Alex Conde - Origins
‘’ORIGINS” is a fusion album from the roots and elements of flamenco (bulerías, soleáres), afro-cuban (guaguancó and rumba) and american jazz form. The work is also an exploration of the musical origins of this international pianist who has traveled the world and explored the roots of afro-cuban music and jazz from a flamenco perspective.
African music and its tradition on percussion are the key of most of the world folkloric rhythms and syncopated accents. During colonial times, Africans were exported as slaves to many geographies, and in the process, their cultural and religious believes as well as their rhythmic patterns landed in the Caribbean, North America and Spain. Consequently, it’s not a coincidence that the magic resemblance of the ‘’3+2’’ rhythmical patterns from Africa is implicit in the most traditional expressions of flamenco, rumba and jazz.
The mystery of the clave can be found in Spanish flamenco palos like seguiriya, bulería or soleá. These rhythms are unique and specific expressions from a region where a unique melting pot of sounds and cultures (Jewish, Moorish, and Gypsy) co-existed for centuries. The rhythmic elements of North Africa collided with Eastern melodies and European harmonies, creating unique combinations of ‘’3 plus 2’’ on the rhythmical cells, clapping and footwork spread on the twelve-beats patterns.
Alex Conde blends all these ingredients in compositions like “Bulerijazz”, a piece that combines the sounds, rhythms and flavors of a bulería de Jerez with a touch of the Jazz Messengers three-horns sounds in Caravan, bridging Jerez and New York City in one go. He also shows his colors on “Upper West Side”, a Tango flamenco (not to be confused with the Argentinian tango) that is not too fast, not too slow, and that merges the flavor of Latin-jazz trumpet solo improvisation with a traditional compás reminiscent of Granada.
In “Spring Break”, one will find a true seguiriya counted in 5 by the Gitanos and in 12 by traditional occidental musicians, with an implicit 3-2 clave immersed in the rhythmical structure. It’s up to the listener to connect the dots!
“Jungle Street” is a composition inspired on Eddie Palmieri’s classic chords in fourths, which made Palmieri a pioneer in the Latin-jazz genre. The jury is still out about the 3-2 or 2-3 clave commanding the rhythmical pattern in this piece. It works either way, some people say! The “Soleá de Ismael” Alex explores the dramatic and desperate quejío of the flamenco voice that blends with the irreverent sound of electronic keyboards and hip-hop beat. An exploration of sounds and textures well outside the boundaries of “traditional flamenco”. A magnet for controversy.
For this adventure, Alex Conde had the fortune to team up with world-class artists from New York City, the Latin-jazz and Jazz “mecca” of the world - Conrad Herwig, Marcus Gilmore, Dayna Stephens, Brian Lynch, Luques Curtis, John Benítez, Camilo Molina and Guillermo Barrón.
Alex also counted with the contribution of special guests like the renown Spaniard copla singer Alejandro Conde - his father, who lends his voice for a dramatic rendition of the Spanish classic “El Emigrante”, Ismael Fernandez, who leads the charge in “Soleá de Ismael”, and the up-and-coming jazz guitarist from New York City Andres Abenante.