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.
Born on Lanzarote, Canary Islands, to a musical family that included a great uncle who played piano, and a mother who listened to classical music, Barber was introduced to the electric guitar at the age of ten. He initially was drawn to jazz and popular music. He studied with Miguel Angel Calzadilla and Tonin Corujo, a local instructor. He later moved to Madrid and enrolled at the Conservatory of Arturo Soria, and studied harmony and composition with Jose Ramon Garcia. He later matriculated at the Conservatory Superior of Music in Salamanca, where he completed his degree in Classical Guitar under the tutelage of Ricardo Gallen and Costas Cotsiolis who persuaded Barber to further study with him in Athens. After his studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Marco Tamayo, Barber won the coveted 1st prize in the Classical Guitar International Competition, and triumphed at a contest produced by Miami Classical Society in 2004.
Now based in New York and Madrid, where he collaborates with guitarist Chema Vilches, Diego Barber’s Calima offers a fresh breeze that brings flamenco to our era, as easily as Barber s fantastic fingers fly over the frets. Perhaps this work has crystallized years of excitement and study, he writes in the liner notes, as well as many shared moments with professors and colleagues who, by their support, encouraged my fervent desire to become a musician.
-))- Original Release Date: March, 2009
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