In what has suddenly become the rising tide of Latin Jazz music, Chano Domínguez rides the crest of the wave, his music, surfing in an entirely new direction, almost a (new) polar opposite to that of the Latin Jazz mainstream of say Chucho Valdés, or Roberto Fonseca, whose music is steeped in the Afro-Caribbean idiom. Although Chano Domínguez, on the other hand, brings a distinctly different poetics to the music that we call Jazz, his music is informed by the combination of provocative sensuality and formidable percussive weight of traditional Spanish dances – bulerías, alboreá, alegrías, pasodoble fandango, zapateado, saeta, sevillanas, soleá, Spanish tango and so on.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Over The Rainbow
Chano Domínguez is, like Chucho Valdés of Cuba, the grand master of his instrument and as such he needs no one, really, to share the stage with him in order to express the intoxicating rhythms of his music. Over The Rainbow proves not only that he is capable of running the show on his own, but that he is virtually a law unto himself. His pianism puts the argument for his genius beyond reproach as he turns the instrument into an eloquent orchestra and adds the ululations of the flamenco cantaor by the smudging of fiery triplets and gilded, lightning-fast arpeggios as well as other ethereal suggestions: the rat-a-tat-tat of the heels of bailarín and the finger-snaps and hand-claps that seem to urge him or her to greater intensity.
There can be no other word to describe the experience of listening to Over The Rainbow, which was recorded at Auditori Palau Falguera in February 2012, other than to suggest that many of the devices that inform the poetics of Chano Domínguez are seemingly the trickeries of a magician rather than a pianist. Consider how in “Mantreria”, for instance, these things become so ineffable and illusive in grand scheme of his sleight of left hand, that you sense them only after the echo has vanished into thin air.
In considering this kind of musical vudú one can only gasp at the magic of John Lewis’s iconic brooding melody “Django” and how he gradually turns the portrait of the great Roma musician and guitarist into a sort of Canción del Fuego Fatuo thereby raising the famous ghost of Manuel de Falla. Throughout the rest of the programme, his rippling right hand figures turn from dense jazzy exploits into a sort of interminably slow and hypnotic Danza Ritual del Fuego drawing inspiration – from time to time – from the songbook of de Falla. Listen tearfully also to “Drume Negrita” played as if sung by an invisible African woman to her invisible child in the sugarcane fields of Cuba.
If by now you have not been convinced that Chano Domínguez is unassailably his own man, a master of the twisted idiom of Spanish-Jazz, sailing in solitary splendour on an ocean of his own creation, then wait until he’s done with Harold Arlen’s “Over The Rainbow” at the end of the disc.
Track list: 1: Django; 2: Drume Negrita; 3: Evidence; 4: Gracias a la Vida; 5: Hacia Dónde; 6: Los Ejes de Mi Carreta; 7: Mantreria; 8: Marcel; 9. Monk’s Dream; 10: Over the Rainbow.
Personnel: Chano Domínguez: piano.
Label: Sunnyside Records