Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dave Holland and Pepe Habichuela

Dave Holland and Pepe Habichela
Dare2Rrecords 2010

And what hands they are. The master of the upright bass and lesser (in the U.S.)master of the flamenco guitar get together for one of the loveliest sets of music in Holland's long discography. Holland's notes indicate they first played together in 2007 in Granada and Malaga, and Holland fell in love with the music and its expressssion of the life and history of Habichela's people. The music evolved with the addition of Pepe's son, Josemi Carmona, more concerts in 2008 and 2009, and final a trip to the studio to play the music that was "like growing a tree. It requires care and patience but at a certain time it will eventually bear blossom and then fruit."

This recording is the culmination of that process, and a reflection of Holland and Habicuela's passion for the music and the people. There is a lot more history to the Carmona family (Habichuela is part of that clan. Habichuela is a nickname meaning beans), and many generations of flamenco guitar players. Joining Pepe and Josemi are Carlos Carmona on guitar, Juan Carmona on cajon and percussion, and Israel Porrina on cajon and percussion.

The music is exquisite, delicate yet lively and strongly played. The are no great bursts or fanfare although there is a lot of fire and energy throughout, particularly in the rhumbas and fandangos, contrasted by lovely, tender songs taken andante with great expressive play on all parts. The clarity of the recording is such that one hears the plucking of the bass and guitar strings, which adds to the immediacy of the playing. Eight of the tracks are strictly flamenco forms in a modern setting, and two, "The Whirling Dervish" and "Joyride" are jazz compositions of Holland. The music fuses traditional flamenco and modern jazz beautifully, in a recording that will appeal to jazz, flamenco, and world music listeners. What comes across is the love of music and sharing with each other is a truly joyous recording. 

A must for lovers of the flamenco guitar, and for the virtuosity of Dave Holland in a different setting.

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