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erik neuteboom
4 stars In the early Nineties I bought some Spanish progrock magazines (Sirius) in order to improve my 'one-year-Spanish' and to discover more of the exciting world of Spanish progressive rock. In one Sirius I noticed an add in which Angel Romero (a known Spanish proghead from Madrid who later moved to the USA) offered his entire progrock LP collection because of a dust-allergy. I felt like a vulture but it was no problem to him, he was happy with my appreciation for the socalled Rock Andaluz, the wonderful blend of Spanish flamenco and progrock. I asked him for advise and bought albums from Cai, Azahar and Vega. On this debut LP guitarplayer Tomas Vega delivers a pleasant progressive blend of flamenco and rock.

1. Triana (3:55): This track is a transition from Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz his work. It contains a cheerful climate and a swinging rhythm-section featuring jazzy inspired flamenco guitar runs, a bit polished string-arrangements and an exciting duel between flowing electric guitar and fast flamenco guitar.

2. Zona rosa (5:53): The first and final part sounds romantic with warm flamenco guitar and tender acoustic piano runs. In between a swinging rhythm and splendid flamenco guitar work, great electric guitar overdubs (howling with echoes from early Triana), propulsive conga percussion and a dynamic rhythm-section.

3. Origen (5:07): This song delivers the most obvious Morish atmosphere (for many years Andalusia was occupied by the Arabs in medieval times): a mid-tempo with an adventurous rhythm-section, exciting flamenco guitar and fiery electric guitar (again some great overdubs), evoking bands like Triana, Mezquita and Iceberg (also Rock Andaluz).

4. Arco Iris (3:30): It starts with warm and sensitive flamenco guitar and soaring strings. Then an accellaration delivering a mid-tempo with powerful electric guitar, sparkling Fender Rhodes piano and again exciting flamenco guitar play.

5. Andaluza (5:32): The titletrack (a transition from Spanish composer Enrique Granados) has a romantic undertone due to the romantic string- arrangements, bringing Alameda to my mind. The jazz inspired flamenco guitar work reminds me strongly of the pivotal and innovative flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia, outstanding!

6. Lamentos (6:06): The final song delivers great interplay, sensational electric guitar overdubs and alternates between mellow with romantic piano and sensitive flamenco guitar and swinging with fiery electric guitar (an Andalusian undertone).


Report this review (#70012)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars If you, like me, always wanted to hear traditional flamenco music played with a modern band, this is the record to have! Andaluza is an all instrumental album that does justice to the true flamenco style. That means: basic spanish guitar runs with bass, drums and piano addings, plus some overddubed electric guitars thrown in for good measure. The arrangements enhance the natural richness of the style, that has some jazzy overtones and often strong middle eastern influences peeping in.

The CD is not perfect, though, since the string arrangements are just too tacky for my taste. Fortunatly they don´t appear too much, just a couple of tracks. A string synthesizer or a mellotron would have done wonders in this kind of music (plus giving it a more progressive edge), but I´m just wondering. Even if the record is quite short (only 30 minutes in total), the high quality of the music stands and it is more interesting than most of the spanish bands I´ve known so far that claims to mix flamenco with rock.

Although I still think Juan Martin´s Picassos Portraits as the most interesting Flamenco/progressive rock fusion, Andaluza is an excellent efford. My final rating is something between 3,5 to 4 stars.

Report this review (#214218)
Posted Thursday, May 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Vega - Andaluza

I don't have that much to say about this great album. It's important to point out what can be expected. This is by no means prog folk (like Jethro). This is guitar oriented fusion with 40% jazz, 40% flamenco and 20% symphonic/melodic prog influences. Yeah, this ain't a standard for the progressive genre, but it might be very very appealing for people interested in the Prog Andaluz genre and those who are intro fusion will find something truly amazing. The album is fully instrumental. One letdown is the fact that this album only spins for 30 minutes, which is very short for today's standards. I myself find this to be acceptable; halve an hour of instrumental fusion is enough for me.

The main person of the band Vega is the master guitar player Thomas Vega. His expertise, style and technique are a virtue throughout the album. He also wrote four of the six pieces on the album. He plays electric, acoustic and flamenco guitars. The others members of the band are also very professional. The drums are jazzy and the bass is nice, except for the first two tracks which give me the feeling the bass is slight bit out of pitch.

Vega's compositions are based on very nice harmonic ideas and professional fusion concepts with some warm string arrangements. The only thing that isn't that good about the tracks is the lack of development during the tracks or the album as a whole. Every song is a track on it's own and has a lot of melodies, but there's never a very good way to end the songs.

Conclusion. Are you interested in the genre's mentioned in this review? This might be one of these gem's you weren't looking for yet. This is not per se a great addition to any prog rock collection, but a lot of PA members will find a great fusion album with great flamenco influences. Especially people interested in Al di Meola should listen to this! The great ethnic additions raise this album to a 3.7 rating to be precise. A 40 minute album with some developmental tracks would have made this a masterpiece of jazz rock. A small four stars for now.

Last words.. It turned out to be I had enough to say about this great album...

Report this review (#270998)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another Spanish band that made a Progressive albun with Flamenco music in same vein of Mezquita. For those that like Spanish music because the guitar work is amazing, this is an album in Progressive local Folk context. We can listen some great guitar moments, with fast scales and the other instruments accompanying effectively all the music parts. This is a important music moment in Spain in seventies decade, when young people like music with a fusion of traditional and modern music. The modern parts is made by bass guitar and drums with very good muisc parts. A very good album and not boring just some progressive Folk bands. I like and i give 4 stars.
Report this review (#917809)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excelent Andalusian prog-folk. 4.1

I personaly like this genre of prog, but dispite that I would grade this album with a strong four. Really excellent guitar work and harmony of the musicians. I would like not to say much because it has its one thing going, this album. Important thing to say about it is that it seems to be a nice concept album which has short boundaries allowing you to enjoy in it.

For those of you who never heard that kind of merge between Paco de Lucia and M. Orchestra it could be utterly significant for your prog rock career. Maybe :)


Report this review (#1201167)
Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars VEGA was amongst the first wave of progressive rock bands to emerge from Spain in the late 70s following the fall of Franco's reign. While a scant few bands snuck in past the censors beforehand, after 1975 the floodgates opened and at long last the nation that was stifled during the early 70s progressive rock boom was allowed to join the party and add their own signature sounds. While many of these bands were overtly derivative of the English and Italian scenes, a few bands cast their gaze more upon their own local flavors. While Triana and Mezquita are perhaps the best known fusion bands that mixed symphonic prog, jazz and Andalusian flamenco rock, another band that was around during the day with a similar approach was VEGA.

While many sources cite the band as coming from Madrid, the group actually formed in Badajoz which is situated on river Guadiana on the Portuguese border. While the city is known for its Moorish historic quarter in the region of Extremadura, the sounds of neighboring Andalusia are dominant on the band's debut album ANDALUZA which finds guitarist Tom's Vega displaying his fiery guitar skills where he not only effortlessly channels his inner Paco DeLucia but alternates erratically with a stellar Mahavishnu Orchestra styled jazz-fusion style of prog that is steeped with local folky flavors although the rock parts are more on prog lite than actual outbursts into amazing complexities. The band released three albums during its existence from 1977-82.

While the band had many lineup changes with Vega remaining the only constant member, on ANDALUZA the lineup was Vega on flamenco and electric guitars, Rafael Guillermo on keyboards, mini-Moogs and piano, Guty L'pez on bass, Larry Martin on drums, Enrique Carmona on more flamenco guitar, Pedro Ample on supplemental percussion and Juli'n Llin's as conductor and string arrangements. While the album has outbursts of the more rockin' jazz-fusion bits the primary sounds are the unique foot-stomping rhythms of the flamenco guitar. The album is fairly short and just barely clocks in at over 30 minutes. The music is also entirely instrumental with no vocals to be heard and is probably the most authentic example of flamenco based prog rock that was released during Spain's first ambitious moves into the world of prog rock.

At times it sounds like there is no rock to be heard but tracks like 'Origen' start out in the rock paradigm before adding the flamenco elements however the rhythmic drive is flamenco all the way through the six track playlist. While all beautifully performed, ANDALUZA is an album that is dominated by the guitar antics which disallows any of the other instruments from really deviating from the plan. While the fusion elements are distinct with a fiery flamenco passion, the overweening presence of the pure flamenco elements prevent the album from really jumping off into any experimental realms and therefore VEGA sounded much more like a traditional Andalusian rock band with a few prog touches rather than a true prog / flamenco hybrid as heard by the much more interesting albums released by Triana and Mezquita.

For anyone interested in Spain's nascent prog scene of the 70s then VEGA is indeed a pleasant listen that will leave you imagining a walk down the streets of Seville as flamenco dancers do their little tap dance but if you are expecting a brilliant mix of flamenco with prog rock then i'm afraid you may be disappointed as the prog elements take a back seat on this one but the band would focus heavier on the jazz-fusion side of the equation on future releases. Overall an interesting Spanish prog rock journey but it doesn't quite measure up to the greatest releases of the era from more inventive bands like Triana, Crack, Mezquita, Veneno or Canarios. Still though a worthy addition to any flamenco infused prog lover's listening experience. One of the problems with this one is it's a bit one dimensional in its approach and the tracks start sounding the same especially when listened side by side with other flamenco fusion acts such as Mezquita's excellent 'Recuerdos De Mi Tierra.'

3.5 but rounded down

Report this review (#2237328)
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2019 | Review Permalink

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