Words by Chris Moss
A sometime collaborator with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, Juan Martín is one of the most versatile flamenco guitarists currently playing, combining as he does a time-honed technical mastery with an evergreen sensitivity to his instrument’s emotional range. This album, from his own label, pairs his talents with the younger but equally gifted guitarist Chaparro from Malaga, best-known as a skilled accompanist and exponent of the loose flamenco licks known as falsetas. Together, the duo play through an assortment of palos (rhythms), ranging from the sweet rumba of ‘Tu Eres la Fuente’ to the delightful alegría ‘Mar de Plata’ to two Sephardic songs that exude a more plaintive spirit. Two guitars playing flamenco allows for a richness and rhythmic vitality that one alone can never achieve, and Martín and Chaparro also explore the percussive potential of their 12 collective strings. Theirs is an entirely natural musical conversation, and all the rehearsing seems subsumed beneath something mellow and instinctive. An inspired joining of two of flamenco’s most exciting forces, with all the energetic fun of, say, Rodrigo y Gabriela, but with heaps more depth.