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Guadalquivir - Guadalquivir CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.70 | 39 ratings

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4 stars Luis Cobo was one of the leading figures of the still nebulous Rock Andaluz of the early seventies. He played guitar with Gong, a Seville-based band that helped to light the blue touch paper of the movement and which also included Manuel Marinelli (Alameda) and Juan Jose Palacios (Triana) in its line-up. Cobo later formed Guadalquivir, a band that epitomised the jazzier side of Rock Andaluz with its melange of Classic Fusion, flamenco, Arabic melodies and Latin rhythms.

Released at the height of the movement in 1978, Guadalquivir's self-titled debut is a collection of seven tone poems that evoke vivid mental images of the landscape, people and culture of Andalusia in southern Spain. It's an entirely instrumental work that features the twin lead guitars of Cobo and Andrés Olaegui, although saxophonist Pedro Ontiveros is in no way subordinate to this pair. One criticism I've read of the album is that it's a bit too smooth at times. Maybe, but when these guys get things right they really kick butt.

The title-track opens with jangling 12-string electric guitar and proceeds with as many twists and turns as the great river from which it takes its name. The music then delves into the region's social history with 'Baila Gitana' (Gypsy Dance) and its Arabic-sounding saxophone ornaments. The Romani people of Spain are known as Gitanos and flamenco has been at the heart of their culture in Andalusia for centuries. Luis Cobo was himself born in the Triana barrio of Seville, a district that traditionally had a large Romani population.

Named for the country estate of the last Moorish dynasty in Spain, 'Generalife' is as peerless a wonder as its namesake's gardens. The naturalistic concept is accompanied by outstanding flute and guitar licks ably supported by a syncopated polyrhythmic figure of palmas (hand claps) and drums. The different peoples of Andalusia have contributed to its rich cultural heritage and melting pot of varied ethnic components but on 'El Manglis' - Luis Cobo's nickname - there's a strong Santana influence with a smouldering guitar lead and busy percussion.

Guadalquivir drew some wonderful sketches of Spain on this album and I just hope it's not another six years before I see it reviewed again on PA.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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