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The Many Sides of Jorge Pardo

I first heard him play at one of those smoky, intimate jazz clubs in Madrid in the late 90's, not sure which, but it was either Cafe Central or Clamores. He was associated at that point with Paco de Lucia. Paco, the progenitor of the music that is the mixture of flamenco and jazz, used him precisely to highlight that fusion. He performed either on flute or sax imbuing the music with a unique blend of sounds. But in the beginning for Pardo there was the influence of Camarón de la Isla, the Ray Charles of flamenco music and its most famous singer. From Camarón he would come to understand the rich flamenco heritage of Andalucía. Subsequently Lucia and Camarón would feature Pardo on their groundbreaking album "Viviré" in 2005.

    Much later, August 29, 2015 to be precise, I would coincide with Jorge Pardo in Pamplona at the new state of the art Baluarte Auditorium. That night his show included my friend Jerry Gonzalez on trumpet and conga and the fiery Cuban piano player nicknamed 'Caramelo'. Rycardo Moreno was on electric guitar, Antonio Serrano, harmonica and 'Piraña', another Cuban on percussion. All of this was wrapped tightly around the bass of Javier Colina, perhaps Spain's greatest jazz bassist, who rounded out the group. It was a fabulous, magical evening in a beautiful, modern space. On that occasion the idiom was a mixture of Spanish jazz and Caribbean rhythms, a sort of salsa rendition of the now classic jazz/flamenco fusion. Jorge Pardo is a versatile artist and musician who thrives in the realms of jazz, flamenco and Latin rhythms and composes fortuitous musical adventures for his audiences.   

    On Thursday, November 17th 2016, in the intimate setting of the "Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain" before a sold out crowd of roughly 100 patrons, Jorge Pardo showed off another, different side of his talent. He opened the evening with a soft, lilting flute solo with elements of Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Ravel's Bolero and continued it with the fine flamenco guitar of 'Juanito' Pascual and his trio. The most interesting wrinkle of the night was Jose Moreno on percussion, in particular the 'cajon'. The 'cajon' is literally a box the musician sits on and pounds with his hands. Although it was first used in the Afro-Peruvian music native to that country over the past 50 years, as Moreno was to confirm to this writer, it has been used increasingly in flamenco shows or 'faenas'.

    The evening was tinged with interesting flights of fancy, from hard flamenco 'Bulerias' and 'Tangos' led by Juanito on the guitar to a swinging rendition of the classic Adalberto Santiago romantic ballad; 'Ya No Estas a mi Lado Corazon' that had the audience singing along with the first verses.

"Ya no estás mas a mi lado, corazón.
En el alma solo tengo soledad, y si no puedo verte,
Porque Dios me hizo quererte, para hacerme sufrir mas

Es la historia de un amor
Como no habra otra igual..."

    Spain/Culture.us is producing more and more interesting spectacles and activities with a wide range of artists and cultural figures who would not otherwise be presented here. Add their website to your favorite places and see what this vanguard cultural project has to offer.

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Whoever loves Flamenco, loves Jorge Pardo. Those who have a passion for music must love Jorge Pardo because he chants through his flute, is able to let his saxophone complain, enjoys the rhythm and passes his magic on to his instruments.

Jorge Pardo, saxophone and flute player, is one of the most outstanding and consistent revelations of the flamenco jazz fusion. He, together with Paco de Lucía and Camarón de la Isla, helped forging a new musical language melding jazz and flamenco. His playing style has become a referential point.

            He shared ideas, music and experiences during 20 years, with the master of flamenco guitar, Paco de Lucia. During these years of tours,

records and coexistence, they created a new musical language known as Flamenco Jazz or Flamenco Fusion. This music had a strong flamenco nature and was composed also off classic works and world rhythms.

His discography extends beyond 20 recordings as leader. He also collaborated and exchanged experiences with other artists all over the world, such as Chick Corea, Paco de Lucía, Tete Montoliu, Marcus Miller, Pat Metheny, etc.

            His albumHuellas, released in 2013, earned him the award of Best European Jazz Musician by the French Jazz Academy, becoming an international reference for Jazz, Flamenco and traditional and improvised music. He recently won The National Award for Contemporary Music, conferred by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports from Spain in 2016.

After a successful 3-year tour, which took them around the world (Europe, India and South America) performing over 250 concerts, this atypical trio, coming from the most traditional flamenco scene, experiments by playing by ear different kinds of music like Jazz, South American Folklore, classical music or even songs of the Beatles and, of course, using their detailed knowledge of Flamenco.

            Huellasis the most personal and awarded project of Jorge Pardo. And now, three years later theHuellasproject travels to the U.S. Over these three years many musicians have been part of this project, and in this American tour, Jorge brings his music to the American stages, featuring an exclusive collaboration with the Juanito Pascual Trio.


            Virtuoso flamenco guitarist / composer / improviserJuanito Pascualhas been called “one of the hottest flamenco guitarists in recent years” byNational Public Radio, a major accolade which in this case is just the jumping off point for the Minneapolis native’s musical style. His sound is a truly organic blend of a mastery of traditional and contemporary flamenco with influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead to Miles Davis and J.S. Bach. Pascual’s international touring schedule has brought him to venues including the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, New York’s Lincoln Center, and Blue Note Jazz Club, The Panama Jazz Festival and Madrid’s renowned Casa Patas.

            The Juanito Pascual Trio featuring bassist Brad Barrett and percussionist/vocalist Jose Moreno, has been touring regularly throughout the U.S. and abroad, captivating audiences with their masterful musicianship, and truly infectious chemistry. Their albumJuanito Pascual New Flamenco Trio, recorded and mixed by multi-Grammy winning sound engineer Rob Griffin, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim and was included inNPRcritic Milo Miles’Top World Music Albums of 2014list.

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