Review: Trio Caminero Cafe Berlin

REVIEW – Flamenco Biënnale Nederland opened yesterday with the first part of a Double Bill streamed live from the famous Café Berlin in Madrid. Trio Caminero showcased their adaptation for double bass of the greatest pieces most famous solo pieces for guitar by the great masters. Read this review by Susanne Zellinger: about the opening of musical worlds.

Flamencobiennale NL: World premiere of “Al Toque” by Caminero Trio, live recording from Café Berlín in Madrid.

Trio Caminero live at Cafe Berlin Madrid

The Trio

Moises P. Sánchez is one of the most interesting musicians in european jazz scene who dominates a broad spectrum of musical styles. He is a free spirit who puts his own stamp on even such well-known pieces as Stravinsky’s ‘Rites of Spring’. As a musician, composer and producer, he is a permanent fixture in the madrid music scene.
Paquito González is the percussionist of choice for big flamenco names such as Miguel Poveda and Vicente Amigo and has been playing with Pablo Martín for years in various formations like UHF.
Pablo Martín Caminero, whom we already introduced on Flamencoagenda a few days ago, is the head of the trio. (Read the interview with Pablo in the blog).

Danza Arabe by Sabicas

The great concert had many highlights, such as the “Danza Arabe” by Sabicas, a perfect interplay between piano and double bass, in which the mood was perfectly captured and Moises Sánchez’s fingers flew over the keys like little birds. This was followed by a Fandango de Huelva “Al Niño Miguel” by Riqueni, in which the bass took over the main melody, wonderfully melancholic and melodious. During Paco de Lucía’s Bulería, the jazzy groove took over, and during the last piece, a rumba by Gerardo Núñez, we finally learned why Pablo sometimes seemed a little nervous, since his maestro was among the audience in the hall.

Moises P. Sánchez of Trio Caminero

Church-tonal scales in jazz

One of my favourite pieces was the tangos “Rocayisa”, with which Moraito Chico introduced his CD “Morao, Morao”. Three themes of this tangos, which are also repeated again and again in the original recording by Moraito Chico, are the focus of this jazz interpretation. The first consists of chromatically shifted guitar chords, a frequently used jazz stylistic device, which are now reflected on the piano and, at the end of the piece, climb tonally ever higher spheres in transposed variants.

Starting from these three passages, which also introduce the original recording, the harmonic pattern of the tangos is improvised upon, which firstly invites improvisation and secondly finds its counterpart in the frequent use of old church-tonal scales in jazz. As usual, and as a memory effect, so to speak, the three initial themes reappear acoustically again and again.

Paquito González of Trio Caminero

It is actually obvious to approach flamenco themes in the thicket of jazz musical approaches and to tread other paths in this new combination, surprising that this has not been done more often.

Opening up musical worlds

By opening up to other musical worlds, such as jazz, the flamenco guitar not only changed its harmonic dress, but also its form and structure in its compositions. Arbitrarily strung together rhythmic-melodic parts, which ultimately arose from the vocal accompaniment, became thematically designed pieces, often similar in structure to jazz, even if this musical design is not an invention of this genre.

Pablo Martín sees the flamenco guitar as one of the “highlights” of human/musical/creative work and thus wants to give this instrument a much higher, social-artistic status. In any case, he has delivered a not unimportant piece of the mosaic with this new work.

Pablo Martín Caminero

It was wonderful to see that there are still places where music can take place in front of an audience, something that has not been possible here for months. Pablo Martín also thanked festival director Ernestina van de Noort for this in the following short artist talk. But the festival is far from over: it continues tonight with the Daniel García Diego Trio and next weekend with Rocío Molina and Ana Morales.

Pablo Martín Caminero chatting to Ernestina van de Noort, festival director, after the show.

Text: Susanne Zellinger, Bruno Chmel.
Images: stills from the live streaming show.

Susanne Zellinger is flamenco journalist and editor-in-chief of Flamenco Divino.