Jazz music is very much a living art. The music’s best practitioners are elite heard in live performance. The energy of an audience brings something special to a performer, especially in a solo setting. Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez proves this on his extraordinary new live recording Over The Rainbow, a wonderfully nuanced and diverse collection of music spanning many of Dominguez’s own musical interests, including flamenco music, Latin American folk music and the classic jazz composition.
Of course, Dominguez has been highly regarded as the leader in marrying the Spanish folkloric musical style of flamenco to the more improvisational concepts of jazz music. Dominguez hails from Andalusia, the home of flamenco, and was steeped in the musical tradition from a young age. His growing appreciation for jazz helped him come to a realization about the connection between the two forms of music: both were created by persecuted peoples, namely the gypsies of southern Spain and the African American population.
Jazz and flamenco are very different and it takes a special musician to make the combination work. Dominguez has brought this special approach to many projects, including his work with Paco de Lucía, Martirio and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchetra, to name a few. His work has allowed him to branch out to musicians all over the world, whose influence can be heard in the material he chose to record on Over The Rainbow.
The recording was made during a live performance from February 24, 2012 at the Palau Falguera in Barcelona, Spain. Pieces were recorded before and during the concert. The selections being released were pared down from two hours worth of material that stylistically covers pieces by two outstanding jazz composers, Latin American folk and popular music writers, a couple of original songs and one hallmark of the American songbook.
The recording begins with a poignant take on John Lewis’s “Django,” Dominguez utilizing patience in the rise and fall of the composition. Eliseo Grenet’s “Drume Negrita” is a masterpiece of Cuban song played here with a dancing flair. Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” is played in a haltingly fascinating arrangement and is followed by Chilean folk legend Violeta Parra’s “Gracias A La Vida,” beginning as a subtle, poetic ballad and picking up steam, ending in a dynamic exclamation of joy. Dominguez reinterprets his former collaborator Cuban composer Marta Valdés’s “Hacia Dónde” beautifully as a stirring ballad.
The evocative take on Argentinean folk legend Atahualpa Yupanqui’s “Los Ejes De Mi Carreta” seems to capture gauzy rustic scene as the piece ambles along. “Mantreria” and “Marcel” are pieces Dominguez wrote in dedication to his children, the former being rigorous and enchanting and the latter a thoughtful rumination that blossoms into a heartwarming, gospel tinged ode. “Monk’s Dream” is done in a refreshingly direct manner lending to Monk’s stride piano influence. The recording concludes with Harold Arlen’s “Over The Rainbow,” a perfect song for Dominguez to showcase his rhapsodic mastery.
The solo concert is the most exposed place for a musician to bare his or her musical soul. Chano Dominguez puts his fabulous technique and artistry on full display on his new recording Over The Rainbow.