Diego Barber -|- Calima – [Sunnyside Records, 2009]
Flamenco: that ancient and adaptable Spanish musical genre is no stranger to jazz, as evidenced by the brilliant work of Miles Davis, Al Di Meola and Chick Corea. Now, on his jazz debut, the astounding Canary Islands-born guitarist Diego Barber, upgrades that artform for the 21st century on his new recording Calima, backed by an impressive all-American ensemble featuring tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier.
Inspired by the tradewinds that blow from North Africa to his home island, Barber s finessed and fluid guitar strains effortlessly marry Andalusia to the Big Apple throughout the CD s eight tracks. Piru, Lanzarote, and 190 East dance and trance with intricate medium tempos, contrasted by the rock/funk Weather Report-ish Catalpa and Virgianna. Richi is coded with a martial Quixote-like drumbeat, while Air begins with a soft machined intro that morphs into a near-R&B rhythm then nearly deconstructs into a free-jazz zone. On all of the tracks, the American rhythm section laced by Turner s snaky sax lines provides the perfect propulsions and syncopated support for Barber to work his dexterous, fleet-fingered magic. Continue reading