. Baila Gitana 6:00 10. Chanela 5:46 11. La Fiesta 7:49 LINEUP: Andres Olaegui - electric guitar; vocals Yago Salorio - electric bass Luis Abela - drums With: Javier Romanos - Flamenco guitar (3, 7) Huberto Morales - percussion (1, 10) Jorge Pardo - saxophone (9) Araceli Fuente - vocals (11)
Prolusion. Singer, guitarist and composer Andres Olaegui is a former member of Guadalquivir, one of the best-known bands that came out of Spain back in the '70s. "Como Ninos" should be considered his first solo album, although it comes under the vehicle of the ANDRES OLAEGUI TRIO.
Analysis. This is a highly diverse album musically, despite the fact that most of the eleven tracks present fall squarely into the framework of a traditional swing-based improvisational Jazz-Fusion. Only three compositions more or less fully suit the concept of what, from a canonic Progressive Rock viewpoint, is acknowledged as structured music. These are the first and the last two tracks on the album: Escuela de Chirigotas, Chanela and La Fiesta. The former are light (yet not superficial), melodic, affirmative non-vocal music in the so-called Latin style, built around a few different themes, some of which are fixed, some not. The only true song, La Fiesta, is a duo of Olaegui and a session female vocalist singing over a rich and quite unusual instrumental background, which, though, isn't devoid of traditional Latin American intonations too. El Tiempo Me lo Dira is a pretty-much unique thing. It begins with Andres's vocals, which my ears perceive to be not unlike the Moslem muezzin's plaintive appeal to the 'true believers', calling them to prayer, which comes to the accompaniment of light percussion. All this lasts during 2 minutes, after which the trio returns to its traditional domain, though often using blues techniques this time out. All seven of the tracks not yet named are instrumental pieces. Mi Amigo Manuel is a solo concerto for electric guitar with an unexpected finale, in which Andres's bandmates join him. While being built around a distinctively 'swinging' axis in the presence of the syncopations essential in such cases and unison solos, both El Hombre Invisible and Armando Rumba aren't so simple in their final appearance. Each is striking for its intense and very intricate drumming, which much diversifies the overall picture. Intro Baila Gitana is in the same vein, although there are only solo guitar, drums and handclaps. Baila Gitana isn't separated from its 'daughter' track and is its logical continuation. The most saturated in sound, above all due to the astonishing guest performance of saxophonist Jorge Pardo, this is one of my favorite tracks here. A Night in Tunisia combines the trio's traditional sound with the Spanish Flamenco style, and Chulerias is closer to classic Jazz-Fusion, reminding me slightly of Allan Holdsworth's "Atavachron". Both are excellent. What particularly amazes me regarding this effort is that the bandleader never obscures his partners in the performance department, besides which most instrumental compositions (the only two exceptions being Mi Amigo Manuel and Intro Baila Gitana) contain rather long episodes, in which the bass appears to be a pronounced primary soloing instrument.
Conclusion. "Como Ninos" is a strong effort by very competent jazz musicians. If you are into a traditional improvisational Jazz-Fusion with a certain Latin American sense, don't expect to find a better album, at least among those released recently.
VM: March 6, 2006
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