Sunday, January 04, 2009

Russ Hewitt - Bajo El Sol

Bajo el Sol The genre “Nuevo Flamenco” has floated around close to 20 years now, though of course the music is even older. I have personal favorites in the genre, and I’m always happy when someone comes along that can actually add some new depth and vision. As a genre so much progress has been made that few of us salivate over pulling out our scratched-up copies of Poets and Angels. It was genre-defining, to be sure; but extremely limited in technique and vision. That’s where Russ Hewitt comes in – with vision. The songs on this CD are supplemented by virtuosity. I love the way Russ simply uses his fluid fingering skills sparingly – as wonderful spices to enhance the meal and not overwhelm the entire experience.

The title tune, Bajo El Sol, opens in full dress, and slowly unpeels it’s parts. About 2 minutes in the improvisations starts with small flourishes that excite my eartastebuds. After the bridge things get even more exciting, and I wonder exactly when his fingers will fall off. Just as that thought comes to mind, the playing returns to a relaxing pace. Shoutouts for Palma De Mallorca, an energetic tune, and The Pampas, beautifully approached with a slower pace. All the tunes are written by Russ. Russ Hewitt