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ALAMEDA

Alameda

Symphonic Prog


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Formed by five sessions musicians (a couple of them, recurrent collaborators for Triana, while keyboardsman Rafael Marinelli assisted Guadalquivir on piano duties), Alameda turned out to be one of the most refined cases of symphonic prog with a strong Flamenco essence. Their own country's musical press hurried at pointing them as a Triana-clone band, but the fact is that the similarities are only partial. Their refinement didn't get them as far as to equal that amazing magic that Mezquita, Cai and Imán provided to the listener through their astonishing albums, that's true; yet, Alameda's music remains a consistent exposure of Flamenco-tinged romanticism and texturial elegance, all of it seasoned with Latin-jazz inspired flavours every now and then. The fact that the two Marinelli brothers were in charge of keyboards (grand and electric pianos, synthesizers and some clavinet) makes the repertoire enhance its melodic aspect, as well as retain an unmistakable sense of exquisiteness. That becomes clear from the opening track: 'Aires de la Alameda' is a flow of pure musical magic focused on the orchestrations, harmonic leads and layers created on the dual keyboards' input. It's a pity that the fade-out comes too soon: its 4:20 duration feels really too short, especially when you come to realize that guitarist-lead singer José Roca has the most beautiful voice of Flamenco-based prog. It's really true that a well performed and genuinely emotional singing makes the mastery of language a trivial issue: you don't need to speak Spanish to feel touched by the song's structural emotion. The same goes for the album's summit track, 'Amanecer en el Puerto'. This is perhaps the band's most emblematic song in their whole career. Starting with a sonic portrait of a deck (including sound effects of water flowing and seagulls softly screaming) in a subtly mysterious way, the mood changes for the main section, a beautiful celebration for a new era (perhaps the advent of democracy in Spain? I don't know). The continuing piano washes perfectly complement the synthesizers' harmonies and leads, while the rhythm section sustains the overall sound with accurate precision. The most intense side of Alameda is shown in those numbers instilled with obvious Latin-jazz references: those are 'Hacia el Alba', 'Matices' (a great closure) and the instrumental 'A La Veradel 'Jueves'' (featuring "Manglis" from Guadalquivir as a guest lead guitarist). It seems as if the romantic side of Roca's musical ideas were as strong as to lead the band through the path of melancholy, so the adequate counterpart had to come from a more essentially joyful musical source - and joy is what Latin-jazz is mainly al about. These aforementioned tracks are the ones in which the musician's technical abilities become more obvious, since the ambience is set to demand a more thorough use of colorfulness in the instrumentation. There is another instrumental in this album: track 2 'La Pila del Patio' is sheer Flamenco-fusion (hand clapping included), something that might have appeared in any Guadalquivir album with a different instrumentation. Track 3 is really moving, and the only song based on a Flamenco guitar duet [leads played by guest Enrique Melchor], with a subdued keyboard role. The lyrics, passionately and hauntingly sung by Roca, portray an overwhelming oath of loving care and devotion. This is the closest that Alameda gets to traditional standardized Flamenco: a breeze of simplicity among a forest of tastefully adorned stylization. In conclusion: Alameda's debut album, while not genius, is well structured, full of attractive melodic ideas and skillful performances. [I dedicate this review to the memory of Manuel Marinelli].

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#71574)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Alameda is a band that has to be placed into the fascinating realm of andalusian rock movement (some would call it "prog-andaluz"). Their debut is from 1979 and they follow the wake of more famous bands such as the pioneer TRIANA or the contemporary MEDINA AZAHARA. Unilkely to the said bands, their debut is closer to pop, romantic and slow for the most part, with massive use of piano (both classical and electric) and synth's flights, with hints of jazz here and there (in "Matices", for example).

There's excellent flamenco guitar here and there, as in "Ojos de Triste Llanto"; "Aires de la Alameda" is particularly noteworthy also for the sweet melody and typical morish climate (even if not too original); palmas (handclapping) are even added in some tracks as in "La Pila del Pato".

The result is very good: elegant music with low rock quotient.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#633424)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Alameda were part of the 70's Andalusian Rock movement in Spain.They came from Sevilla and were led by Marinelli brothers, keyboardists Rafael and Manuel, along with guitarist/singer Jose Roca (Jose and Rafael played formerly with Tartessos), bassist Manuel Rosa and drummer Luis Moreno.With a demo out in 1978 they searched for a contract, eventually signing with CBS and releasing their self-titled debut in 1979 (under the Epic Records name).

Their sound was no more or less than romantic Andalusian Rock with Latin Jazz/Fusion influences, based on pleasant vocal harmonies and the dual keyboard work of Marinelli brothers.The tracks are characterized by Flamenco-flavored pleasant melodies, led by the pianos and the flamenco guitars of Rosa, partially mixed with the strong moog synthesizers and supported by a tight rhythm section.There is a very calm and positive atmosphere throughout the album, lacking the intensity of TRIANA, though their sound is fairly comparable.As the album unfolds the tracks obtain an evident Fusion edge with good interplays, strong synth work and an uptempo rhythm section, filled with some nice solos.The instrumental parts are decent, well- executed and performed, but the compositions lack a real depth to say the least.

''Alameda'' belongs among the good albums of the movement, energetic, fast-paced and rhythmic Andalsusian Fusion/Rock with decent individual performances and fine vocals, despite lacking a monster track.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#653823)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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