New Bojaira: Zorongo Blu

Jesús Hernández and Alfonso Cid (one half of New Bojaira – the others being bassist Tim Ferguson and drummer Mark Holen) are not – and will not – be the last Spaniards to be drawn in the interminable wake of Federico García Lorca who was seduced by the irresistible and visceral energy of Jazz. If Lorca celebrated his journey with the fascinating volume when bebop was being born in the hands of Bird, Dizzy and Monk with his Poeta en Nueva York, posthumously published in (1940).

Jazz, after all, came from a similar bottomless place filled with diabolical harmonic and rhythmic leaps as the duende of Lorca’s poetry. But Lorca was not the only one to be drawn to the dark and mysterious place that produced such a fascinating collision in art. Spain – intrinsically rooted in the African/Moorish traditions – has produced a long line of artists whose arc of creativity has blazed a familiar personal and improvisational trail not dissimilar to the meteoric path of Jazz. The great pianist Chano Domínguez comes to mind easily as does the legendary guitarist Paco de Lucía.

Not far behind, in the colourful wake of this tradition, come the musicians of New Bojaira with their magnificent music in Zorongo Blu. If you have a visceral reaction to this repertoire you would not be alone for, like much of the music of artists like Mr Chano Domínguez and Paco de Lucía, it is cast in lapidary perfection that almost transcends the phrenic and enters the realm of the physical. Much of this is owed to the sharp attack of Mr Hernández’s pianism and – perhaps more so – to the rapturous arabesques of Alfonso Cid’s vocals, together with the vocals of Sergio Gómez “El Colorao” (when he is called upon to do so). And make no mistake the richly mysterious mood of Spanish folk forms of flamenco, Soleá Blues, Bulería and Rumba are beautifully sustained in the virile bass lines of Tim Ferguson and thunderous drum colouring of Mark Holen.

It bears mention that Randy Brecker is magnificent on “El Demonio Llama a Mi Puerta” and the almost ubiquitous Saxophones of Peter Brainin makes for wholly natural feeling on the climaxes and sudden changes of the music on which he plays. But it is the entire repertoire that is front and centre here. This is music that is vividly atmospheric and creates a genuine sense of supernatural danger, a mood which culminates in the serene but spooky “Zorongo Blu”. On a more seductive note comes the superb rendition of Thelonious Monk’s signature “’Round Midnight”, a luxurious slow and mesmerising version that successfully captivates the listener completely. While the monumental Bulería, “Vente Pa’ Broadway” is a fitting dénouement to an album that is New Bojaira’s classic celebration of the collision of all that is Moorish and Arabic in Spanish music with all that is African and American in Blues and Jazz.

Track list – 1: El Demonio Llama a Mi Puerta (Soleá Blues); 2: Jaleos del Celoso Extremeño; 3: La Africana (Guajira); 4: Green Room; 5: Farruca de Argel; 6: ’Round Midnight; 7: Zorongo Blu (Zorongo por Seguiriya); 8: Ese Meneo (Tanguillo); 9: No Encuentro Tu Pasión (Rumba); 10: Vente Pa’ Broadway (Bulería)

Personnel – Jesús Hernández: piano; Tim Ferguson: contrabass; Mark Holen: drums, tambourin and darbuka (7); Alfonso Cid: vocals, flute and hand-clapping; Peter Brainin: soprano saxophone (1, 2) and tenor saxophone (3, 4, 6); Randy Brecker: flugelhorn (1); Sergio Gómez “El Colorao”: vocals (5); María de los Ángeles: bailaora

Released – 2019
Label – Independent
Runtime – 57:28

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

11,403FansLike
1,661FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,658FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more