For reasons of personal timetabling we didn’t see any performances focusing on guitar this year until the end of our stay, though there had been several excellent guitarists in support of other artists. So I was particularly looking forward to seeing Jesus Guerrero at Sala Paul.
I’m a fan of flamenco guitar, of Antonio Rey, of Santiago Lara, Manuel Valencia and Xavier Patino, (as well as Paco de Lucia, naturally ) but Guerrero was unknown to me. The Gaditano’s set included drums and electric bass guitar as well as a singer and dancer so it promised to be interesting. I subsequently learned that he was quite well-known, but as an accompanist, not a soloist, and as a composer of pieces for other people.
Now he has a disc out, entitled ‘Calma‘ so has put together his own show, together with Paquito Gonzales on drums, Manuel Sierra ‘Chechu’ on bass guitar, the singer Miguel Angel Soto ‘Londro’ and dancer and palmista Antonio Molina ‘El Choro’.
It was excellent, the music and the musicians so full of joy in what they were doing. Guerrero’s technique is less fluid than Lara’s, less technically precise than Rey’s, more akin to Valencia perhaps, but of a tremendously high standard.
Like the Camerata Flamenco Project, which we saw at the same venue earlier in the Festival, the musicians and performers on stage for ‘Calma‘ were, it was clear, having a really good time – Paquito Gonzales (from just up the road in Sanlucar) didn’t stop grinning, widely, all evening. They just loved playing, dancing and singing and the audience loved it too – there was a true connection.
It was so good that it was not even spoiled by the French couple sitting immediately to my left who, it was obvious, were taking one of the palmista courses – they were quietly practising their clapping before the show. The man, though not the woman, proceeded to ‘clap along’ through-out many of the pieces, though he gave up during the more difficult rhythms and rather freer form pieces and didn’t begin again. So I lost the chance to use the acid put down I was busily concocting in my head in french.
Quite what level of arrogance allows someone to think that they, an amateur and learning, can just join in and take part with professional musicians as they play astonishes me. This was a formal performance which the audience had paid to watch. Unbelievable.
Nonetheless, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the band. The one disappointment was that there were no CDs on sale afterwards. A quick check on-line revealed that ‘Calma‘ was available for download, but not as a CD – pity. I’m afraid that I’m still wedded to ‘old’ technology ( I even have vinyl, and not because it’s trendy, but because I’ve never replaced it ).
Maybe as he becomes better known Guerrero might think about burning some CDs. I’ll be looking out for them. See what you think below.