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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Rockandalus CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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erik neuteboom
5 stars Last week I started a topic on the Forum entitled "Spanish Prog!". After a slow start it was visited very well and I got many pleasant reactions, even from Spanish progrock musicans! Most of them hailed the unique and captivating sound. For me it is obvious that the Spanish progrock is the most prolific, distinctive and exciting blend of ethnic music (often the Andalusian flamenco) and progressive rock in the world. It emerged in the second half of the Seventies, speerheaded by the legendary Triana. This review is dedicated to all those progheads who appreciate or want to discover the Spanish progressive rock

This CD compilation is a perfect introduction, it contains 16 tracks from 5 known bands: Alameda, Medina Azahara, Iman, Cai and Guadalquivir. The lion's share is by Alameda (6 songs). In general they sound a bit sentimental featuring romantic violins, tender piano, flamenco guitar and almost tearjerking vocals. One of the best compositions on this CD is also by Alameda, it's titled Amanecer En El Puerto and contains beautiful, omnipresent keyboards and strong, moving vocals. Another good track from Alameda is Al Caer with its sultry, typical Morish atmosphere.

A very known band is Medina Azahara, the successor of the legendary Triana but more harder-edged and less flamenco inspired. On their three contributions La Esquina Del Viento, Paseando Por La Mezquita (great guitar riff that blends hardrock and flamenco) and Andalucia they deliver an enthousiastic approach with catchy rhythms, Mark Kelly-like synthesizer flights, powerful, often emotional vocals and pleasant variation.

From Iman we got also three songs: the beautiful acoustic Ninos (from their debut-CD released by Musea), Tarantos (wonderful floating guitar sound) and Cancion De La Oruga (very warm and pleasant climate).

One of the finest blends of flamenco and progrock is from Cai on the track Noche Abierta: a wide range of keyboards and exciting flamenco guitar work. Their other song Sone Contigo delivers strong, melancholical vocals and senstitive electric guitar.

Finally there is Quadalquivir with their powerful and dynamic jazzrock-oriented progrock sound. The interplay is great, the keyboard runs are impressive and the guitarplay is excellent, here is the Andalusian Carlos Santana!


Report this review (#69349)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Record company Sony : official sponsor of Rock Andaluz'.

Andalusia is the southern region in Spain where the flamenco was born and still florishes. You can divide the musicians and fans in two parts. One considers flamenco as a kind of religion, with strict rules. The other experiences flamenco as a challenging art to broaden their musical horizon. In the second half of the Sixties and in the Seventies that group consisted of many young musicians, but also known experienced guitarists (like Sabicas, Paco De Lucia and Juan Martin), they started to blend flamenco with other styles, from blues and rock to jazz and progressive. This new Spanish music movement was categorized as Rock Andaluz (or Rock Andalus). It became popular in the second half of the Seventies by Triana their pivotal sound on El Patio (1975) and Hijos Del Agobio (1977). Their music has a strong link with the Spanish people their wish for freedom under the brutal dictatorship by Franco,. This is wonderfully expressed in Triana their emotional lyrics, like 'La guitarra a la manana le hablo de libertad ' from the song Rumor.

This CD compilation from Sony Music Spain (released in 1994) is a very comprehensive introduction to the varied and captivating world of the Rock Andaluz, it contains 16 tracks from 5 known bands: Alameda (6), Medina Azahara (3), Iman (3), Cai (2) and Guadalquivir (2).

1. Aire Calido De Abril (4:05) - Alameda: The Morish occupated the southern region of Spain between 711 and 1492, this had a huge impact on everything, also on the development of the music, obviously traced in the Rock Andaluz. In this sultry track the Morish influence is blended in the sound of the keyboards (piano and strings) and the vocals by Josť Roca, what a passion and expression, perhaps one of the best singers in the Rock Andaluz movement!

2. Tarantos (3:55) - Iman: This is a swinging and powerful fusion of jazzrock and flamenco (tarantos is a typical flamenco rhythm), the dynamic music features an outstanding rhythm-section, mellow keyboards and a guitar player who sounds like the Andalusian answer to Carlos Santana.

3. La Esquina Del Viento (3:17) - Medina Azahara: This is one of the bands that epitomizes Rock Andaluz, along with Triana. But their sound is harder-edged with a tight beat, tasteful keyboards (from lush organ to pleasant synthesizer flights), topped by sensitive electric guitar runs and excellent, very powerful vocals, with obvious hints from the flamenco tradition.

4. El Manglis (7:05) - Gualdalquivir: More swinging jazzrock with a strong rhythm-section and splendid solion saxophone and guitar.

5. Noche Andaluza (5:04) - Alameda: A romantic ballad with wonderful work on piano and strings, the music is carried by Jos' Roca his highly acclaimed voice.

6. Noche Abierta (4:02) - Cai: One of the known Rock Andaluz bands, on this track they present wonderful vocals, strong interplay between electric guitar and keyboards and exciting flamenco guitar play (with rasgueado and picados).

7. Al Caer (4:07) - Alameda: Another strongly Morish inspired atmosphere, especially in the vocals and the subtle colouring of the keyboards and the sound of the electric guitar.

8. Paseando Por La Mezquita (2:40) - Medina Azahara: This is the Rock Andaluz anthem, one of the most popular and known compositions in the genre's history. The music alternates between a catchy beat with powerful guitar riffs and quick synthesizer flights and dreamy with sensitive electric guitar runs, topped by the excellent vocals from Manuel Martinez.

9. Cancion De La Oruga (5:32) - Iman: This is one of the most elaborate tracks with many strong musical ideas, like the Morish sounding keyboards (reminding me of Mezquita) and the propulsive percussion, very captivating.

10. Amanecer En El Puerto (3:57) - Alameda: A varied composition, from a spacey intro with fat synthesizers to a swinging rhythm with spectacular Minimoog runs and in the end first twanging Spanish guitar and senstive electric guitar and finally bombastic with synthesizer flights and sparkling piano.

11. Guadalquivir (5:16) - Guadalquivir: Again swinging jazzrock with soli on saxophone and electric guitar, a top notch band for the jazzrock aficionados.

12. Ninos (3:05) - Iman: A beautiful romantic ballad featuring warm vocals and delicate work on the Spanish guitar and synthesizer.

13. Dos Amores (3:50) - Alameda: A Morish climate with sparkling piano, handclapping and a bit wailing, typical flamenco vocals, then a mid-tempo with a cheerful atmosphere and a wonderful blend of vocals, piano and keyboards.

14. Sone Contigo (3:45) - Cai: First an intro with fat synthesizers and a swinging bass, then a compelling blend of jazzrock, classical, symphonic rock and flamenco with sparkling piano and expressive vocals (this song is from their highly acclaimed album Noche Abierta).

15. Andalucia (4:04) - Medina Azahara: The third appearance of Medina Azahara on this CD, again exciting harder- edged Rock Andaluz with propulsive electric guitar riffs, synthesizer flights and the powerful and emotional vocals by Manuel Martinez, an extra dimension!

16. Desnudos (4:11) - Alameda: The final track delivers a dreamy ballad with Spanish guitar and clarinet, layered with a fine strings sound and the distinctive Jos' Roca vocals, simply wonderful.

Keyboards and electric guitars with strong Morish undertones, the art of the flamenco guitar, Spanish vocals with distinctive passion, rock, blues, symphonic rock, jazzrock, welcome to the exciting and unique world of the Rock Andaluz!

Also recommended:

Juan Martin : Picaso Portraits (featuring ex-members of Trace, Marillion, Roxy Music and Jeff Beck).

Paco De Lucia Sextet : Live One Summer Night (outstanding and unique prog folk)

Sabicas - with Joe Beck : Rock Encounter (with a very young Tony Levin on bass).

Report this review (#1947391)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | Review Permalink


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